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Everyday ideas to raise your green level

You recycle cans and newspapers, but you want to do more. Here are some ideas to take being green to the next level. McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

No 'poo. You've switched to green household cleaners. Now it's time to go green with your shampoo, or as numerous bloggers call it: "no 'poo." Try this recipe: Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of hot water. The easiest way is to mix it in the shower. Rub the mix onto your scalp and let it sit a minute. Rinse off. If you have long hair, you may need to double or triple the recipe, but don't change the ratio of baking soda to water. And, if the ends of your hair don't feel as clean as the scalp, or they are too dry, mix 1 tablespoon of cheap apple-cider vinegar with 1 cup of water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray it at least onto the ends. Comb it through and let that sit a minute or two, then rinse. Yes, you will smell like vinegar for about, oh, 30 seconds. The smell is gone by the time you rinse it out.

Put your kids in charge of recycling at home. If you make it a project and let them be in charge, we'll bet that you'll significantly reduce the amount of trash that goes to the landfill.

Make a commitment to do something green, or stop doing something that's not green and carry it out faithfully for a week. When you've mastered that, add something else the next week. But don't stop what you did in Week One.

Take a clean coffee cup/travel mug with you the next time you go to a coffee shop. If they won't use it, walk out. That's the extreme part, giving up the java if they insist on giving you a cup that's going to end up in a landfill. Better yet, buy fair trade coffee at the grocery store, fill the mug before you leave the house and you'll save a bundle while helping the environment and the people who grow the coffee beans.

Go solar. If you are planning to live in your current house for decades and you are loaded with disposable income, get solar panels installed and hook up to the electricity grid.

Hypermiling. It's not for everyone, but maybe for you. Hypermilers strive to increase fuel economy by using various driving techniques, including coasting, reducing speed to 60 and lightening the car load.

Tackle your kid's school and make them go green with the food they serve and how much they recycle and reuse. Get the PTA and the kids involved.

Tackle your workplace, too. The school will probably be easier than where you work, but give it a shot. Everyone is working harder and longer with fewer people these days, but that can't be an excuse.

Build a green home or modify the one you have. The U.S. Green Building Council has great ideas for both, including LEED certification standards. But some folks — mostly out west — are taking it a step further. They are building "Earthships," which builders say have the least carbon footprint, in part because a true Earthship includes on-site food production and sewage treatment.

Everyday ideas to raise your green level 02/27/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2010 6:10pm]

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