Don’t underestimate those small green efforts you make to live an eco-friendly lifestyle – they matter more than you think. Here are 40 easy ways you can go green and make an impact to let the planet reap the rewards in the near future.
1. Change a Light Bulb
The Union of Concerned Scientists states that if every household in the U.S. replaced one of their incandescent light bulbs with a compact fluorescent light bulb instead, this action would prevent 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas being emitted from power plants. That would be the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road!
2. Choose One Shopping Day
Do all your weekly grocery shopping in one day to cut down on using your car.
3. Have One ‘Meat Free’ Day a Week
You might not be able to eliminate meat from your diet completely, but just having one meat-free day can help, according to winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Rajendra Pachari. He adds that 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases come from livestock.
4. Walk if You’re Taking a Short Trip
Approximately half of car use is used for trips that are within 5km of one’s home.
5. Plant a Tree
This is an easy way to do something for the planet as trees absorb carbon dioxide.
6. Share Green News
You can make a difference right from the comfort of your desk by sharing green news you find on the internet with friends on your social media.
7. Copy, Don’t Print
If you receive an important email, copy it to your computer instead of unnecessarily printing it.
8. Take Your Car in for a Service
Keeping your car in good condition helps to save fuel, plus it will ensure a longer lifespan of your car.
9. Turn Down Water Heat
You don’t need piping hot water. Making it a few degrees colder helps to save energy.
10. Wash Some Dishes by Hand
Don’t depend on your dish washer for a few dishes as this prevents water wastage.
11. Buy Produce that is in Season
Fruits and vegetables that are in season do not need to notch up carbon miles in their transportation to you from being imported.
12. Get Your Tires Checked
Keep your tires properly inflated as tires that are under-inflated can increase fuel consumption by as much as 6 per cent.
13. Bring Your Own Coffee Mug
Instead of relying on plastic or polystyrene cups that get thrown in the bin, bring your own re-usable mug for a takeaway from your local coffee shop.
14. Get an Eco-Friendly Water Bottle
This prevents purchasing of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. Get an eco-friendly bottle that is safe for re-using. Check out this site for some great eco-friendly water bottles.
15. Switch off Heat or Air Con When You Leave the House
Don’t waste energy keeping an empty home warm or cool if you’re not there.
16. Wash Clothes in Cold or Warm Water
Every load of washing that is washed in cold or warm water can save up to 600 pounds of CO2. Also try hand-washing garments instead of using a washing machine for small items.
17. Hang Clothes to Dry
Use the sun to naturally dry clothing as much as possible.
18. Make Your Refrigerator Work Better
Vacuum the coils in the back of the refrigerator every six months to keep the fridge working optimally.
19. Use Your Stove Wisely
When switching on your stove, use the burner that is of a similar size to the pot you are placing on it to prevent wasting heat.
20. Turn it Off when Not in Use
‘Idle’ or ‘hibernation mode’ still zaps energy. Switch off all appliances when not in use.
21. Re-Use Wrapping Paper
Keep those pieces of wrapping paper for future gifts, to save you from having to purchase new paper. You can also re-use other types of paper for gift-wrapping, such as comic strips or newspapers.
22. Take Shorter Showers
You really don’t need a long shower to clean up. Try cut back on how many minutes you’re in the shower and save your household money and energy.
23. Take Leftovers Home
Instead of sending uneaten food back to the restaurant kitchen, ask for a doggy bag and enjoy the rest of your meal later.
24. Make Rags out of Old T-Shirts
Old, ripped t-shirts come in handy as cloths for cleaning!
25. Wash Full Loads
Only use the washing machine when you have a full load of washing to get done as this will prevent energy wastage.
26. Carry Reusable Shopping Bags
Plastic is a huge problem as it usually winds up in landfills and can’t be recycled many times into new items. Carry your own bags when you go shopping.
27. Repair Toilet Leaks
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a toilet that runs constantly could be wasting 200 gallons of water every day!
28. Buy Regular Items in Bulk
This prevents extra trips to the mall and translates into less packaging.
29. Donate what you Don’t Need
There are always charities in need of clothing and items, so donate what you don’t want to the less fortunate.
30. Trade Your Items
Swap clothing or household items with friends who may want it – and they might have treasures for you that could save you money.
31. Pay Bills Online
This is a great way to reduce paper and it’s more efficient because you can do it right from the comfort of your home.
32. Stick to the Speed Limit
The faster you drive, the more gas you’re zapping, so slow down to prevent extra trips to the gas station. A car that speeds at 80mph uses 10 per cent more fuel than one driving at 70mph, says the UK Department of Transport (in an article published in The Guardian.)
33. Re-Use Your Coffee
Used coffee grounds can be scattered over flower beds of plants that crave acid, such as azaleas and rhododendrons.
34. Get a Doormat
If everyone who enters your home wipes down their feet at the door this prevents dirt from entering your home as well as the need to clean up with chemicals.
35. Let the Sun Shine in
Use natural light as much as possible to warm your home.
36. Email Co-Workers
This is much more eco-friendly than printing out memos that just waste paper.
37. Collect Rainwater
Catch rainwater in buckets or barrels to use on indoor plants
38. Eat More Grain and Produce
Foods lower down on the food chain, such as fruits, vegetables and grain, have less impact on the environment. They’re also healthier for you.
39. Rent, Don’t Buy
Instead of purchasing movies that you watch once and then discard, rent as much as possible.
40. Give the Treadmill a Miss
Get your daily fix of endorphins by exercising outdoors – no energy-using gym equipment required.
In what easy ways do you do your bit to save the planet? Tell us in the comments box below!