An eco-friendly lifestyle doesn't need to be difficult or expensive. Even the smallest actions taken can cause significant improvement for the environment, as well as, your overall health. Here are some small, easy actions you can take to live greener.
The average US citizen uses between 50 and 100 gallons of water per day. Luckily, there are several ways to reduce water consumption on a personal level:
- Trim 2 minutes off of your showering time to reduce water usage by as much as 3,000 gallons per year.
- Turn off the faucet or shower when lathering soap, shaving or applying shampoo.
- Fix a dripping faucet or upgrade to affordable, water-efficient faucets and plumbing fixtures.
The garden is another great place to conserve water:
- Water outdoor plants in the morning or evening to reduce the effects of evaporation. The end result: you use less water to keep your plants happy.
- Use rain barrels to harness rainwater and store it for later use. Learn how to build one yourself.
- If you have pets, give excess bowl water to your plants or feed your plants with the water used after cleaning your fish tank.
Turn Off Your Lights
There are several ways for you to reduce your lighting energy use at home:
- Save money on lighting by reconfiguring rooms to take advantage of daylight. Some studies have shown that natural light is better for your eyes, health, and productivity.
- Remember to turn off lights when leaving a room, even if only for a short while.
- Upgrading to LED light bulbs is a great option that consumes less energy and pays for itself within a year.
- Install vacancy sensors in rooms like closets and bathrooms that will turn the lights off for you when you forget to.
- In the office, use task lighting instead of overhead lights to reduce energy consumption.
- If light switches have dimmers or multiple settings, using lower settings is often more pleasant for the eyes and saves considerable amounts of energy.
Reuse Paper Products
There are several ways you can help recycle paper on the home front:
- Make sure you check cardboard packaging to see if it's recyclable; there's a good chance that it is. Go a step further and buy in bulk or select products that don't use cardboard packaging.
- You can reuse paper bags from the grocery store. Most of them can make the trip several times and some stores offer discounts for reusable bags.
- Many stores, banks, and insurance companies now offer paperless options.
- Are you tired of getting bulky junk mail? Return the favor by sending unwanted catalogs and other mail back, or stop the wasteful act all together by requesting removal from mailing lists.
Each time you choose to purchase goods and services from environmentally conscious companies, you are helping ensure that these ideals thrive.
Turn Trash Into Treasure
There are many ways to turn the trash from your renovation projects into treasures. Several items can be repurposed or upcycled to make other useful things. For instance:
- Old floor boards can be turned into headboards, picture frames or table tops with minimal supplies and a little creativity.
- Building materials and old furniture can be donated to charities, thrift stores or resold at garage sales.
Whether its insulation made out of last year's news headlines, patio and sidewalk pavers made from old tires or worn out shoes transformed into playground surfaces, several of your projects can employ recycled materials.