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1. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: mining for virgin materials not only causes changes in topography, aesthetic degradation, release of toxic elements such as cadmium, cobalt, copper, lead, and molybdenum into the environment, pollution of groundwater, and acid mine drainage. It also takes more energy to process virgin materials than to recycle used ones and uses more water.
2. Carry a canvas bag and use a reusable water bottle: so that plastic and paper bags and plastic bottles donít have to get used only once and thrown away.
3. Walk, bike, use public transportation, or carpool, and drive more efficiently: accelerate smoothly and slowly, minimize unnecessary braking and accelerating, close all windows and sunroofs to minimize resistance, use cruise control on the highway if you have it, avoid idling, remove anything that is unnecessary to reduce the weight of the car, and keep tires inflated. All this increases your carís milage and therefore decreases the amount of gas you use.
4. Start a compost in your backyard and support organic farming: direct use of composted food scraps replaces nutrients back into your soil without you needing to buy artificial fertilizers that are obtained by mining (which requires massive machines that use tremendous amounts of machinery) and then cause algae blooms by having nutrients in the fertilizer be transported from runoff into a natural body of water.
5. Shop locally and go to farmers markets: the average food item travels 1500 miles to get to the consumer26, so eating local foods from local farmers not only supports your community - it also uses less energy to transport foods.
6. Eat more vegetables and grains and less meat: no energy transfer is 100% efficient, so only a fraction of food taken in is converted to usable energy. For example, crop plants convert only about 10% of sunlight into edible food, and cows convert only about 10% of those edible plants into meat. It is therefor much more efficient to eat plants than meat.
7. Wash clothing in cold water and hang them to dry: this uses less energy to heat water and to run the drier.
8. Turn off lights when you leave the room: this way less energy is wasted in places where energy is not needed.
9. Minimize your internet searches or use a search engine that uses less energy: two Google searches uses as much energy as boiling a cup of tea. Try using blackle.com instead because since it has a black background it uses less energy.
10. Stop getting junk mail and donít print ATM receipts: not receiving junk mail saves paper and energy to make or even recycle, and if everyone in the US stopped getting their ATM receipts we would save a receipt roll at least 2 billion feet long. To stop receiving junk mail visit greendimes.com.