In honor of Earth Day I am making a concerted effort to up my “Green” efforts and thought I would share some easy ways we all can incorporate these simple tasks in our daily lives. Some I already do, some are on my “to do” list, but today I’ve decided to flip the switch (or rather, turn off the switch) to “Go Green” every day.
15 Ways to Go Green
- Switch to Fluorescent and LED lights – they use approximately 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. If you are afraid that eco-friendly lighting doesn’t provide the same warm ambiance as traditional bulbs, think again. Inhabitat shared a gallery of 24 green, designer lamps that go well with low energy LED bulbs. This pendant lamp (seen below) would be so much fun for a kid’s room. No matter your budget, you can find a “green” option when it comes to lighting.
- Walk, ride, or carpool to work and school. If you’re looking for a carpool buddy or rideshare, visit ridesearch.com or ridebuzz.org to get started.
- Remember to turn off the lights when you leave for the day and unplug your electronics when you aren’t using them – coffee pot, hair dryer, blender, lamps (40% of all electricity powers appliances that are off).
- Adjust your thermostat – consider a programmable thermostat and learn how to use it. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours in the winter can save you 5% to 15% a year (the reverse approach also applies in the summer months).
- Take reusable bags to the grocery store – I’m guilty! I have them but forget to bring them. Put them in the trunk of your car. This green chevron bag (seen below) can be monogrammed and wipes clean with a damp cloth.
- Fix your leaks and drippy faucets and take shorter showers; run less running water when you shower and wash dishes.
- Get your family involved in growing your own garden – learn which bugs are the “good” bugs and don’t kill them. Refer to this Eating Well article if it’s your first time starting a vegetable garden (includes a free pdf garden plan).
- Buy local because it saves on fuel, emission, pollution (most of the food we eat is grown and raised thousands of miles away). Localharvest.org maintains a helpful directory of local farmers markets and family farms across the U.S. for those who need to locate one.
- Don’t do laundry until you have a full load, and use warm or cold water (up to 90 percent of the cost of washing clothes comes from heating the water). When it’s time to replace your washing machine and/or dryer, look for the HE seal.
- Make something old new again – give away, donate, get creative and shop for vintage jewelry at antique and consignment stores instead of buying brand new pieces.
- Don’t toss your cell phone and technology. Recycle and if it still works, hand down to your kids.
- Ask about eco-friendly options on your next oil change and tune-up (Eco Power motor oil is a great option).
- Opt for stainless steel or other eco-friendly lunch box designs like these. The investment is greater at first but you’ll be reducing your waste significantly. Also scrap the plastic cups and start using a travel mug on your way to work.
- Look for fair trade coffee and chocolate. The Daily Earth shares 19 of their favorite organic and fair trade chocolates here.
- Switch from disposable diapers to cloth ones. I have a friend who started reluctantly doing this only 3 days a week and now has switched completely!
Bonus tip: Start a recycling program in your office. Office Depot shared 20 tips on “Going Green” in the office here for those ready to get started.
Happy Earth Day,