Are you looking for some quick ideas on how to be more environmentally friendly this year? Here are 25 easy ways to make a positive impact on the planet, without making a noticeable impact on your wallet.
1. Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs in your home. If your budget is tight, consider replacing one for each paycheck. By the end of the year, you should have all of your bulbs replaced and a lower electricity bill.
2. Never collect another paper or plastic shopping bag again. Buy a cloth bag to use for smaller loads and recycle those plastic bags you already have around the house. Keep some bags by your front door, in your car, at work, or in a handbag as a reminder never to leave the house or work without your packing supplies. When you stop off to buy groceries or another item after work, you’ll be prepared.
3. Insulate your home in key areas. Add weather stripping around windows and doors. Wrap your water heater. Put plastic sheets around windows in the winter. Buy heavy drapes for windows particularly prone to drafts.
4. Consider organizing or joining a carpool to get to work or use public transportation. You’ll enjoy the company and feeling of camaraderie from a carpool that’s united in a cause and if using public transportation, get some exercise, too.
5. Use cloth products whenever possible. Use dish towels instead of paper towels, cloth napkins instead of paper and the old fashioned handkerchief instead of facial tissues.
6. Make an effort to use cloth diapers for your baby instead of plastic. If it’s a difficult concept for you, try using cloth during the day and plastic at night to start.
7. Invest in buying green cleaning supplies for your home instead of the harsh chemical products you may be used to. If you’re on a strict budget, try one new product each month and by the end of the year, you will have replaced your old products with green products.
8. When getting money from an ATM machine, choose “No” when it asks if you want a receipt. You’ll save some trees and it will help you to be more disciplined in your budget and record-keeping as you’ll get in the habit of writing it all down in a timely way.
9. Make it a goal to never throw away used clothing, toys or workable household goods again. Give them away or sell them in a garage sale on-line or consignment shop.
10. Use power-strips on all your appliances and electronics. Turn them off everyday when you leave your home.
11. Unplug your cell phone charger everyday when you leave your home with your phone.
12. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
13. Buy solar lighting for outside areas.
14. Give gifts that are economically friendly. There are many businesses now that have thoughtful gifts, such as planting trees in someone’s name, getting rid of junk mail and environmentally friendly clothing.
15. When sending birthday or holiday cards to family and friends, send all cards electronically to those who have computer access. You will save some trees and have some extra cash to spare.
16. Review your city’s recycling rules and make sure you are not unnecessarily throwing something away. As the awareness expands on the need for recycling, the types of accepted items may also change, so it’s important to review it every year.
17. Support businesses that are environmentally friendly.
18. Create a compost in your back yard or even under your kitchen sink. There are businesses that sell composting worms for apartment dwellers.
19. Consider increasing your charitable giving this year by giving some or all to environmentally friendly causes.
20. Turn down your thermostat in the winter and up in the summer, and invest in a programmable thermostat.
21. Air dry clothes instead of using a clothes dryer.
22. Make sure laundry and dishwasher loads are full before using them.
23. Take an inventory of the chemicals you are putting on your lawn and consider looking at your lawn as a small child would. Help create a cleaner water supply by seeing the beauty in the natural “wild flowers” instead of looking at them as “weeds.” Whenever possible, use natural remedies for problem areas.
24. Urge your local, state and national government leaders to vote for natural beautification remedies and strategies for the community you live in. Become an advocate by emailing letters to key governmental officials for change.
25. Share this list with family, friends and colleagues for a greener planet Earth!
Barbara A. Clark has been a professional in higher education for over 25 years. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Iowa and completed all course requirements for a Ph.D in International Comparative Education before several life-changing events interrupted her studies. It was during the interruption that Barbara discovered her passion for service to the world through love and intention. She is passionate about her new journey as “The Spirited Strider,” serving the world in love, one step at a time.