Are you ready to be a little greener, but maybe need a few simple eco-friendly lifestyle tips to get started? Well, you sure have come to the right place!
With global warming hitting the news in full force lately, people are realizing just how much our household choices are contributing to environmental changes. This year is on pace to become the warmest on record, followed by last year, and the year before that.
Until now, many people have been overwhelmed by the idea of adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle, either not knowing where to begin or thinking that all those eco-friendly products will cost a fortune. I hear you. What I’ve learned through the years is that being more environmentally aware tends to mean living a bit more simply, and in doing so you will actually save money, which can easily offset the few products which may cost more, and often will leave you with a surplus!
The truth is that it really comes back to those three R’s. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. As for where to begin, my best advice to you is to read over the list of simple eco-friendly lifestyle tips below, and start with the changes that seem the most effortless.
There’s no reason to be overwhelmed! If you’re ready to make some changes, you can use these simple eco-friendly lifestyle tips:
60 Easy Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Tips
1. Turn down your water heater. A standard hot water heater setting is approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Taking that down to 120 degrees could save you significantly on water heating costs.
2. Utilize natural light coming into your home during the daytime. There’s no need to turn on all the lights in a room if you can see one another! You could also open the curtains and keep windows unobstructed to allow light in. So easy, right?
3. If you can’t keep the lights off completely, consider installing dimmer switches to avoid wasting energy. They’re eco-friendly and will help to lower your electricity bill too.
4. When your current bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs. These do cost more up front, but they’ll save you money in the long term. LED bulbs reduce energy use, and they last significantly longer than conventional light bulbs, reducing pollution too.
5. Keep an eye on your thermostat. Try to set it a little bit higher in the summer and a few degrees cooler in the winter, especially during the hours of the day when you are not at home.
You can also consider purchasing a “smart” thermostat, such as these popular choices from the Nest or Honeywell. Our Nest thermostat has lowered our energy usage and reduced our bills by about $250 a year. Our first year’s savings offset the price of the unit.
6. Attic insulation (or a lack of it) can lead to a need for using more electricity to regulate the temperature in your home. So take a peak in the attic to see if it can be better insulated. If so, look for an eco-friendly brand and one that does not contain fiberglass.
7. Did you know that not only indoor plants can absorb carbon dioxide, but they can also absorb some of the toxins in your home? How neat is that? Consider a houseplant to clean the air in your home.
8. Plugged in appliances waste a lot of unnecessary electricity, so unplug what you are not using. You may see a nice difference in your electric bill from this tip too. The one that I always make certain to unplug is the washer and dryer.
9. When items in your home break, try to fix them before buying a new one. Check out the company website, look for directions or ask a representative for help. You can also do a search via Google or Youtube to see if your item is fixable.
10. When you do need to replace your appliances, look for ones that are energy-efficient. Those with an Energy Star label will use substantially less energy and could save you money in the long run as well.
11. Repair leaky faucets. (This is one of the simple eco-friendly lifestyle tips that I need to take care of in my own home right now.) Those little drops can waste gallons of water over the course of just one week, which isn’t good for the planet or for your water bill.
12. Speaking of water, let’s talk about drinking water, shall we? Bottled water expensive and generates an enormous amount of plastic waste. This country wastes billions of dollars on water and creates several millions tons of plastic in water bottles over the course of just one year. It’s one of the simplest lifestyle changes we can make, and if everyone did it the impact would be phenomenal!
You can install a water filter in your home to purify your tap water. There are amazing option
from Aquasana, from individual water bottles to whole house filters. Click Here to learn more.
In my home we also use the Aquagear water filter pitcher, which removes contaminants such as fluoride,
lead, chromium 6, chloramines, mercury, and chlorine. It was even tested in Flint, Michigan
for lead and copper reduction.
13. Keep your refrigerator full. Your fridge uses more energy to stay cool when there are fewer items in it, so if it’s getting near time to head to the supermarket, just put a few glass bottles of water in the fridge!
