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Posted on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 10:45 a.m.

Top 6 ways to help reduce your impact on the environment before Earth Day

By Tina Reed


We've all heard the tips about using less water or driving fewer miles to reduce our impact on the environment. Here's a list of a few more tips - or perhaps reminders - of the individual ways to reduce your impact on the environment.

1. Cut back on packaging: Don't just take a reusable bag to the store, look for products that use less packaging. Reuse products as much as possible.

2. Use chemicals safely: Before you use pesticides, read the label carefully to use them properly or find alternatives.

3. eCycle: Take your old computer, DVD player, or other electronics to a recycling center. That helps keep hazardous substances out of the landfill. Recycle Ann Arbor accepts computers at its drop-off station.

4. Save hidden energy wasters at home: Get a home energy audit, which can highlight where those energy wasters are in your home. Other quick fixes include using programmable thermostats, purchasing Energy Star products and turning stuff off when you are done to conserve energy.

5. Reduce energy waste on the road: Cut back on how often you drive by using public transportation or ride sharing programs or by biking or walking. Reduce the amount of energy you consume and reduce carbon emissions by avoiding fast stops and accelerations, reducing the weight of items in your trunk, using cruise control, getting a tune up and making sure the tires are properly inflated.

6. Cut back on waste at work: Look for options to recycle everything from office paper, newspapers, beverage containers, electronic equipment and batteries. Reduce at the office by using two-sided printing paper or avoid printing at all.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency.



Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 7:31 p.m.

re: 7. Stop using outdoor fireplaces and fire pits! I for one welcome our new socialist overlords who ban anything that they do not like. Welcome to Amerika.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

When it really comes down to it, most of these things (except perhaps #2 in some cases and #3) have such little impact that they serve as little more than rituals to make people feel better about themselves. Atheists don't seem to realize how genetically ingrained religion actually is in humans, and what sort of things they are doing to serve their religious needs. Not that these things are bad, but they just aren't that effective in general. Even if effective in some sense on a large scale, they wouldn't get to that point due to the "tragedy of the commons" phenomenon. No doubt I'll just be labeled as an evil "right winger", but in reality I'm simply being rational. The numbers, cause-and-effect, and cost-benefit just don't add up. If these things make people feel better than go for it, but my concern is this phenomenon: I'd much rather see people be more respectful of the individual humans around them than see them worshiping the earth simply for it's own sake, especially when the worshiping has no useful impact on the earth or humans.

Rick Meader

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

Using drive-thrus less is another way to save gas, cut pollution, and meet more people.


Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

It would be great if the drop off center would accept CLEAN recyclable plastic bags that were used to store food - I understand that they don't want bags that have food in them, but the bread we buy has a plastic liner inside, so that the (supposedly recyclable) outer bag never gets any crumbs or anything. It pains me to throw it all away because the drop off center won't take it.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 6:57 p.m.

"Oh yeah, please let me know how the vegetables from your "organic gardens" taste with that hint of "smokey flavor" And all this time I've been putting the vegetables in the smoker with the ribs. Thanks


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

Adam, guess what, our experience has been that the vast MAJORITY of these people haven't got a CLUE about how to properly build a fire!

Adam Jaskiewicz

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

amazonwarrior, there's two different situations here, and there's a big difference between them. On one hand, you have people burning a pile of garbage and leaves to get rid of it. This creates lots of thick, greasy smoke. These people are being inconsiderate by smoking out their neighbors, and they probably aren't even hanging around the fire---the smoke is too thick and unpleasant for them. They shouldn't be doing this. The stuff they're burning should be sorted for trash/recycling/composting. On the other hand, you have people burning a few chunks of well-seasoned hardwood, so they can hang out around a nice cheery fire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and have a couple beers. This doesn't create much more smoke than a charcoal grill, assuming they know how to build a fire. These people are enjoying the use of their private property with minimal impact to others.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 4:51 p.m.

People never cease to amaze me. You want/demand clean air and water, yet you continue to pollute and refuse to be inconvenienced. Check out the EPA's website and do a little research as to what you are releasing into the air with the burning. You may change your mind. I'll wager that you are undoubtedly the same people who complained about cigarette smoke. I don't know what kind of neighborhoods you folks live in, but in mine the houses are so close together you can hear your neighbor flush the toilet! I don't appreciate my neighbors filling up my house with smoke when I have my windows open and YES we have talked to them and been met with the same attitude that has been presented in the comments..."I'm gonna' do what I wanna' do". I agree with the perfume complaint...nothing like sitting in a restaurant trying to eat a good meal and then have to suffer being "gased". Some people take showers, others bathe in perfume. Oh yeah, please let me know how the vegetables from your "organic gardens" taste with that hint of "smokey flavor" and the extra "crunch" from the carcinogenic, particulate matter that landed on them.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:32 p.m.

i'll let it slide this time...LOL @tdw


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

@Dading Hey don't get upset I was just woudering.I'd do it just to save a buck. sorry about the name glitch

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

besides, i don't care for how cheap they are made (and where they are made)

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2 p.m.

@tdw, the answer is "yes" (to both by the way). i considered it being resourceful, i am an engineer after all. so i helped the envirnment at the same time. throw the book at me (btw, it's "dading", not "daddlig")


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 1:55 p.m.

Stop breathing! its causes carbon Dioxide which is a green house gas per the EPA.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

@daddlig were you trying to be eco-friendly by recycling the rim or just trying to save a buck? ( BTW its the Moose not the Elks )


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

"7. Stop using outdoor fireplaces and fire pits!" Why exactly? Becasue some people choose to burn chemically treated items in them? Come on that's like banning cars becasue some people drive drunk in them. Nothing wrong with burning wood in your backyard.

Top Cat

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 12:56 p.m.

How about get out and walk more.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 12:36 p.m.

Nothing wrong with burning a chunk of untreated 2x4. Stuff like sheets of OSB, pressure-treated lumber, scraps of tar paper, the plastic wrappers from shingles, etc. though, people shouldn't be burning that stuff. As long as you're not making a huge bonfire, and have it contained, there's nothing wrong with burning a couple logs in a fire pit. If the smoke from someone's fire is unreasonably thick, go talk to them about it. No need to pass laws about it.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 12:35 p.m.

#8: Use birth control.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 12:13 p.m.

funny, don't care and don't follow is almost as high % as being green. @amazonwarrior, there are ordinances for large bon fires. common sense is not to burn trash. building materials? for instance? i burn pieces of 2x4's, 4x4's, and 1x6's in my fire pit on the corner of my lot. these are scraps from skids we build at work. it reminds my kids of camping, my neighbor's come over and make smore's...they have a great time. btw, my fire pit is a bent semi-trailer rim. i 'rescued' it from a landfill and didn't have to buy one of those trendy things.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

I have backyard fires all the time, as do serveral people around me. And I don't intend to stop. The burning of building materails is not legal tho, and you might be able to prevent that with a single phone call to what even agengcy controls that. amazonwarrior sorry you feel that way about fire, I feel the same about perfume, some things we just have to live with.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 10:22 a.m.

7. Stop using outdoor fireplaces and fire pits! Just because they are sold in the stores doesn't mean you need to own one. Last summer, several neighbors decided to use them for burning trash and unwanted scraps of building materials. One person created so much smoke that someone called the fire department! There needs to be a city ordinance passed prohibiting using them. There is a general "no burn" ordinance, but nothing specifically stating residence can't use outdoor fire places or fire pits, and they use that as their excuse as a "right" to burn. Come on people! You are polluting your own neighborhood and running the risk of setting a house or garage on fire, maybe even your own.