Earth Day was yesterday, but our planet deserves more attention than on just one day! We all want to do our part to help protect our home, and sometimes the most obvious ways to go green get overlooked.
Here are 15 STUPID EASY things you can start doing at home and in the office right now to gain that Tree Hugger Badge you know you’ve been craving.
15. Cut Down on Shower Time – Every minute you spend in the shower can waste FIVE GALLONS of clean water. That’s five mega jugs of milk. I don’t drink milk but I can do the math.
14. Unplug Appliances You Aren’t Using – Most of us don’t microwave, toast, and/or brew every meal. Unplug appliances like coffee makers, lamps, televisions, microwaves and other energy sucking appliances when you’re done using them. It will lower your electricity bill by noticeable amounts.
13. Use Leftover Shopping Bags as Trash Liners – If you aren’t bringing your own reusable bag when you go shopping, put those plastic bags to use by making them garbage liners around your home or office. Buying garbage bags by the box can cost upwards of $9.00!
12. Flush One Less Time a Day – The phrase “If it’s yellow let it mellow” finally makes sense. One flush costs an average of 4.5 gallons of water to get that waste to disappear! That’s how much water the average person in Africa can use an in entire day to cook, bathe, drink and clean.
11. Recycle Old Magazines and Phone Books – Even in the age of Yelp, phone books manage to infest our doorstep endlessly. If you haven’t called to cancel your subscription, take a second to do so and make sure you recycle that throwback paper brick! Do the same with magazine subscriptions you no longer read, or donate them to a library.
10. Don’t Leave Your Car Idling – The Green Book* gave me a rude awakening about this little nugget of info… Idling your vehicle emits twenty times more pollution than a car driving 30 miles down Route 66. If 10% of Americans were to shut off their car as opposed to idling for even five minutes a day, we could save 84.5 MILLION gallons of gas a year!
9. Fill Up Reusable Water Bottles – Quit buying cases of Poland Springs and grab yourself a metal water bottle instead. If two out of three people refilled a water bottle rather than grabbing a new one, in a year we would save about as many plastic bottles as there are people in America. Do the same with coffee and tea mugs.
8. Bring Your Own Utensils To Work – Stop using plastic forks and knives to eat your lunch at work. Bring a set from home to save on spending and abusing plastics.
7. Opt Out of Paper Receipts – Grocery and convenience stores like CVS really love to dish out those long receipts with coupons you’ll probably never use. Lots of stores are offering to email your receipt or simply opt out next time you are asked if you would like one… (Especially if you are like me and plan to toss it out the second you leave the store!)
6. Reuse Linens and Towels When Traveling – When traveling and staying in hotels leave a note for the maid to only do the laundry every couple of days. You most likely don’t change your linens every day at home, so why is traveling any different? 40% of a hotel’s water usage goes to washing perfectly clean laundry each day.
5. Bring Your Lunch From Home – If everyone brought their lunch from home instead of ordering take out in the office, we could save over ten BILLION pounds of trash. Believe it or not that’s the weight of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. THE GREAT PYRAMID, people!
4. Print Double Sided – This is pretty self-explanatory and obviously you will cut your office paper consumption in half, which is handy when the other quarter ends up on the bottom of the recycle bin. If you have a say in the office supplies, ask for inkjet printers instead of laser printers. If everyone used inkjet printers we could save 5% of all home electricity in the US.
3. Shop at Local Farmers Markets – If you’re lucky enough to live in a community with a farmers market, take advantage of it! Shopping at farmers markets not only supports small business farmers, but also doesn’t use nearly as much in packaging or traveling wastes. On average, big name supermarkets can travel their food from 1,500 to 2,500 miles away!
2. Start Online Banking – We live in the golden age of technology; we may as well indulge in it. Go green with online banking by eliminating deposit slips and paper checks. Ask for your paycheck in direct deposit and transfer money to friends through mobile banking apps.
1. Start Walking Places!!- If you live in an area safe and accessible enough to walk places, then do it! Put on some music and take a leisurely stroll in the fresh air you are now doing so much to fight for. Or better yet- get a bicycle. Do whatever you can to cut down on the consumption of gasoline and feel satisfied that you are doing your part to protect this planet that we all love and share.
By Lori Gottlieb
*Eager to go greener in other aspects of your life? This article was inspired by “The Green Book; The Everyday Guide to Saving The Planet One Simple Step at a Time.” a New York Times Bestseller by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen. (My little Green Bible, if you will.)
- “The Empowerment Project: Extraordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things” – by Sarah Moshman
- “10 Easy DIY Projects” – By Lori Gottlieb
[main page photo credit: Dana Gray]