Celebrate Earth Day and save money with these seven easy lifestyle changes.
- Run your dishwasher when it is full
Running your dishwasher less often by only running full loads can save you around $40 and reduce your carbon dioxide emission by 100 pounds per year, according to the EPA.
- Purchase a reusable water bottle
Fifty-billion bottles of water are consumed in the United States every year, according to the EPA’s blog. The EPA is advocating “bring back the water fountain” which encourages people to buy a reusable bottle and fill it with tap water. This helps reduce the amount of bottles that end up in landfills.
- Insulate your home
The amount of energy lost by air escaping from small leaks of a typical home is the same amount of energy lost from leaving a window open every day, according to Energystar.gov. When you improve the insulation around your home and seal up cracks around windows and doors, you can keep your house from using unnecessary energy and save on utility bills.
- Help your local animal shelter by donating newspaper, fabric and plastic bags
Animal shelters use plastic bags, scraps of fabric and newspapers for bedding and other creative things, according to Earth911. Instead of tossing them in the trash, consider donating them to your local animal shelter.
- Recycle your cellphone
Help reduce air and water pollution a well as greenhouse gas emissions by recycling your old electronic devices, like cellphones. The EPA offers information about where and how to recycle your old devices.
- Get the extra items out of your vehicle
Having extra items in your vehicle weighs it down. The extra weight causes your car to emit more fuel than it needs to. Adding 100 pounds of unnecessary weight could reduce your MPG by 1 percent, according to FuelEconomy.gov.
- Get free stuff
Freerecycle.org helps keep landfills less cluttered by connecting people who are getting rid of stuff with people who want to take that stuff for free. The site has more than 9 million members worldwide. That’s a lot of freebies.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, consumers can empower themselves by understanding their healthcare plan and the cost-saving options available. The decisions one makes about their healthcare add up to either big savings or big spending.
Navigating healthcare plans and savings options can be challenging. Starmark® is dedicated to helping ensure members have access to the latest information available in order to maximize the value of their healthcare plan and minimize their costs. Recently two flyers were emailed to members focused on this important topic, including an overview of different levels of care options, such as a retail clinic vs. the emergency room, and a breakdown of costs and savings when choosing in-network vs. out-of-network care.
Keep your eye out for more tips and insight geared to help members make the best choices when it comes to minimizing healthcare costs.
Printers and copiers are among the most energy-intensive fixtures in the workplace. They, along with standard printer ink, also produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids and can harm your health.
Tips to help you get started:
- Expand the margins on documents. This will allow you to fit more text on each page. In turn, you print fewer pages per document.
- Print on both sides of the paper. Double-sided, or “duplex,” printing also helps you print fewer sheets of paper. Research your printer’s settings or consider switching to a printer that makes duplex printing simpler.
- Reuse scrap paper. To help reduce waste, place a bin for scrap paper next to the printer. Employees can reuse the paper for one-off printing or note taking instead of tossing it into the trash or recycling bin.
- Recycle paper. When finished with documents, recycle them instead of throwing them in the trash. If they do not contain sensitive information, consider recycling them by shredding and using them for packing material.
- Go paperless. Going paperless means reducing paper use as much as possible by using electronic file sharing and storage. In addition to saving paper, going paperless helps you spend less money and create more storage space.
The federal government released its latest recommendations and guidelines for healthful eating.
Here are the five guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Choose a healthy eating pattern at your appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
- Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from both added sugars and saturated fats; and less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium. If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation – up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
- Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.
We all get it. That icky, gross looking gunk that appears in our eyes when we wake up in the morning. Whether you call it eye mucus, sleep or eye discharge, this build-up is natural.
Eye discharge, or rheum as it’s technically known, is a collection of cells, mucus, oil and debris from the tears that form at the corners of our eyes during sleep. Rheum actually serves a protective function to remove waste and potentially harmful debris from the front surface of our eyes.
What Causes Eye Discharge?
Our eyes produce mucus throughout the day, but a continuous thin film of tears washes the mucus from our eyes as we blink. Blinking flushes out the rheum before it hardens, but when we’re asleep, we aren’t blinking. This is why the eye discharge collects at the corners of our eyes overnight, and we wake up with crusty eyes.
How to Safely Wash Away “Sleep” from Your Eyes
The best way to clean your eyes of discharge is to lay a washcloth soaked with hot water on the lids and lashes and gently clean them. If your eyes seem to be sticky or glued together, leave the hot washcloth on your eyes for a few minutes.
When to Call the Eye Doctor
Eye discharge is generally no cause for alarm, but excessive discharge – especially if it’s green or yellow or accompanied by vision issues – should be examined by an eye doctor. Increased eye mucus may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as pink eye.
Many people end up with unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications.
You can help to prevent accidental or intentional use of unwanted medications by getting rid of them safely:
- Check the label on your medication and follow any instructions for safe disposal provided.
- Do not flush the drugs down the toilet unless the label says to flush them.
- If there are no disposal instructions on the label, check with your local government to find out if specific disposal methods are required by law. If not, take them out of the container and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or cat litter. Next, seal the mixture in a sealable bag, can, or container and place the container in the garbage.
Many states have year-round drug take-back programs that provide onsite drug disposal boxes or mail-back programs, and host local medication take-back events.
Visit the Drug Disposal map to find a local site or take a look at the options for home disposal. If a drug disposal site or mail-back program is not available in your area, it is best to follow Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for the safe disposal of unused or unwanted medications at home.
Even the smallest changes in your routine can have a big impact on your health. Take starting your day with lemon water, for example. It’s simple: upon waking up, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into a glass, fill with warm water and drink. It has myriad health benefits, from helping your immune system to offering an antioxidant boost.
Here are seven reasons you should consider adopting this morning ritual:
- It aids digestion. Acid helps break down food. That’s why there is so much of it in our stomachs. The acid in lemons may be especially helpful to help supplement stomach acids, which decline as we get older.
- It helps you stay hydrated. Most of us don’t drink enough water. A daily lemon water habit is an easy way to get your day off on the right foot. How to know if you’re drinking enough? Your urine is almost clear.
- It’s weight-loss friendly. We’re creatures of habit. Ponder the impact of replacing your morning OJ or latte with lemon water. Not just once, but perhaps 20 times a month – and multiply that by 10 years. Your waist line will thank you.
- It prevents oxidation. Lemons contain phytonutrients, or substances that protect your body against disease. These phytonutrients have powerful antioxidant properties, which prevent us from oxidizing or essentially rusting from the inside out.
- It supplies a healthy dose of vitamin C. Juice half a lemon into your water. You’ll add a mere 6 calories and get more than a sixth of your daily vitamin C – needed to protect from cell damage and repair injury.
- It provides a potassium boost. Without this mineral, your body can’t function properly. It’s necessary for nerve-muscle communication, and transporting nutrients and waste. Potassium also can counter some of the effects of salt on blood pressure.
- It helps prevent kidney stones. Lemon water helps prevent these painful stones in those deficient in urinary citrate (a form of citric acid). More importantly, increased fluid consumption helps prevent dehydration — a common cause of kidney stones.
Source: Cleveland Clinic.org