50 ways to live greener…

Go Green Sign

Despite the incredible temptation to have some fun with the old Paul Simon song, we decided to play it straight and go for a simple list. So, without further ado, here it is! Fifty simple ways to get a little green in your life.

  1. Fill ‘er up – only run your dishwasher or washing machine with full loads. Depending on your current laundry and dish loads, it can save up to 1,000 gallons of water each month.
  2. Get cold – doing your laundry in cold water means you’re not having to heat the wash water.
  3. Hang it up – use a clothesline, or a drying rack indoors to dry clothes instead of putting them in the dryer.
  4. Use a bowl – wash fruits and veggies in a bowl of water instead of letting the faucet run.
  5. Go low flow – on showerheads and toilets. This one is especially important if your toilets or showerheads are older (pre-1992).
  6. Skip the disposal – instead of running fruit and vegetable scraps down the drain, or tossing them in the trash, toss them in a compost bin.
  7. Check your aim – on your sprinklers, that is. Adjust your sprinklers so they only water the plants, not the house, sidewalk or streets.
  8. Be an early bird – or a night owl. Do your yard watering in the early morning, or in the evening when temperatures are cooler, and sunlight less intense to minimize evaporation.
  9. Take a minute – shorten your shower by just one minute and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  10. Reuse it – designate one glass or water bottle each day and use it over and over rather than reaching for a new glass each time you want a drink.
  11. Wrap it up – add insulation to your hot water pipes and tank. You’ll get hot water at the tap a lot faster and save energy as well.
  12. Stop the flow – turn off the water while you: brush your teeth, wash your hair, shave, etc. It’s amazing how much water you can prevent from going down the drain!
  13. Kill the vampires – put a stake in energy vampires like phone charges and small appliances by unplugging them, or plugging them into a power strip and turning it off.
  14. Recycle – if you aren’t already, start. If you already are, start recycling more. It’s a simple method to make a huge impact.
  15. Change the numbers – on your thermostat. Set your thermostat a little warmer in summer and a little cooler in summer.
  16. Light it up – switch at least one bulb to a compact fluorescent (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) and cash in on the savings. The more bulbs you switch out, the better your savings will be.
  17. Go vegetarian – Just a little bit. Reduce the amount of meat, especially red meat, in your daily diet and opt for a vegetarian meal once a week.
  18. Shop local – search out your neighborhood farmer’s markets or farm stands. Organic produce that was trucked from 5 states away isn’t the greenest option.
  19. Toss the plastic bottles – in the recycling bin and opt for filtered water and reusable bottles instead.
  20. Go vintage – clothes, cars, accessories, and more. Vintage is cool, saves you money and means less is being produced.
  21. Become a borrower – get a library card and check out a book or movie rather than buying it. Get to know your neighbors and work out a plan to borrow power tools and other large equipment.
  22. Turn your thumb green – plant an herb garden or grow some tomatoes. It’s a great reminder of where our food comes from, is guaranteed pesticide free and nothing tastes as good as a homegrown tomato!
  23. Bag it right – stop using disposable bags and get some cool reusable bags.
  24. Quit receiving bills – in the mail, that is. Go paperless on your bills and use electronic payments.
  25. Get a cuppa – when you buy your coffee, go for beans labeled “shade grown” and “fair trade.” That ensures the beans have the least environmental impact, while also providing for the workers who harvest the crop.
  26. Crumple the paper – give up the paper napkins and opt for cloth napkins instead. They’re more durable, produce less waste and they just look nicer.
  27. Game off – teach your kids (or yourself) to turn off both the TV and the game console when they’re done playing.
  28. Give up toxins – replace traditional, and chemically harsh, cleaning supplies with greener options. There are several commercial brands of green cleaners available, or go really green and make your own.
  29. Container it – pack your own lunch and replace the plastic wrap, baggies and brown bag with reusable, PBA-free containers and a thermal  lunch bag.
  30. Get sticky – give up non-stick cookware in favor of stainless steel or cast iron. A well-seasoned cast iron is almost as non-stick as Teflon and doesn’t come with the risk of toxic compounds being released into the air.
  31. Get smart – there are dozens of apps for iPhone and Droid that can help point the way to a greener path. Good Guide and Seafood Watch are just two of the must-have, easy-to-use apps.
  32. Use recycled paper – wipe noses, hands and other parts with tissue, paper towels and toilet paper made from recycled pulp to help conserve trees and preserve virgin forests.
  33. Get green energy – many US consumers have the option of purchasing green power from their utility company. Check it out and sign up!
  34. Buy less – if it’s broken, fix it. Reuse or repurpose what you already have. When you do have to buy something, look into buying used, or even renting or borrowing an item.
  35. Buy quality – when it comes time to make a purchase, opt for the best quality you can afford that way the item lasts as long as possible.
  36. Add some air – install aerators on your sink faucets. They will reduce water flow without making it feel like you’ve lost water pressure.
  37. Get a bucket – or a rain barrel. Collect rain water from roof runoff to water your garden and yard when it’s not raining and save it from going down the storm drain.
  38. Dodge the drafts – stuff a cylinder of fabric with old tee shirts, organic batting, or whatever other fabric/stuffing you have on hand. Put them in front of doors or windows to protect against a draft (this isn’t just for winter, it’s a great idea in summer months as well!)
  39. Seal ‘em up – clean, repair or replace the seals around windows and doors to keep drafts at a minimum.
  40. Go car free – walk, bike, take public transportation or car pool to reduce your need for a car. It saves on gas and reduces emissions.
  41. Go green – bring in some houseplants or plant a garden. Just add some living green stuff to your space. It’s good for you, and good for the environment, plus it looks great.
  42. Audit yourself – try a home energy audit to assess how much energy your home consumes and evaluate measures to make your home more energy efficient.
  43. Check your footprint – find out your total carbon footprint and get some tips for reducing your personal impact on the environment.
  44. Get rid of junk – mail, that is. Take steps to sign up on do-not-mail lists, opt out of catalogs and mailers, and recycle the ones that do come in.
  45. Offset yourself – consider purchasing a carbon offset, especially if you drive or travel a lot. They may sound strange, but carbon offsets are a great way to help finance environmentally-conscious projects.
  46. Donate instead of dispose – if what you are about to toss in the trash has life left in it, consider donating it instead of disposing of it. Instead, give it to a charitable organization or post on a website like Freecycle or Craigslist and keep it out of the landfill.
  47. Wash right – instead of washing your car in your driveway, go to a car wash that recycles and recirculates their water.
  48. Recharge! – switch to rechargeable batteries. Only a fraction of disposable alkaline batteries are recycled. Rechargeables are an up-front investment that will quickly pay for themselves.
  49. Embrace the critters – instead of pummeling your garden with chemical pesticides, encourage a natural process. Encourage birds to flock to your space, and ladybugs aren’t just cute, they’re voracious eaters of aphids.
  50. Share – give a green gift, share what you are doing to go green and why. We don’t mean preach the green gospel, we just mean, let people know what you believe in, and how you’re acting to support it.

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