Experts top sustainable recommendations

The experts of Utah State University Extension recommend building garden swales to capture natural water flow, in this case from a roof downspout to water trees and flowers. It is just one of the sustainable recommendations that could be done this year. (Photo courtesy of USU Extension)

LOGAN — To make this a great year, take the challenge to try these simple lifestyle changes. Each aspect of sustainable living presented is not only good for the environment, but good for personal health and wallet as well.

Whether it is dusting off a bike, exploring vermicomposting or simply changing a light bulb, each small change a person makes will have lasting impacts. Consider these tips.

Go paperless

Lose paper weight this year. Go paperless with all bills and unsubscribe from junk mail through Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at dmachoice.org.

Be cool

Be a cool Valentine. Save on the heating bill by turning down the thermostat while the house is empty during the day. See if it’s possible to sleep better with the thermostat down a few degrees at night as well. For other energy saving tips, visit extensionsustainability.usu.edu/energy.

Natural cleaning

Start some (natural) spring cleaning. Make home cleaning products to minimize toxin exposure, save money and be healthy. Visit https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/MP492.pdf for tips and recipes.

Build swales

Let rain showers water the flowers. Build garden swales instead of mounds to capture natural water flow. Find pictures, explanations and books on how to do it at http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/.

LED, natural light

Be bright with LED and natural light. Switch the light bulbs in the home to more efficient LED lights and use natural light to brighten the home and office. Energy tips can be found at http://extensionsustainability.usu.edu/energy/.

Pest control

Avoid June bugs with natural pest control. Create a garlic and dish detergent mixture for aphids, or experiment with other natural pest control recipes to improve the family’s health and landscape. Visit https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/natural-garden-pest-control/ for tips on natural pest control.

Native gardening

Beat the heat with a native garden. Plant drought and heat-tolerant native edibles and ornamentals this year to add natural Utah beauty to the landscape. Browse http://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/ for helpful information.

Be thrifty

Be thrift chic. Prepare a “new” work or school wardrobe with a visit to the local thrift store. While there, drop off clothes that are no longer worn to keep the cycle going. Learn more about how to give clothes a second chance at http://usuextensionsustainability.blogspot.com/, then scroll down the page to the give clothes blog.

Bike, walk, bus

Head back to school or work with alternative transportation. Opt to bike, walk or ride the bus as the primary mode of daily transportation. Find out more by viewing the fact sheet at http://extensionsustainability.usu.edu/air/.

Use worms

Start a personal household vermicompost system with red wigglers, a container, bedding, dirt, moisture and use daily food scraps. See Extension’s vermicomposting fact sheet at http://extensionsustainability.usu.edu/land/.

Give thanks

Give thanks through local giving! Sign up for a community-supported agriculture program, and buy a Thanksgiving meal from local sources to reduce the family’s food print (the carbon footprint associated with how the food was produced and the miles it has traveled between production and consumption). Find out more about the local food movement at http://extensionsustainability.usu.edu/food/.

Reuse, upcycle

Give more while consuming less. Reuse newspaper and other paper scraps to make homemade upcycled (converting used materials into new items) gifts for friends and family. Opt to draw names with family and friends to reduce the quantity and increase the quality of gifts.

Host creative craft nights with friends and catch up while repurposing products that are typically thrown away. See Extension’s “Reuse” fact sheet at https://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/Sustainability_2012_11pr.pdf.

For more information on sustainability, visit https://extensionsustainability.usu.edu/ and like USU Extension on Facebook for daily inspiration, and to learn more about how to incorporate sustainability into your life.

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