A lot of people think of “going green” as installing solar panels, buying an electric car, and living like a nomad. While those things are important, going green can actually be a lot easier than you think.
In fact, the best thing you can do to help the environment is to change your everyday habits and routines to be more eco-friendly. Here are 24 of the countless ways you can go green, improve the quality of your life, and actually save money while you’re at it.
“Green Tweak” Tasks You Regularly Do
1. Use bar soap instead of shower gel
Most shower gel bottles are made of plastic that will end up in a landfill. Even a bar of soap in a recyclable box is better than plastic.
2. Wash clothes in cold water
Roughly 85% of energy created by washing machines is devoted to heating water. When possible, switch your washer’s settings to using only cool or cold water.
3. Make your own cleaning supplies
Cleaning supplies are filled with harmful chemicals and come in wasteful packaging. Try making a variety of your own using vinegar, baking soda, soap, and a little citrus.
4. Swap K-cups for sustainable Keurig pods
Don’t feel guilty about your morning coffee. Plastic K-cups can’t be recycled, and the coffee tastes horrible going through the plastic. Buy pods like the ones from Tayst that are 100% biodegradable and just as easy.
Reduce Waste at the Grocery Store
5. Don’t accept paper receipts
“Would you like your receipt with that?” Chances are, you don’t really need it.
Over 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees and 1 billion gallons of water are consumed each year in the creation of receipts for the United States alone, generating 1.5 billion pounds of waste. (via HuffingtonPost)
6. Use reusable bags
Reusable bags are a tremendous way to cut back on plastic consumption. If you happen to forget yours, use as few bags at the store as possible.
7. Buy from bulk bins
Some stores offer things like oats, granola, rice, and other foods in large bulk bins. Not only can they save you money, but they’ll reduce the need for wasteful packaging.
8. Visit a farmers market
Farmers markets are a great way to support your local community. Shop local, eat healthy, and reduce waste all at the same time.
9. Shop online (even for groceries)
Online shopping is kind of like carpooling for groceries. Plus, you won’t be tempted to pick up that box of cookies as you’re walking past it.
Be Eco-friendly at Work
10. Cut the commute
Carpooling greatly reduces the amount of carbon emissions on the road, and it gives you an opportunity to make friends with you coworkers. If possible, try riding your bike to work or telecommuting once a week from home.
11. Take notes electronically
Offices are full of sticky notes, legal pads, and lines at the copy machine. Use a laptop or tablet to take notes electronically and send memos around by email.
12. Turn off your screensaver
Screensavers prolong the time it takes for your computer to conserve energy. Set it to sleep or hibernate after a few minutes of inactivity.
Watch What You Eat
13. Join the Meatless Mondays movement
Meat takes a tremendous amount of water and other resources to produce. Take a night to make a difference and fill your plate with vegetables instead.
14. Use dishes and cloth napkins instead of paper products
Paper products are convenient, but most of the time they end up in a landfill. See #17 if you’re worried about the hassle of cleaning up.
15. Eat locally and organic
Going to farmers markets (#8) is an easy way to do this, but it’s not necessary. Almost every grocery store will have a selection of grass-fed meats and pesticide-free fruits.
16. Drink sustainable coffee & tea
If you like to brew using more traditional methods, make sure that you’re using sustainable, fair trade coffee beans and tea leaves. Support cafés that commit to fair trade as well.
Don’t Be Afraid of Technology
17. Wash dishes with a dishwasher
It might seem counterintuitive, but big machines can actually be more energy efficient than doing things by hand. Dishwashers use just a fraction of the water that washing dishes in the sink would.
18. Save time and energy with an automatic car wash
Speaking of big machines, washing your car by hand takes a ton of water. Opt for an automatic wash instead and sit in comfort while you save the environment.
Help the Environment Around the House
19. Use energy-saving light bulbs
Certified fluorescent light bulbs require less electricity and can actually provide better lighting in your home. Next time one needs changed, reach for a more eco-friendly bulb.
20. Prevent “vampire drain” with smart strips
Leaving appliances plugged in when you use them can still draw in more energy than necessary. Unplug them from the wall or use a smart strip that cuts power when not in use.
21. Purify water with a water filter
Bottled water is one of the biggest causes of waste on the planet. Hook up a water filter on your kitchen faucet and use a reusable bottle with it.
22. Install a programmable thermostat
You probably don’t need to heat and cool the house while you’re gone during the workday. Using a programmable thermostat can save you $200 every year by some estimates.
23. Invest in proper insulation
A lack of insulation can cause outside air to come in and inside air to flow out. Investing in good insulation can stop you from constantly turning up the heat or AC.
24. Get a houseplant
This one is literally “going green.” Plants not only help your place look inviting, but they fight pollution and purify the air.
How many of these ideas can you start implementing today? Share this post on social media and help everyone make the planet a safer place. Little adjustments in your everyday life can have great long term impact.
Doing Good Feels Great!
Written by: Zach Thanasilangkul