10 tips for greener living

“Don’t be intimidated into feeling you can’t do anything,” said Gina Overshiner, whose family of four tries to live green. “Little things can make a difference over time.” Consider her suggestions to
Saturday, April 21, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:34 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

1. Get there under your own power. Consider riding a bike or walking when you are going on short trips (1 to 3 miles) to places such as the library, video store, lunch, the park or a friend’s house. A fun way to get started is to sign up for Bike, Walk and Wheel Week, which challenges Columbians to make trips by walking and biking. It takes place May 12-19. For more information and to sign up, go to

Fuel facts

- The average American car releases 300 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from using a 15-gallon tank of gasoline. - An average of 27 tons of waste is produced during the manufacture of one car. - More oil enters the seas from automobile exhausts and from oil changes at city garages that are dumped down drains than from any other source. - China has eight vehicles per thousand residents, Brazil has 122, Western Europe has 584, and the U.S. has 950. Sources:

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2. Cook and pack snacks and lunches at home. Fast food comes in throw-away containers with paper napkins, creating lots of trash. Eating at home and packing food in reusable containers is easy and reduces the amount of trash you produce, as well as the amount of time, gas and money you spend driving to a fast food place and sitting in a drive-through lane. Plus, the food is usually better and healthier.

3. Use cloth napkins and dish towels instead of paper towels and napkins. This is easy and cuts down on trash and cost.

4. Recycle. Columbia has a convenient curbside recycling program. Use it.

5. Compost plant-based food scraps. A compost bin can be easily and inexpensively built from shipping pallets. For more information, check out

6. Bundle up and turn down the thermostat.

7. Bring your own mug. When getting your coffee to go, use your own mug instead of a paper cup.

8. Make sure your home is well-insulated. Replace inefficient drafty windows with Energy Star-rated windows. If you can’t afford new windows, reduce drafts by keeping storm windows closed when using the heater or air conditioner. Seal cracks around windows with caulk, expansion foam or weather stripping. Use heavy curtains that close completely. Seal cracks around doors with weather stripping.

9. Fix or change leaky faucets.

10. If your yard is small, use a manual push mower. It saves gas and also provides a nice little workout.

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