The Earth Day Brigade Blog Friends
Do you find yourself trying to do the right thing by planet Earth? Trying to recycle the paper, plastic and soda cans is a great start, but there’s always more to do. This month, the Blog With Friends group is back, looking at fun and creative ways to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, including some fun and easy ways to recycle and upcycle in ways you may not have thought of yet. Of course, there’s still ways to keep technology in the mix, as I’ll be sharing in my entry, 10 best uses for technology on Earth Day. I’ll give you five ideas to use technology to save electricity as well as save money, along with five ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle all those gadgets you have lying around.
For Earth Day Brigade April, six bloggers are presenting you with some of their unique ideas to remember how to do your part to help out the planet for now and in the future. There’s a Earth-shaped dessert pizza, jewelry making tutorial, no-sew shopping bag pattern, making one meal last all week, and upcycling existing products for more storage! See the links at the bottom of the post for these fabulous ideas from these beautiful Earth Day Brigade friends!
** Back again this month – join our linkup! Add your Earth Day-related posts and join the fun!
See the end of this post! **
And now…10 best uses for technology on Earth Day!
Save the Earth and Save Money
There are so many ways to tweak your habits to make a difference for planet Earth, but let’s face it: not all of us have the time or resources to make it happen. Below are some relatively easy and painless ways that you can make small changes to do just a little to look out for our “home base.”
1. Stop overcharging your laptop battery (and your cellphone for that matter). Many folks have ditched the traditional desktop in favor of laptops these days, and for good reason. Heck, it’ll keep running during a power outage if you really need it. Problem is, if the battery is in there 24/7, it still draws power, even if it’s already reached maximum charge. So in addition to wasting energy and money, the battery slowly loses its ability to hold a charge. Solution? Take the battery out. Since most laptops come with an AC power cord, you can bypass the battery. Same goes for your cellphone: don’t leave it on the charger all night long.
2. Pay bills online. Now, I’m an advocate for the post office, believe me, but I recognize that traditional mail costs all of us in paper, printing, delivery, postage and time. It’s not just you, it’s the biller who’s sending it to you. Some of us are still a little timid to trust the whole paying online business, but the truth is, most financial institutions have beefed up their security considerably. And it’s great for last-minute procrastinators like myself!
3. Switch to rechargeable batteries. If you have kids, you have batteries. In fact, if you’re like us, you have them in all shapes and sizes, stored up in a drawer in the kitchen. Those video game controllers, toys, digital cameras, flashlights and more will burn through your battery supply. Which also means you’re spending hand over fist for them. You could save some money with rechargeable batteries. We like the Energizer four-slot charger for AAs. It will require a little electricity, but it’s a lot cheaper than packs of batteries. And the disposable ones leak all kinds of icky chemicals into the landfill, and eventually, the water supply.
4. Avoid vampire power. We’re not talking about the sparkly kind here. It’s all those devices in standby mode, that are still plugged in. Examples? big screen TVs, computers, monitors, gaming systems, furnace, refrigerator, stove, microwave, cable box, DVD player, smartphones, phone chargers and tablets. But who wants to power up and down in the morning and evening? Luckily, there are smart power strips that automatically shut off several devices, like Blu-ray players or game consoles, when you turn off the master device, such as a TV. There are switches for wall sockets, so instead of turning off the coffeemaker and microwave, you turn off the power switch on the socket. Some of the socket adapters also have timers, which are great for the rechargeables like smartphones, camera batteries, electric toothbrushes and cordless power tools. Best to cluster the TV, DVD player, cable/satellite box and surround-sound on one “smart” power strip like ones from Bits Limited. And, as always, shut down your computer at night and have your sleep settings on during the day.
5. Move toward a “smart” home. This one will take a little more time and effort on your part, especially since the technology is still in its infancy. But you can find plenty of ways to run your home from apps on your phone, so even if you’re not there, you can lock doors, turn off lights, shut off faucets, alter the temperature. An easy switch is to a programmable thermostat, so you can program temperature changes throughout the day and night. There’s also the Energy-Star appliances and even low-flow toilets that will help reduce your carbon footprint.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You’ve made the changes, but let’s face it: you’re still going to be updating your gadgets and/or adding to your collection. Which means eventually, things are going to be going to be put out to pasture. It’s never a good idea to throw any kind of electronic device into the trash due to chemicals leaking into the ground. Plus, a lot of the parts will never decompose, and we definitely don’t want that. Here’s some ideas on what you can do with that old tech.
1. Recycle. It’s not as much trouble as you might think. According to the EPA, recycling 1 million laptops saves the equivalent of electricity used by 3,500 homes in a year. For every 1 million cell phones recycled, there’s 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium recovered. That ain’t hay.
If it’s too old or broken to sell or donate, then recycle it. You can check out the Environmental Protection Agency searchable database for donation and recycling by device and company. There’s the “e-Steward” network of recyclers who won’t just dump it on developing nations. There’s also the takeback program from most manufacturers, but it might take a little work on your part. Check the list here for details. And, of course, there are retailers that will help you with technology recycling, including Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot/Office Max. There is also Call2Recycle, which focuses on battery recycling, but will also take cell phones. Use their location finder to enter your zip code to find the closest.
2. Donate. If your items are still in decent shape, you can donate them to Goodwill – who has a refurbishing program with Dell – schools, libraries, daycare centers, churches or other local nonprofit organizations that might have small budgets. There’s also national organizations that can redirect your reusable items, including the National Cristina Foundation or World Computer Exchange.
3. Trade in for cash. You describe your gadget, they make you an offer. Although some will let you suggest a price. You can check out Gazelle, Guzu, NextWorth, uSell. Offer prices will range, so you’ll want to shop it around to get the best payout.
4. Sell it yourself. Why not? Check the going rate on certain items, then try to sell it on eBay or Craigslist or at your own garage sale. There’s also tons of FB groups for local Buy-Sell-Swap, and you might be surprised who will want your old devices.
5. Go DIY crazy. Between Pinterest and HGTV, the DIY craze means that someone, somewhere has figured out how to use old computer monitors as planting pots, desk fans, tissue boxes, toaster from a VHS player, or a cat bed from a computer monitor. Truly, the only limit is your imagination.
Before you get rid of anything, be sure to erase all your data. You likely know that simply deleting files doesn’t cut it; you’ve got to completely wipe the hard drive so it cannot be retrieved. Although your recycler of choice can do it for a fee, there’s also software that can do it, or you can use free downloads like Active@KillDisk and Softpedia DP Wiper.
Hope you like what you’ve seen. Ready for more Earth Day celebration ideas? Keep on reading!
Spring Fever Blog With Friends
Need some Pinterest-worthy projects to kickstart your spring?
Check out the other bloggers in this month’s A Blog With Friends Project!
- Celebration Dessert Pizza by Karen at Baking in a Tornado
- Celebrating Nature: Beaded Bracelet Tutorial from Robin at Someone Else’s Genius
- DIY No-Sew Shopping Bags by Lydia at Cluttered Genius
- Recycled Decorated Containers/Upcycled Storage Solutions by Eileen at Eileen’s Perpetually Busy
- Chicken Dinner for a Week by Jenn at Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
** AND NOW for the LINKUP **
The only rule is to make sure that your post is Earth Day-related, whether food, recipes, crafts, DIY, traditions, family stories, technology, photos and more. Family-friendly, please!