TAVARES — More than 130 Lake County employees and residents took the 2008 Earth Day Challenge on April 22.
With four laptops set up in the rotunda of the Lake County Administration Building, individuals completed the online exercise during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. The challenge encouraged individuals to commit to living a greener, healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle by pledging to do a series of actions at least once during the next week.
"County government and the community have a responsibility to support environmentally friendly practices," said County Manager Cindy Hall. "Public education events, like the Earth Day Challenge, are an important part of that effort."
Respondents chose which of the 20 green initiatives they thought they could complete this week as part of the challenge. The actions were split into four categories: Water Conservation; Energy Reduction; Reduce, Reuse & Recycle; and Green Transportation. Respondents had the opportunity to receive reminder e-mails of the initiatives they chose to complete. The Top 10 most popular selections from the challenge were:
• 10. Use washable rags instead of paper towels. Using old rags, which are probably lying, around your home, to clean up messes not only saves a few bucks on new paper towels but also reduces waste.
• 9. Barbecue once this week. Outdoor grills use less energy than electric kitchen stoves. They also keep heat out of the house, lowering air conditioning costs.
• 8. Learn to recycle. Encourage your family to recycle soda cans, milk jugs, glass jars and plastic bottles. For more information, call (352) 343-3776.
• 7. Replace one light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL). An investment of about $5 can save hundreds of dollars — and a lot of energy — over the lifespan of these spiral-type bulbs.
• 6. Unplug cell phone when it is done charging. Once the phone is completely charged, it is just wasting electricity. Also, unplug your charger when you are not using it because it will continue to drain electricity.
• 5. Rotate your car tires on a regular basis. Keeping tires inflated to the right PSI and rotated regularly saves fuel.
• 4. Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking, wastes fuel.
• 3. Power off electronics. When not using televisions, computers, video games or radios, remember to turn them off.
• 2. Run the dishwasher only when it is full. This measure helps reduce water and energy use.
• 1. Don't waste water. For example, when brushing your teeth, remember to turn the water on only when needed.