50 Easy Ways to Be More Green

Here are some ideas for living a more green life. There may be some things listed that you’ve already heard, but hopefully I will provide a few new ideas too.

At home:

1. Use non-toxic and natural cleaning products. They are available in health food and stores or online. You can also try making your own. There are many recipes online.

2. If you use a swiffer type duster, use washable duster cloths (they are sold on ebay or you can buy a pattern online and make them).

3. Hang your clothes on a rack or clothesline after you wash them and just use the dryer for an emergency. I don’t have a dryer and have lived without one for most of my life.

4. Turn off the faucet while soaping dishes and brushing your teeth. Turn it back on to rinse.

5. Replace all of your bulbs with CFL bulbs.

6. Turn off anything that you aren’t using (if you aren’t in a room, turn off the ac and lights, TV etc.). Better yet, unplug them whenever possible. They often still use a little bit of energy just because they are plugged in.

7. Recycle – be sure to read any information that comes out from your sanitation department so that you know everything that is recyclable in your area. Some people don’t realize that scrap paper, envelopes and other items are often recyclable. Don’t forget to recycle your print cartridges, cell phones and plastic bags. Our local grocery store accepts plastic bags.

8. Use washable cloth napkins at home instead of paper napkins.

9. Although this may not appeal to all, women can also use washable, cloth sanitary pads for their cycle.

10. Use your paper twice. If you print something on your computer, when you are done with it or if it doesn’t come out right, don’t throw the sheet away, save it and use it to print on the other side or cut it up to use as scrap paper.

11. Take your used produce bags to the store with you and use them again. Better yet, buy reusable produce bags.

12. Use foam soap to wash hands instead of liquid soap. Buy a bottle of foam soap. After the soap is used up, refill the bottle with your own foam soap recipe. Do a search – I use the one from Recipezaar and make a large amount at one time using an old dish soap bottle, so I don’t have to make it as often. I buy a large sized bag of Method refill soap and use that.

13. Instead of drinking bottled water, buy a reusable water jug. Fill it at home with your own purified water and carry it with you throughout the day.

14. Have your pharmacy mail your prescriptions rather than going to pick them up..

15. Turn your hot water tank down. We don’t usually need it as hot as we have it. Try turning it down a little bit at a time.

16. Instead of throwing items away, join Freecycle (freecycle.org) and give them away to people who need them. Donate clothing to used clothing stores like Amvets, City Mission, Salvation Army, etc.

17. Wear clothes more than once if possible. Sometimes we might just wear something for a couple of hours and instead of throwing it in the wash, we might be able to wear it again.

18. Use a digital camera instead of a film camera. You can get your pictures instantly and print only the ones that you really want printed. You also have the ability to create beautiful slide shows which can be more fun to watch than looking at a photo album.

19. Read newspapers online rather than buying them.

20. Sign up to receive your bills and bank statements electronically.

21. Pay your bills online with electronic bill pay.

22. Use your bank card instead of checks for purchases.

When cooking:

23. Don’t open the oven while cooking. When you do, heat escapes and energy is wasted.

24. Defrost frozen foods before cooking (if it’s meat, in the fridge, not on the counter) and then cook for a shorter amount of time – my mom used to be able to cook a TV dinner on a burner on the stove in 20 minutes on low as opposed to baking them in the oven for 40 minutes. This was back when they have foil containers instead of paper.

25. When cooking noodles, boil the water, put noodles in and shut the pot off and let the noodles sit until they are done (about 20 minutes).

26. When using the oven, bake a few items at one time. For example, instead of making baked chicken, mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables, why not make baked chicken with roasted potatoes and roasted vegetables. It’s less work, less mess to clean and saves energy and money. While your dinner is cooking, have a dessert ready to bake when it’s done so that you don’t have to heat the oven up twice.

27. Use a toaster oven and use it to reheat and sometimes bake small amounts of food instead of using the oven.

28. Don’t preheat the oven when baking.

29. If you use glass or ceramic pans to bake in the oven, you can turn the temperature down 25 degrees lower and your food will cook just as quickly. – from http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/appliances/ranges.html

30. Always use a lid when boiling water or heating any liquid foods.

Outside:

31. Don’t use chemicals on your lawn (use natural weed control).

32. Try composting. They even have indoor composters available now.

33. Mow your lawn with a push mower. You will save money and get exercise at the same time.

34. Plant fruit trees and bushes in your yard for free food.

35. Grow a vegetable garden without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Use organic fertilizers like bat guano and fish emulsion. Instead of pesticides, you can plant garlic and/or Marigolds around the perimeter of your garden to keep pests away.

36. Catch rainwater to water your garden plants.37. Drive in a way that uses less gas. A few ways to do this are by avoiding sudden stops and starts, avoiding rush hour traffic, and making sure your tires are properly inflated. Do an online search for more ideas.

When at a restaurant or shopping:

38. Take a plastic food storage container with you when you go to a restaurant to eat. You can bring your leftovers home in it instead of using a throw-away Styrofoam or plastic container provided by the restaurant.

39. Buy cloth/canvas bags and use them every time you shop – both for grocery shopping and at department stores.

40. Before you buy something, see if you can get it on Freecycle.

41. Buy a front loading washing machine instead of a top loader – they use a lot less water and half the soap.

42. Buy biodegradable trash bags.

43. Buy concentrated laundry soap and other products whenever possible.

44. Instead of buying new books or dvds, trade the ones you have that you no longer want online at sites like PaperbackSwap and Swap-A-Dvd.

45. Instead of buying cds, buy an Ipod and put all of your music on it.

46. Before buying something, ask yourself, “Do I REALLY want this?” If not, skip it. You’ll be helping keep landfills from filling up as quickly as well as saving money and saving yourself some clutter to care for. The more stuff that you own, the more your stuff owns you.

47. Shop local whenever possible. Many areas have CSAs which are local organic farms that you can join. What is usually involved is that you prepay for your produce share for the year. You then pick up your produce at a certain location each week. You get a lot of produce for your money and it’s all green and organic.

48. Purchase items with the least amount of packaging.

49. When gift giving, unless you really know that someone would like something, buy them an electronic gift or a gift card so they can choose something they really want.

50. When buying a new car, choose the most fuel-efficient car. You will also save money on gas.

Every bit that we can do to help the environment counts. I hope that this article will encourage others to become more green.

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