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3 days to a greener home

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By Marisa Belger
From Green Goes Simple

A greener household doesn't happen overnight, but it can happen over three days. Here are three easy green changes to make over 72 hours.

Day No. 1: Rethink your laundry routine.
Laundry is a big part of any household -- a huge part if you have more than one kid. Frequent washes use lots of energy: energy to heat the washing water and energy to keep the drier pumping hot air. Fortunately, you can give your laundry routine a green upgrade with a few nearly instant shifts. When washing, choose cold water. Going cold will reduce the amount of energy you use with each wash and will also lower your monthly bill. And if you use a detergent that is specifically designed for cool-water washing, your family's clothing will be as squeaky-clean as it would be if washed in hot water. For added eco-points, skip the dryer and use a rack or outside line for drying.

Day No. 2: Start recycling.
Separating your recyclables from your trash requires only a few seconds of your time, but it can have a major eco-impact. Make the process as easy as possible by using clearly marked bins for recyclables (glass, plastic, paper and aluminum) and trash. Get the kids in on the game too: Have little ones make signs for each bin and offer rewards for family members who remember to recycle. A quick online search will tell you what your town recycles and will give you guidelines for pickup at your home.

Day No. 3: Go on an electricity diet.
For three days, encourage family members to go on an electricity diet. Everyone can reduce their power consumption by turning off lights whenever they leave a room and spending less time in front off the TV and computer. Using less electricity will burn fewer resources and will also lower your monthly electric bill.

Marisa Belger's work has appeared in Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, where she wrote a column about eco-friendly living. She was an editor at Lime.com and collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books, The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget. She is the managing editor of and frequent contributor to Green Goes Simple.

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