Going Green in Chicago: Eco-friendly Living Tips

BY SANDRA GUY

Garbage bins overflowing with useless “stuff” signal that more of us are ready to toss the clutter from our coronavirus-pandemic safe houses.

The goal can easily extend to creating an environmentally friendly space.

Indeed, going green in Chicago, where recycling education, enforcement and participation lag other major metropolitan cities, can start with simple steps — and lead to enduring climate improvement.

It will make you feel great, too.

The easiest way to start involves simple steps such as:
• Seal any poorly insulated windows, doors, attics and crawl spaces. They should be easier to find when you’re at home for longer periods.

• Re-use cloth instead of hoarding paper towels. Now that many stores bar shoppers from buying more than two packages of paper towels, use the opportunity to cut up old cloth towels, recycle musty T-shirts and fish out long-forgotten washcloths. Wash them first, then use them to do the ever-vigilant daily dusting and cleaning routine. You might be surprised at how much better they work than paper towels, especially on marble and stainless steel.

• Keep up your home cooking. It eliminates the energy and waste that go into food processing, plastic wrapping and transportation required of prepared meals. Remember to turn off the oven 5 minutes before the meal is ready and turn off a pot that’s been boiling on the stove for 5 minutes while letting the food continue to heat, and you’ll save energy.

• Grow your own food. You may be excited by how creative you can be growing okra, tomatoes and other vegetables on a tiny plot of land. It will take work, but it’s a great way to get sunshine, much-needed Vitamin D, and healthy meals.

• Feed your garden from a compost pile — and save food waste at the same time. Your food scraps will decompose faster.

Use your new-found patience to test more inconvenient energy savers, such as low-flow shower heads, drying clothes on a clothes line and running the dishwasher and washing machine after midnight.

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