West Yellowstone Being Green, Recycling & Earth Day
Small towns might make it easier to 'be green' by not having the red tape that seems to always appear in bigger towns when it comes to recycling. (Bozeman's difficulty in recycling glass, anyone?) West Yellowstone demonstrates that it's making Green Moves, as Earth Day approaches. - Michelle
West Yellowstone still has plenty of snow on the ground, but community members are seeing and thinking green with Earth Day only three weeks away.
It's an expansively impacting concept that for one day out of the year, April 22, people across the globe recognize how to "be green," educate their peers, maybe plant a tree and focus on sustainability.
Even more encouraging though are locals like Two Seasons Recycling owner Gus Tureman and the Green Up West Yellowstone group that concentrate on "being green" 365 days a year.
These local resources are happy to enlighten people about greening up their daily lives.
Household utilities act as a great starter model to think about energy consumption and how much people use in day-to-day life. Electricity, water and heat are three common utilities that residents in West Yellowstone pay for each month. Switching off the lights, lowering the thermostat when no one's at home, unplugging appliances when they're not being used and turning off the faucet are simple ways to cut energy consumption.
An entire section of information and education materials about green living are made available to the public at the United States Environmental Protection Agency's website, www.epa.gov. A section devoted to water conservation explains that by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime can save up to eight gallons of water per day, equaling 240 gallons saved per month.
And, by replacing traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs people can reduce energy use at home and greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change, according to information on the ENERGY STAR website, www.energystar.com.
These products don't need to be purchased at a special store, nor do they carry astronomically high price tags. They are easily accessible to daily consumers.
In West Yellowstone, Westmart stocks their shelves with a good selection of CFL lighting options. The packaging on a GE brand 15 watt bulb boasts an energy savings of $45 per bulb and can replace a traditional 60 watt bulb, while lasting for up to six years before it needs to be replaced.
"If everybody were to replace their traditional bulbs with energy efficient lighting they'd be able to shut down several nuclear plants in America," Westmart employee Clark Duncan said.
He also stocks Westmart with energy-saving home appliances. The estimated yearly operating cost for one Whirlpool brand washing machine was a surprisingly low $13.
"Most of the washing machines around (West Yellowstone) are probably older models," Duncan said. Some older model washing machines can cost upwards of $60 to operate each year. That's a $47 cost difference for a newer, more energy efficient model.
"It's the upfront costs that hurt people the most, but it pays off," Duncan said.
Various tax credits and rebates are also available for consumers who purchase ENERGY STAR appliances with upgraded energy efficiency standards. Information on tax credits and ENERGY STAR guidelines for appliances can be found on the website.
Being green can be simple and inexpensive with resources available at the public library or a neighbor who sorts their recycling each week. One environmental website even pointed out that by checking out books and films from a local library instead of purchasing new ones cuts down on paper, ink and oil usage, and there's no cost to be a card-carrying member of the West Yellowstone Public Library.
Starting with other basics like recycling in the home or carpooling with a friend to Bozeman are great ways to go green. If someone decides to walk to work or the grocery store, they're already doing a small part to reduce the energy usage and fuel consumption right here in West Yellowstone. More and more people are concentrating on water conservation and reusable water bottles, demonstrating another great way to cut out the purchase of bottled water, which in turn saves money.
One bottle may not seem like much by itself, but a lot of bottles amount to a lot of excess waste.
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