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12 simple ways to go green in 2012

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What you can do:

  • Put a separate container next to your trash can or printer, making it easier to recycle your bottles, cans, and paper.

(2) Turn off the lights

On the last Saturday in March – March 31 in 2012 – hundreds of people, businesses, and governments around the world turn off their lights for an hour as part of Earth Hour, a movement to address climate change.

What you can do:

  • Earth Hour happens only once a year, but you can make an impact every day by turning off lights during bright daylight or whenever you will be away for an extended period of time.

(3) Make the switch 

In 2007, Australia became the first country to “ban the bulb,” drastically reducing domestic usage of incandescent light bulbs. By late 2010, incandescent bulbs had been totally phased out, and, according to the country’s environment minister, this simple move has made a big difference, cutting an estimated 4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. China also recently pledged to replace the 1 billion incandescent bulbs used in its government offices with more energy-efficient models within five years.

What you can do:

  • A bill in Congress to eliminate incandescent in the United States failed in 2011, but you can still make the switch at home. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use only 20 to 30 percent of the energy required by incandescents to create the same amount of light, and LEDs use only 10 percent, helping reduce both electric bills and carbon emissions.

(4) Turn on the tap

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