There are so many ways to add "eco-friendly" to your day. What small changes could you make to have less of an impact on the environment? Check out our tips for sustainable living.
Be More Efficient at Home
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. They may cost a little more, but each energy rated LED bulb will use 90% less energy than a standard bulb and last 15-25 times longer, saving $80 in electricity costs over its lifetime. Switching 16 incandescent light bulbs out for LED bulbs saves greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions from driving an average passenger vehicle 1000 miles.
- Preheat selectively. Ovens use no small amount of energy, so don’t heat yours for longer than necessary. If you’re roasting a chicken or baking cookies or pie crust, you’ll want to preheat. But for casseroles, lasagna and the like, or even a pot roast, put it in without preheating. If a toaster oven will do the trick, even better.
- Reverse your ceiling fan in winter. Look for the direction switch on the fan motor housing and flip it. (Turn off the fan first.) Reversing the fan so it turns clockwise creates an updraft. That sucks up cool air from near the floor and sends down warm air from near the ceiling, potentially allowing you to turn down the heat.
- Turn off the tap. Clean, drinkable water is one of the most precious commodities on the planet. To use less, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. This could save up to 4 gallons.
- Use less hot water. Run a cold water wash for your clothes, and take showers instead of baths, so you use less water (and less energy heating it).
- Next time you use a ride-sharing service, consider actually sharing a ride with someone. It will help reduce CO2 emissions, plus maybe you’ll meet someone interesting or learn something new.
- Ride your bike to work one day a week, or maybe to dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant. Worried about getting too sweaty? Look into an e-bike that can do a lot of the work for you.
- Buy used. Whether you need clothes, a cordless drill, a high chair for your toddler or a lacrosse stick for your teen, before you head to the store, see if there isn’t something used that fits the bill on a site like https://www.craigslist.org/, https://nextdoor.com/ or a local social media group. Or check out https://www.freecycle.org/ to see if someone’s giving one away for nothing.
- Take steps to reduce food waste. In addition to taking up space in a landfill, food waste in a landfill emits methane gas which contributes to global warming. Family of four eating out? Try ordering only three meals so no leftovers have to go home.
Prep and Pivot to reduce food waste
- Plan your meals in advance so you only buy what you need when you go shopping
- Prep perishable foods soon after shopping, and store in clear containers. It will make it easier to make meals later in the week, plus the clear containers may help avoid you forgetting about those brussel sprouts in the back of the fridge.
- Pivot produce that might be past its prime to a different use. It may still be fine for cooking in soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies
- Compost without the heap of effort. Whatever amount of food waste you are left with still takes up a surprising amount of landfill space and emits greenhouse gases. But composting can be a challenge if you don’t have the time, energy or backyard. One solution: Search online for a compost pickup service that will deliver a collection bin to your door and collect it when it’s full.
Up Your Recycling Game
- Look for the How2Recycle label on product packaging for simple instructions on what, how and where to recycle. You’ll be amazed at what you learn: often it is best to replace caps on bottles (since otherwise they are too small to be recovered at the recycling facility).
- We know you want to recycle as much as you can, but plastic bags, like grocery bags, produce bags, and other flexible plastic packaging should be dropped off at Store Drop-Off collection bins at any retail store with a plastic bag recycling bin. Go to https://how2recycle.info/sdo for more info!
- Don’t forget about recyclable items from rooms other than the kitchen, like the paper tube that is left over at the end of the toilet paper roll.