14. Use hand towels and cloth napkins rather than paper. This super simple change will save trees, use less energy, and keep more money in your wallet over time.
15. If you like to meal plan, consider batch cooking instead of turning on the oven each night. Make a few meals at once. When making smaller meals, use your toaster oven instead of the conventional oven, which uses less energy. You can also turn off the oven a few minutes before your meals or baked goods are ready, which allows the food to continue cooking while also saving energy. This little trick works with the stove too.
16. Get yourself a pressure cooker, which can use significantly less energy than a conventional oven. Pressure cooker recipes are all the rage right now, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a meal that your family loves!
17. Consider what you’re eating. Look for foods with minimal chemicals and processing, as well as those that are organic and GMO-free. They’re better for the environment, and for your health! Also choose items that are locally grown as they require less fossil fuels to get from the farm to your table. Join a CSA, start a garden in your yard, or follow these tips for eating organic on a budget.
18. Make a few meatless meals every week. Meat production is extremely taxing on the earth, and creates an amount of carbon waste. When you do purchase meat, look for animals that are treated humanely and fed organically.
19. Always wash a full load of dishes. Running a partial load is a huge waste of both water and electricity.
20. Speaking of water waste, focus on taking shorter baths and showers. (When my kids were young, we told them that the faster they get clean, the more water would be left for the fish to swim. It was a relatable way for them to reduce their tub time.) A tremendous amount of water can be saved each year by not wasting time letting the shower water run. Also consider taking colder showers, as research shows that (in addition to saving electricity) they are much healthier for you!
21. Shut off the water while you brush your teeth and for the guys, while shaving your face. (I wish my husband would do a better job at this one.) It’s really very easy to do, when you are being conscious of it!
22. Installing a low-flow showerhead can save tons of wasted water. When these showerheads first hit the market they were on the pricier side, but not anymore!
23. Use PVC-free shower curtains and curtain liners, since PVC releases toxic chemicals into the air in your home. Hopefully, one day there will no longer be shower curtains with PVC in stores at all.
24. Forget those sprays that are supposed to enhance the smell of your bathroom, along with those scented doo-dads into the wall. Those generally just release chemicals into the air with their potent odor.
25. Built up lint in the dryer translates to more electricity needed to get your clothes dry. You can prevent this by cleaning out the dryer vent often. Be sure to vacuum deep inside.
26. When purchasing a new washer and dryer, consider this. A front-loader washing machines use less water and energy than top-loading washing machines. Remember to choose an Energy Star compliant washer and dryer.
27. We used to believe that it was best to wash clothes in hot water. However, most washing machines do just as good of a job getting clothes clean in cold water, and cold uses significantly less energy. In fact, the majority of energy used by a washing machine is for heating water.
28. Always wash a full load of laundry instead of several smaller loads. A tremendous amount of water and energy is wasted when washing a partial load.
29. Place a BPA-free plastic milk or water jug filled with rocks in your toilet tank. This will help you to save water each time you flush the toilet. Easy peasy!
30. Contrary to the marketing ploy, “clean” is not a smell. Use eco-friendly and toxin-free cleaning supplies whenever possible, as they won’t release harmful chemicals into your home. There are more and more great brands popping up in stores every day, which is keeping the prices more competitive. And they’re worth it. Likewise, use a microfiber duster to clean your home rather than paper towels.
31. Stop throwing recyclable items in your regular garbage can! Almost every municipality in the country has recycling programs, and many schools have large recycling bins in their parking lots. Recycling can go beyond paper, glass, and plastic too. You can recycle plastic bags at your local supermarket, and even bring hangers back to the dry cleaner. Other items such as paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, and washed out milk cartons can be donated to schools for craft projects. Recycling is easy to do and can have an enormous environmental impact.
32. We spoke earlier about cloth napkins, but cloth diapers are also making a big comeback. (Though I completely understand where this tip may be too much for many readers. I’ve been there too.) Many conventional diapers made from potentially harmful chemicals, which can end up on your baby and then in landfills. In all honesty, neither option sounds particularly pleasant.
