Tuesday, September 13, 2016

50 Simple Ways To Be More Eco-Friendly

Written By: Tami

Trying to live a more "green" or eco-friendly lifestyle seems to becoming more and more common. A lot of people are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. But a lot of people also harm the environment without even realizing it.

You see, a lot of these harmful habits have been sort of socially acceptable and we don't even realize that what we're doing is harmful. But don't worry! There are so many simple and easy steps that you can take to start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle today. And these things don't cost you much money or require you to make a big lifestyle change!

Added bonus: doing all (or most) of these things can actually save you thousands of dollars a year, too!

Here are 50 super simple things that you can do to start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle:

  1. Recycle - an obvious one, but important nonetheless! Keep your recycle bins in a convenient place so that your family has an easier time accessing them and doesn't forget to use them.
  2. Unplug and turn off any electronics or appliances when you aren't using them, to save energy.
  3. Buy a reusable water bottle and drink filtered tap water. (These are eco-friendly and a portion of the profits go to building water wells for impoverished communities in Africa!)
  4. Try to buy coffee that's certified by the Rainforest Alliance or Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This ensures that it's "bird friendly" coffee; here's some more info on that.
  5. Take your own coffee mug to coffee shops to use - many coffee shops (like Starbucks) actually offer a discount if you do this!
  6. Ditch paper napkins - use reusable cloth napkins instead...
  7. ...and ditch paper towels - use reusable microfiber towels instead.
  8. Try to buy products with renewable packaging.
  9. Plant a garden and grow your own produce - you can also plant an herb garden.
  10. Donate items that you want to get rid of (such as clothes, books, etc.) instead of throwing them away.
  11. Use your microwave or pressure cooker as much as possible, instead of your conventional oven.
  12. Invest in reusable grocery bags (and produce bags!) instead of the plastic ones stores provide. If you don't want to do this, at least take your used plastic bags back to the stores - many stores have a recycling bin set up for this so they can reuse them.
  13. Ride your bike or walk anywhere that you can whenever possible.
  14. If you have to drive somewhere, try to see if you can carpool.
  15. In nice weather, hang your clothes to dry instead of using a clothes dryer.
  16. If you aren't hanging your clothes to dry, clean out your dryer vent often to save electricity while drying your clothes.
  17. Cut down on buying new clothes - re-purpose your wardrobe or host a clothing swap instead.
  18. Shop eBay, Goodwill, Craigslist, and thrift stores as much as possible - this is better for the environment and cheaper.
  19. Skip buying new books and buy eBooks or used books instead - or use your library.
  20. Switch to paperless billing for any of your monthly bills that offer it.
  21. Make your own cleaning supplies, beauty products, and anything else that normally contains icky chemicals.
  22. Try to fix any of your broken things before you go and buy new ones - if you do a quick search on Google, YouTube, or Pinterest, you're bound to find a way to fix (almost) anything.
  23. Instead of going to a chain grocery store for everything, try to buy from local farmer's, farmer's markets, or small locally-owned businesses. If you go to eatwellguide.org, you can find local restaurants, farms, and markets that use local, sustainable food.
  24. Dispose of your batteries the right way.
  25. Switch the light bulbs in your house to eco-friendly LED bulbs.
  26. Before you turn on your heat, try keeping warm by using a blanket or putting on a sweater. Before you turn on your air conditioning, try changing into cooler clothes or putting your hair up.
  27. Keep your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Or consider switching to a smart thermostat. This not only saves energy, but it also saves you money!
  28. Only cook the amount of food that you/your family will realistically eat so you don't waste it...
  29. ...and start a compost pile for the food that you don't end up eating.
  30. Save a huge amount of water each year by taking shorter showers, turning off the water when brushing your teeth, only washing full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine, and fixing leaky faucets right away.
  31. Wash all of your laundry in cold water - almost 90% of the energy used in washers goes to heating the water!
  32. Recycle your ink cartridges and toner cartridges - you can also do this at Staples, Office Depot, and other stores.
  33. Cut makeup sponges, cotton swabs, face wipes, etc. in half - this will save on waste and save you money!
  34. Around Christmastime, but a tree that you can replant after you use it.
  35. Speaking of Christmas, try to avoid buying wrapping paper. Make your own - use fabric, newspaper, or reuse the previous year's wrapping paper.
  36. When you're doing  everyday shopping, try to choose more natural, organic, eco-friendly items whenever you can.
  37. Try to buy glass or stainless steel items over plastic items whenever possible.
  38. If you have a baby, consider using cloth diapers - it's not as bad as it sounds, I promise. You can find tons of helpful tips online. (This will save you so much money too!)
  39. Stop using vinyl shower curtains - use fabric or PVC-free shower curtains instead.
  40. Install ceiling fans to save energy and money.
  41. When you're looking for a new vehicle, choose one that's gas-efficient.
  42. Don't drive over the speed limit - speeding can reduce your gas mileage by 33%!
  43. Make coconut oil a staple in your household - you can use it for literally so many things, from a moisturizer to a deep-conditioning treatment to a cooking oil. Just browse Pinterest and you're sure to find a huge list of uses for coconut oil.
  44. Get a ficus - these plants remove pollutants such as formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals from your home.
  45. Instead of always having lights on in your home, open your curtains instead. This will save energy, plus sunlight is good for your mind!
  46. Only buy beeswax candles, 100% soy candles, or candles that don't contain any harmful paraffin. (Or buy beeswax or soy wax and make your own candles - one of my favorite hobbies!)
  47. Cancel any unsolicited magazine subscriptions or junk mail that you receive to save paper.
  48. Donate your old newspapers to animal shelters.
  49. Buy eco-friendly pet toys, collars, and supplies.
  50. Educate other people on the importance of being eco-friendly. If you notice your family members or friends are doing something that's not eco-friendly, let them know what they can do to change. (But don't be naggy about it!)

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