10 Tips to Protect the Planet

1) Eliminate your use of plastic shopping bags.

Billions end up in garbage landfills and oceans every year. If you commit to doing one greener thing, make it this. Some cities have even banned plastic shopping bags completely, and in Toronto you can save money at several stores by bringing your own RE-USABLE bags. My favourites are RuMe (www.rumebags.com).

2) Reduce your use of plastic water bottles.

Did you know that the majority of bottled water comes from municipal sources? Stop wasting your money on free tap water! You can either get a water filtration system on your tap, or purchase a Brita container that you refill with free tap water. You will save money, do the planet good, and not ingest any leaked plastic chemicals. For portable, healthy, reusable water containers, get a "SIGG" (www.sigg.com)

3) Change up your lighting.

Use the new "LED" light bulbs as they are said to last up to 10 years! Also, the more popular compact florescent bulbs (CFL’s) use far less energy than the old incandescent ones.

4) Weather strip any windows and doors with drafts. Save on heating and air conditioning bills.

5) Get a programmable thermostat.

You can set your home's temperature to be lower when you are at work and asleep. No comfort is compromised and you will save energy and money.

6) When major household items need replacing purchase "Energy Star" rated appliances and high efficiency model furnaces.

7) Do not put unwanted, old or broken electronics in to the garbage. Most contain lead, phosphorous, mercury and other chemicals that need to be properly disposed of.

Check out Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) Mobile phone companies will take back your old phones. You can donate old computers to reBOOT Canada (www.rebootcanada.ca).

8) Do NOT purchase chemical cleaning or grooming products!

Hundreds of needless chemicals end up in our waterways; lakes and oceans. This is unnecessary. Choose non-toxic, biodegradable products with no ammonia, dyes or phosphates.

9) Eat less meat.

That's right. Factory farming has an enormous carbon foot print. By not eating as much animal meat, you are caring about the environment, animals, and your health by not consuming anti-biotics, hormones, nitrates, etc. Be conscious about what you’re eating, and the impact that has on you, others and our planet.

10) Remember the green rule: "reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle".

Andrea Davidson: Real Estate Sales Representative