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(MCT)—We always hear a lot about Earth Day approaching, but what about now that it’s past? Did you commit to any new ways to lower your impact on the planet? While taking a day or even a month to celebrate our planet is a noble cause, it’s something we really should be doing every day of the year. Taking a few green steps doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. In fact, when you Do Your Part for the planet, you’ll also find that you’re lowering the pressure on your pocketbook. Here are my Top 5 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day.

1) Be Energy Efficient
Spring for an energy audit of your home. I was shocked at what I discovered when one was done at my home. Energy audits identify if your cooling and heating systems are working properly, if you have proper insulation, and what you can do to conserve energy and money immediately.

2) Waste Less Water
There are simple ways to start conserving water at home without suffering. Turning off the water while you brush your teeth is the simplest place to start. Then, make bigger steps such as installing low flow fixtures or water displacement devices for your toilet. Outside, a rain barrel will make it inexpensive and easy to water your garden. If you rely on a sprinkler system, use it only when necessary. A long dose of water once a week is much better than several days of short watering.

3) Cut Back on Chemical Exposure
There are so many sources of potentially dangerous chemicals that we bring into our homes — many times without even realizing. It could be from everyday household cleaners to dry cleaned clothes. Chemicals sneak into our homes every day and can contribute to all sorts of health problems. Visit DoYourPart.com/Columns to learn about these toxins and easy ways to reduce your exposure.

4) Be an Educated Buyer
When you choose to buy more earth-friendly items, you are sending a powerful message to manufacturers and retailers. There are important questions you should ask yourself before buying anything. Where does this product come from? What does it take to manufacture this product? Is it really safe? And, can it be recycled?

5) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is at the heart of what it takes to be a bit greener each day. There’s no question why “Reduce” is first. When we reduce everything from the amount of energy we use at home to all the “stuff” we think we can’t live without, it helps conserves our planet’s resources. Then there’s reusing. Reusing doesn’t just mean getting more use out of a glass jar that once held foods. It means installing that rain barrel to help water your yard, buying gently worn children’s clothes instead of brand new, and even composting scraps of food. Finally, there’s recycling. I find that once I created easy-to-use recycling systems at home — everyone got on board.

There’s a lot we can—and should be—doing for our environment. When you Do Your Part and I do mine, together we’ll protect our planet for generations to come. So celebrate the Earth by doing your part every day.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at DoYourPart.com.

© 2012 Terri Bennett, Do Your Part.
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