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Five Ways to Help the Environment From Home

From the simple step of curbside recycling to the more time consuming composting, you can fit "green" in your life somewhere.

In honor of , Santee Patch is bringing you a series of stories on how to be more "green" at home and in your community. 

There are a lot of ways, from little to large, to be more environmentally friendly from home, here's a grab bag of five:

Recycle

Santee's Waste Management company has made it easy to do curbside recycling, including paper products, cardboard, egg cartons, plastic beverage containers labeled #1-#7, other plastic containers labeled #1 and #2, aluminum and tin cans, liquor bottles, empty aerosol cans, pie tins, glass jars and bottles. See the full list here. Just drop the recyclables in the blue bin and put it on the curb on trash day. Yard waste can be put in the green bin to be composted at the dump. You can also recycle used motor oil, but you have to go to a specific spot (see details here).

Replace light bulbs

Buy some compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) to replace your incandescents when they burn out, or if you're feeling really "green," save some energy and replace them all now. They last a lot longer and save quite a bit on the energy bill overtime.

Install a low-flow showerhead

Low-flow showerheads cut down on the amount of water coming out when you shower, but you really can't tell the difference, except for a lighter water bill! They pay for themselves quickly.

Ditch your dryer

We pay a lot of hidden taxes for the wonderful sun that we get all year long, why not put some of that instant solar power to work and reap the reward of sun-fresh clothes. The dryer takes a lot of energy to run, so start out trying half-time loads, hanging the clothes out to dry when they're damp, then eventually go all the way and ditch that dryer.

Compost

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, 18 percent of the waste in an average U.S. household comes from the yard and garden, a huge amount of mostly bio-waste that can be returned to the garden.

The composting process essentially involves setting aside certain types of organic waste apart from normal trash and collecting it in a composting bin somewhere outside, where it decomposes and becomes a nutrient-rich soil additive or fertilizer.

Not only does this reduce waste in the dumps, it reduces the energy spent to take it there, can save you money on soil and fertilizer, reduces the use of chemical fertilizers, and plants love it!

A lot of kitchen waste (except meats, oils and bones) and most yard waste (except seeds, roots and large branches) can be used. To see a full list of what can be composted, go here, or read the Homeowner's Guide to Composting for even more details.

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