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If you’ve slacked off on your green-friendly habits during the winter, now’s the time to get back on track. Remember to be good to the earth when tallying your transitional task list into the new season. There are sunny days ahead of us! Spring is the time for renewal, cleaning and greening.

It bothers me when I’m the only one on my block or in my family being conscious about the environment. I’m always motivated to be green because I’m reminded that my neighbors, family members and even my daughter are watching what I’m doing! I try to model environmentally conscious behaviors, especially when preparing for a new season. Here are six simple ways to show your green side in the spring.

Tip #1: Donate Stuff

Before you start pitching old or outdated stuff into the trash, consider visiting your local thrift store instead. Take inventory of your closets, garage, attic or other storage spaces that you’ve been neglecting.

Items that you view as disposable may have some mileage left for someone else. Try to keep as many items as possible out of overcrowded landfills. You can do this by asking family and friends if they have use for your unwanted items, having a garage sale or taking your donations to a thrift store. Don’t forget to collect a receipt when you drop off donations, so you can claim a tax deduction for your clothing and household items.

Tip #2: Find a Mowing Alternative

Consider replacing your gas-powered lawn mower with a greener alternative. Gas-powered mowers emit the same amount of air pollution as a car on a 100-mile trip! Find a low-energy, high-quality alternative to using conventional gas mowers.

Rotary mowers or hand-powered mowers (like the ones your grandparents may have used) are particularly appealing since they’re easy to use, have low maintenance costs and have minimal impact on the environment. Electric mowers emit fewer pollutants than gasoline-powered machines and are often easier to push than gas-guzzlers. Also, battery-powered mowers operate with packs that can be electrically recharged.

Tip #3: Use Shade at Home

Homeowners may not realize how much impact blinds and curtains make on your air conditioning and heating costs. Most window treatments, such as shades, blinds, shutters and curtains, are good insulators and help prevent your furniture from fading. When it is hot outside, the coverings on your windows protect your furnishings and interior from the heat. Likewise, when it’s cold outside, the heat inside your rooms won’t escape as easily, letting you enjoy more warmth in the wintertime.

Using lighter colored blinds and drapes help reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it and adding heat to your home. According to Earth911.com, using window coverings can save about $210 every year on heating and cooling costs.

Tip #4: Visit a Car Wash

According to the Kaady Car Washes chain, some automatic car washes use less than half of the water used when washing a car at home. The chain reports that the average home wash uses between 80 to 140 gallons of water while most commercial car washes use between 30 and 45 gallons.

Commercial car washes are a greener choice because they often reuse water and send the runoff to treatment centers instead of nearby streams like home washers. They often are the greener choice because they use high-pressure nozzles that require less water usage, too.

If you choose to wash your ride at home, remember to avoid soaps that contain harmful or poisonous toxins to the environment. Don’t forget to turn off the hose when you’re not using water. During a 15-minute home car wash, you can easily use 150 gallons of water if your hose doesn’t have an automatic shut-off nozzle.

Tip #5: Bike More

Since the weather is probably warming up in your neighborhood, try to ditch your car to bike more when possible. Biking at a moderate speed can help you burn about 500 calories each day with just a 45-minute ride. In addition to the fresh air and exercise, you’re helping to improve air quality by forgoing gas usage.

Biking is a great way to get you outdoors and learn your community. The best thing is you can travel hundreds of miles without creating air pollution and can have a new adventure at the same time!

Tip #6: Clean Your Air

Although most people focus on sanitizing surfaces and floors at home when spring cleaning, you can also improve air quality and reduce the amount of toxins. There are many simple ways to do this, including changing your furnace filter often and by dusting with a microfiber cloth to prevent dust particles from going airborne.

Start cleaning with natural products like white vinegar or non-toxic products. On your carpets and rugs, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Using a HEPA filter helps suck up allergens, toxic chemicals and dust found in carpet.

Also remember to ask houseguests leave their shoes at the door. A lot of heavy metals, pesticides and germs are tracked in with shoes.

Use the springtime to do a seasonal reboot with your home! These six tips will help you to live healthier and be a good steward to the earth. If you’d like to share your green tips for the spring, please leave them below.

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