Tips for Living Green

The United City of Yorkville provides this information for all residents who are interested in learning how they can take a few easy steps to a greener lifestyle. Everyone can be green! Below are just a few tips that can save you and your family money in addition to helping save our planet (information is courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and Planet Forward).

Greeting Cards
Avoid buying greeting cards that light up and sing. According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, the cards contain mini-batteries and speakers, which means that stainless steel, copper, nickel cadmium and brass are getting tossed in the trash or recycling container. The article recommends to take apart the card, recycle the paper and send the batteries and speakers to a household hazardous waste center.

Get a rain barrel. Colored hoses contain lead and drinking water contains chlorine. To water plants and vegetables, rainwater is a much better option. Rain barrels are available in Kendall County through the Kendall County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Recycle Magazines
A large basket located in Yorkville's Public Library at 902 Game Farm Road lets visitors and patrons take a free magazine and bring in their own magazines to share. This new recycling program gives you the opportunity to share your interests with others and helps everyone become more environmentally conscious. Next time you go to the library, check out the basket to the left as you enter. You never know what you will find in the free magazine basket.

Get a Water Bottle
Americans buy 28 billion single-serving plastic water bottles every year, and 80% of those end up in landfills according to the Container Recycling Institute. Meeting the nation's demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year (as estimated by the Earth Policy Institute).

Use a Cloth Bag
Paper or plastic? Neither! Take a cloth bag with you to the grocery store.

Turn Off the Tap
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.

Unplug Electronics
Cell phone chargers, TVs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves and other electronics with transformers continue to draw power when plugged in, even when they're off or not charging anything. In the U.S., such "phantom electricity" emits about 12 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere a year, according to Conservation International.

Change Your Light Bulbs
If every Chicago resident replaced 1 light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of more than 20,000 cars, according to the city's Department of Environment. If every home in the country did the same, it would be like ditching 800,000 cars and would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year, according to Energy Star, a joint program between the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Nix the Junk Mail
The Postal Service delivers 17.8 tons of bulk mail each year, 44% of which goes unopened, according to the EPA. Just 22% of bulk mail is recycled. To stop the flow, visit the Direct Marketing Association, the leading global trade association of business and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques, to get put on the "do not mail" list. It costs $1, but it'll remove your name from the lists for 5 years. You can also put a “No Junk Mail” notice on your mailbox. Postal carriers respect it and won’t drop off coupons, flyers and free catalogs.

Drive at the Posted Speed Limit
Drive at the speed limit. Slowing from 120 kilometers an hour to 100 cuts your fuel consumption by 20%.

Put Your Computer to Sleep
Screen savers don’t save electricity. Instead, set your computer to go into sleep mode when you aren’t actively using it. That can cut your power consumption by 5 times, cutting your electricity bills by more than 500 kilowatt hours per year

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce
Reuse as much as possible to lessen your environmental impact. Recycling is great, but reusing is better!

Recycling and Energy Savings
  • 1 recycled aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television or computer for 3 hours or a 100-watt light bulb for 20 hours.
  • A 6-pack of recycled aluminum cans saves enough energy to drive a car 5 miles.
  • Recycling 1 glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours.
  • Recycling a 1-gallon plastic milk jug will save enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for 11 hours.
  • Recycling 1 pound of steel conserves enough energy to light a 60-watt bulb for 26 hours.
  • Recycling a 1-foot high stack of newspapers saves enough electricity to heat a home for 17 hours.