1. Conserve Energy
Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and
a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and
Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your
older incandescent bulbs burn out.
Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a "smart"
power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts "phantom"
or "vampire" energy use.
Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as
85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes
to heating the water.
Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise
used during machine drying. If you must use a dryer, consider
adding dryer balls to cut drying time.
2. Conserve Water
Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower
your water and heating bills too.
Install a low-flow showerhead. They don't cost much, and the
water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These
inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping
water pressure high.
Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many
plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally
in your area.
3. Use Less Gas
Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs
while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your
risk of obesity.
Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or
move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could
save you money in the long term.
Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks
and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay
huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.
4. Eat Right
If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs
a lot at the store-and it's even more expensive when you consider
the related environmental and health costs.
Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy
whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money
in the local economy.
Watch videos about why local food and sustainable seafood
are so great.
Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain. This is especially
true for seafood.
5. Skip The Bottled Water
Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying
bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it
generates large amounts of container waste.
Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather
than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
6. Think Before You Buy
Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products.
Whether you've just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider
a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture,
appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops
for clothing and other everyday items.
When making purchases, make sure you know what's "Good
Stuff" and what isn't.
Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your
purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
7. Borrow Instead Of Buy
Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and
movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper
that goes into printing new books.
Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors
while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your
closet or garage.
8. Buy Smart
Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money
Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves
money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay
more now, but you'll be happy when you don't have to replace
items as frequently (and this means less waste!).
9. Keep Electronics Out Of The Trash
Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics
as long as possible.
Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste
contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental
Recycle your cell phone.
Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling
and hazardous waste collection event.
10. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning
products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple
ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not
to mention your indoor air quality.