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  Living with the Environment in Mind 
 
As an Accredited Green Agent, I place a lot of importance in conducting both my daily practise and my business with a sustainable plan and environmental focus. Gaining certification with the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) has taught me many tips and tricks to help myself and my clients. We aim not only to practise what we preach, but to spread awareness of the growing issues of today. By promoting awareness about energy consumption and efficiency in every home I help clients buy and sell, I am proud to call myself a Green Agent. For more information about NAGAB, go to their website at www.nagab.org
 
 
Vancouver is clearly a great place to live - a thriving and diverse community that is intertwined with the lush natural beauty of the mountains and ocean. That’s why I’m motivated to help preserve our surroundings - both here in Vancouver and globally. I believe that our everyday actions can have an impact on the world, and therefore strive to reduce my ecological footprint at home and in my business.

 

I encourage you to read how we can all keep our environment in mind in our everyday living - simple things that can reduce energy and water consumption, reduce waste, live more sustainably and conserve our natural resources – you might be surprised at how easy it is!

 

 

Of course the most basic way we can live more sustainably is to recycle – in my business I recycle everything, down to every last post-it note! However, did you know that a lot more than your newspapers and plastic bottles can be recycled? Many companies offer to recycle other items such as:

Cell phones & batteries – Many companies in Vancouver participate in a national program called Call2Recycle, which recycles cell phones and used portable rechargeable batteries such as those found in laptops, digital cameras and cordless power tools. This program is run by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, and there are many drop-off points within Vancouver – check out www.rbrc.org/call2recycle to find a drop off spot near you.
 
Computers – These days people are buying more and more computers as their old ones become quickly outdated, which means that more electronics are ending up in landfills. However, many computer companies offer to take back your old computer for free or for a small fee when you buy a new one:
 
Apple: offers a free recycling program for customers buying a new computer as well as free recycling of ipods and cell phones at Apple retailers. See www.apple.com/environment/recycling/ for more information.
 
Dell: will recycle any computer products for free, or will donate old but usable computers to those in need. Check out www.dell.com for more details.
 
HP: will take back computer hardware and rechargeable batteries for free or for a small fee. Many of their printer cartridges include free envelopes and postage for proper disposal as well. See www.hp.com/recyclefor further information.
 
Toshiba: will provide free shipping with UPS for return of old computers for proper recycling. www.toshiba.ca/web/link?id=2200
For general guidelines on what can be recycled in your weekly pick-up, visit  http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/solidwaste/recycling/howto.htm

 

Why not give back to the earth directly? Composting is a great way to provide nutrient-rich soil to your household plants and garden, and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Visit www.compostguide.com for more information on how to set up your compost.

 

A lot of documents tend to be generated in the real estate business – that’s a lot of paper used! Luckily, technology has the capacity to help reduce the amount of paper we use. Use of both email and this website, www.bonniebryant.ca, also allows me to do most of my work online, further limiting the need for paper. Thankfully, the industry is also getting on board to reduce material waste, providing databases and other online programs so that we can all limit the amount of printed material we use. We even refer our clients to companies committed to sustainability, such as Bell Alliance Lawyers & Notaries Public, whose office is completely paperless!

 

I also use post-consumer recycled products whenever I can. When you do receive a printed document from me, its all on 100% post-consumer paper, printed using remanufactured toner cartridges.

 

Some of the products I use are through a great company called Frogfile – providing ‘green’ office products and household items that reduce the amount of new materials produced. Not only do they provide your typical office supplies such as stationery, printer cartridges and writing instruments, but useful items such as organic foods and biodegradable cutlery and paper plates. Biodegradable products look and feel like normal plastic cutlery and paper plates, but can be broken down more easily in waste treatment without compromising on everyday durability. For example, the cutlery is made from a bioplastic resin derived from corn, and can even be put in your composter! See www.frogfile.ca for more ideas on how you can make your home office or workplace a bit more environmentally friendly.

 

Everyone enjoys a clean home or work space – why not make cleaning them eco-friendly as well? Many stores now carry non-toxic products to clean your home or office, such as those from Seventh Generation. Check out their website, www.seventhgeneration.com, not only for eco-friendly cleaning supplies but additional tips on how to live in an environmentally sound way.

 

Computers can have a huge impact on the environment – using extremely large amounts of energy, releasing toxic substances in production and afterwards, and causing a big chunk of air and water pollution. Recently, many computer companies have tried to make the production of their computers less hazardous to the environment, but how do you as a consumer tell which models are the most environmentally friendly? The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool scores companies and their products on how well they adhere to eco-friendly guidelines, which is available at www.epeat.net.
 
Speaking of electronics, did you know that even when electronics such as computer monitors and battery chargers are turned off, they still use electricity? There's a simple and easy solution - unplug or switch off electronics at the power source. A computer monitor left on 24 hours a day can add up to $120 to your electricity bill every year! A simple flick of a switch and not only do you reduce your energy consumption, but you save money!

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