Sometimes “going green” gets a bad rap—the term conjures up images of hugging trees or major lifestyle changes. I’m not up for either of these, but I do want to be a good steward of the beautiful world God has given us.
Fortunately, there are many simple, painless ways to engage in green (or environmentally-friendly) living.
Easy ways to go green
1. Take advantage of curbside recycling. If curbside recycling is available in your community, then set aside your trash items that are recyclable and utilize the service. After all, rinsing out a milk jug and setting it in the recycle bin takes little effort more than it takes to toss the jug in the trash.
2. Reuse and upcycle. Before you toss something into the trash, consider if you can reuse it in some way. Not sure where to begin? Check out some useful ways to reuse the following items:
- Greeting cards
- Plastic milk jugs
- Prescription bottles
- Toilet paper and paper towel tubes
- Wire hangers
3. Bring your own bag. Utilize reusable grocery sacks when you shop. Remember to purchase high quality bags so you aren’t generating waste by frequently throwing out torn ones.
4. Unplug electronic items when not in use. The typical American house has 40 products that continuously draw power (cell phone charger, printer, DVD player, etc.). Your household’s energy use can be cut by as much as 10% if you unplug these items when you’re not using them. Read more on the significance of standby power here.
5. Install low-flow fixtures in bathrooms. High-efficiency aerators for faucets and flow restrictors on showerheads are relatively affordable and easy-to-install fixtures that significantly reduce household water consumption. Low-flow toilets are a little more pricy and require some knowledge and skill to install, but they will also reduce your water consumption if you’re able to utilize them.
6. Use all the food you buy. American households throw away about 25% of the food and beverages they buy. That’s a lot of food! Reduce your food waste by menu planning, making wise bulk purchases, and utilizing leftovers.
7. Run full loads. Hold off on running the dishwasher or clothes washer until you have full loads. According to the EPA, this will save the earth 100 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
8. Line dry clothes. If you have an outdoor clothesline, then take advantage of it. This saves energy and helps your clothes last longer. Don’t have a clothesline outdoors? Here are some tips for line drying clothes indoors.
9. Drive respectfully. It may sound trivial, but being respectful on the road can actually reduce how much gasoline you consume! Following the speed limit, braking at the proper distance, and not slamming on the gas can save you up to 33% on your gas mileage. Also, make sure your tires are properly inflated. This can improve your gas mileage by more than 3%.
10. Avoid bottled water. Plastic water bottles (about 493 per American) end up in U.S. landfills each year. Why waste money and generate trash when you can get quality water and convenient storage with a high quality water filter and reusable water bottles?
What other simple steps have you taken to go green?