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25 Ways to Create a Green and Healthy Home

Experts say simple changes can turn your home into a green home.

Creating a green and healthy home: Shun toxic products continued...

Create a green and healthy home: Conserve water

  • Wait for a full load: Don't turn on the washing machine or dishwasher until it's full. Each washing cycle uses more than 25 gallons of water; make sure that every drop counts.
  • Save baths for special occasions: A shower uses about half as much water as the average bath - as long as you keep it to less than 5 minutes. An egg timer suction-cupped on the shower wall is a good way of keep track.
  • Fill the sink to do dishes: You'll use a fraction of the water that's used by leaving the faucet running. Ditto on the rinsing front. If you don't have a double sink, use a tub for rinsing.
  • Think before flushing: Don't waste water flushing tampons, condoms, or flushable wipes down the toilet, where they can block the sewage system. Dispose of these items in the trash, and save flushing for when you really need to (hint: not after every pee). Up to a third of the drinking water that comes into the typical Western home goes straight down the toilet, says Yarrow, which is a terrible waste of this precious resource.

Create a green and healthy home: Household hazardous waste

Inside nearly every household's garage, basement or kitchen sink cupboard lurks harmful substances like old paint cans, used motor oil, garden pesticides and weed killers, used batteries, old computers or electronics, harsh cleaning chemicals, or pest killers. If you dump this noxious stuff down the drain, you'll pollute the water supply. And if you dispose of it in landfills, they'll leak dangerous chemicals. Instead, do some research to find the best way to dispose of your household toxic waste. Some cities or counties have monthly or annual pickups. Others have special drop-off sites. Call your local government to learn more.

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Reviewed on April 30, 2009

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