20 Simple Ways to Be Green

By Monica Breeden

Protecting the environment doesn’t have to be a chore. Below is a list of easy and fun ways to be green without breaking the bank.

  1. The Lower the Better. Conserve your water. Begin by installing low-flow toilets and faucets with water-saving filters. These basic changes save both a great deal of water and money each month by reducing the number of gallons used per minute and per flush.
  2. Fill It Up. Do full loads of laundry and dishes.  Maximizing the number of dishes and clothes washed during each and every load significantly reduces both your energy and water costs.
  3. Take Shorter Showers. By limiting your daily shower to 10 minutes versus the standard 15, you can save eight gallons of water per day!
  4. Catch the Rain. Installing rain barrels in the backyard is an effortless way to be green. The rain water collected in the barrel can be used for watering plants, washing the car, and many more outdoor chores and activities.

    Photo credit:  www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com

    Photo credit: www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com

  5. Ditch the Plastic. Plastic water bottles are history. Approximately 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour! Use a reusable water bottle instead like those offered by Nalgene, Sigg or Klean Kanteen.
  6. Flip the Switch. Turn off lights when leaving a room.  Wasted energy can really add up when lights are left on in empty rooms.
  7. Pull the Plug. Small electronics should be unplugged when not in use. Items such as computers, televisions, and hair dryers all draw residual power even when not turned on.
  8. Look for Logos. When purchasing new appliances, choose ones that have the ENERGY STAR logo.  Appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR label are proven to save significantly more money and energy than standard ones.

    Photo credit: www.engerystar.gov

    Photo credit: www.engerystar.gov

  9. Light it Up. Replace common household light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) ones.  They last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and will save you an average of $30 over the bulb’s lifetime.
  10. Don’t Touch that Dial. Keeping your hands off the thermostat can save both money and energy.  Recommended settings for optimal efficiency are 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter.
  11. Clip It and Leave It. Leaving the grass clippings in the yard after each mow actually makes for a healthy lawn. The extra grass provides the soil with nutrients and keeps weeds from popping up as frequently.
  12. Deck the Walls. When choosing a new color for the walls, use paint with low volatile organic compounds (VOC).  This type of paint provides better air quality and safer alternatives compared to those containing harsh solvents.
  13. Support Your Local Farmers. Foods are shipped to large grocery chains from all over the world using gallons and gallons of fuel everyday.  Shopping for organic fruits and vegetables at your local markets is a great way to support community farmers while helping to protect the planet.
  14. Fido Can Be Green Too. There are many great products available for pets that are created with the environment in mind. Molly Mutt, a California based company, offers everything from natural dog shampoo to a stylish line of eco-friendly dog bed duvets.  Combining comfort and functionality, these unique covers are machine washable, allowing owners to keep their dog beds longer and out of the landfills.

    Photo credit: www.MollyMutt.Com

    Photo credit: www.MollyMutt.Com

  15. Recycle! Recycling plastic bottles, cans, and paper waste at home is a cinch. Most residential trash collecting companies offer special bins to separate items to be recycled. You can even make it fun by having a monthly contest to see who in the family can recycle the most.
  16. B.Y.O.B. Bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store saves countless paper and plastic bags from ending up in landfills and possibly polluting rivers and streams.  Personalized bags can be purchased online and most grocery stores also sell reusable bags to customers.
  17. Front and Back Please. Printing on both sides of the paper can reduce the numbers of pages needed and thus shrinks the numbers of trees cut down.
  18. Go Paperless. The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Paying bills online is a convenient way to eliminate stacks of paper waste and protects the environment at the same time.
  19. Make it Hybrid. When trading in the car, consider buying a hybrid. These cool cars offer fantastic fuel economy, lower emissions and require little motor and battery maintenance. Also remember that routine maintenance on your car such as replacing air filters, monitoring tire pressure, and filling up the gas tank at night all greatly reduce your impact on the environment.
  20. Bike It. Bike or walk to work or when running errands. Reducing your driving keeps pollution out of the air and offers you a great way to exercise at the same time.
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