weather icon Light Rain

Seven steps to a greener life

For most people, being “green” seems overwhelming and time consuming. But even the tiniest change counts and the process doesn’t have to be a hassle. Starting out with a manageable action plan is the key to success. Follow these seven steps and even the least eco-conscious family will be inspired to become regular recyclers in no time.

1. Look around your house for green opportunities
Walk into your house with your “green police” glasses on. Do you see an easy place to store your recyclables? Are your light bulbs energy efficient? Start to notice if any family members are using too much water, or leaving unneeded lights on. Get your kids on board and see if they can help spot ways to change as a family; they are very perceptive and can often see things in a way no adult ever could.

2. Get your garden growing and save
Yes, planting a garden might seem like a huge undertaking, but the rewards far outweigh the work. Talk to any gardener and you’ll realize that the process of planting and tending a garden is quite relaxing and truly rewarding. Plus you’ll save money. One packet of seeds costs around 50 cents and yields enough fresh produce for you and your family to eat all summer, with more to share. And if you’re gardening, that means less trips to the grocery store, which means less driving and less gas usage. Best of all, you are in complete control of what you eat, and can make your produce as organic as you wish.

3. Be aware of product packaging
Not all packaging is created equally. Keep an eye out next time you’re in the grocery store for renewable packaging. For instance, Snyder’s of Hanover Organic Pretzel Sticks are packaged using 90 percent plant-based materials. The renewable raw material used to make the new packaging is produced with as little as half the energy compared to traditional petroleum-based packaging. Best of all, the Organic Pretzel Sticks come in three delicious flavors: Organic 8 Grains & Seeds, Whole Wheat & Oat Bran and Honey Whole Wheat. So you’re buying a product that tastes good but is good for the environment too – the best of both worlds.

4. Forget plastic water bottles
According to Nubius Organics, more than 26 billion bottles are thrown away each year (less then 15 percent are recycled). The plastic from these bottles doesn’t biodegrade so it’s now a permanent part of our landfills. Instead of adding to the problem, become part of the solution. Invest in reusable water bottles for the whole family and keep extras in the car so you’re never tempted to go back.

5. Ride your bicycle to work
According to the United States government, bicycle commuters save on average $1,825 annually in auto-related costs, reduce their carbon emissions by 128 pounds, conserve 145 gallons of gasoline, and avoid 50 hours of gridlock traffic. Plus, you are exercising so you’ll feel more energized and have a better night’s sleep.

6. Soak up the solar power
The initial investment in solar power can be costly, but it’s the future energy savings that will make solar power a wise choice. Snyder’s-Lance, for instance, is currently in the process of building the largest ground-based solar farm in Pennsylvania. With over 15,000 solar panels spanning 26 acres, the solar farm will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in excess of 230 million pounds of carbon dioxide over a 25-year period. Read more about the solar farm at www.snydersmediacenter.com.

7. Be open to small changes
Becoming green is really about seeing life differently and being open to make changes, however small they may seem. Things like driving slower (uses less gas), unplugging unused electrical devices (no more phantom usage), and using a microfiber cloth (instead of paper towels) can really add up over time. And the sooner you get started, the better our planet and your home will be.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Facts missing from American democracy, Americans say

A meager 9% of Americans believe that campaign messages are usually based on facts, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Opinion Research and USAFacts. Only 14% think policy decisions are often or always fact-based, or that Americans’ voting decisions are rooted in facts.

Ruling threatens human smuggling cases against Marines

SAN DIEGO — Marine Corps prosecutors were scrambling Tuesday to save numerous cases tied to a human smuggling investigation after a military judge ruled it was illegal for the military to arrest the Marines during a morning battalion formation and accuse them in front of their peers.