33. Before you check out at the grocery store, take a scan of your shopping cart. Are there any items in there that you can switch from conventional products to more natural alternatives?
34. Stop using plastic bags. If you can carry the item yourself or fit it in a purse, then do not accept a plastic bag. Take reusable bags with you to the grocery store. Plastic bags take an enormous amount of time to break down, and they often end up in oceans where they are hazardous to marine life.
35. Reuse glass or BPA-free water bottles rather than purchasing plastic bottles. Plastic water bottles are one of the worst waste offenders on the market today.
36. Stop using straws and coffee stirrers. They are an enormous waste of plastic, and terrible for the environment.
37. Get rid of plastics all together. Instead us glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers for storing food and other items.
38. Clean out your car. Trekking around with fewer items in your car means that it will weigh less, thus using less fuel. Less fuel is better for both the environment and your wallet.
39. Going to the same place as a friend or neighbor? Then go together or set up a carpool. Not only will it save you money on gas, fewer cars on the road translates to less carbon emissions. Better yet, walk or ride your bike when you can!
40. When you have that coat or suit that must be professionally cleaned, look for a green dry cleaner near you. You can also or items to be returned without that clear plastic covering! Additionally, most dry cleaners will take back hangers to be reused or recycled.
41. Look for eco-friendly, low VOC paint, which releases significantly fewer chemicals into your home than conventional paint.
42. Cover your pool when it’s not in use. This will keep water from evaporating and keep the pool cleaner. Covering the pool, especially with a solar cover, will also reduce the need to run the pool’s heater.
43. When purchasing new sofas, loveseats, chairs and mattresses, look for ones that do not contain flame retardant chemicals. Some foam carpet padding contains flame retardant chemicals too. Some of these chemicals have been linked to reduced fertility, birth defects, hyperactivity, hormonal disruptions, diminished IQ and even cancer. Ask questions of your retailer and be aware of what you are purchasing.
44. When working at home on your laptop, unplug it from the wall. Let it run on the battery so you can conserve energy use. Set your computer’s monitor to power off rather than go to a screen saver. Making this one change can reduce the amount of energy needed to run your pc.
45. There are times when you will just have to use paper. If you work from home (or even if you don’t), purchase environmentally friendly paper. You can buy chlorine-free paper and/or recycled paper.
46. When you do need to print, use wider margins and smaller font, so that you can get as much printed on on sheet of paper as possible. Also, print on double-sided paper. Use scrap paper before taking out a new sheet to write on.
47. Recycle ink cartridges and toner cartridges. Some stores even give you a credit for returning them. You can also purchase recycled ink and toner cartridges rather than buying new.
48. Stop buying wrapping paper. Instead create your own wrapping paper by using what you may have on hand, such as magazine pages, newspapers, catalogs, or brown grocery bags. You can also create a very special wrap by repurposing your children’s drawings and paintings. Get creative!
49. Make your own holiday decorations! Reuse materials to create special memories and decorations that can be displayed in your home from year to year.
50. Buy LED holiday lights. They will last longer and use less electricity, saving your money that can be put towards presents! Get a Christmas tree and wreath that is eco-friendly chemical-free. Why bring all those toxins in your house, especially during the holiday season? In addition to chemical-free trees, you can also purchase a tree that is capable of being planted after use in your home. Don’t ditch your tree. Recycle it instead.
51. Give eco-friendly gifts. Look for items that are chemical-free, made from sustainable materials, or simply made with minimal impact on the environment. If your must bring a bouquet of flowers, get an organic bouquet. You can also consider gifts that give back or make a charitable donation in your recipient’s name.
52. Consider buying items secondhand. Head to a store, buy from a yard sale, or trade with friends. The items will still be new to you! Likewise, be sure to donate clothing, accessories and other items which may be a perfect fit for someone else.
53. Save trees when you read. Head to the library, borrow from a friend, or download them to your pc, laptop, or reader.
54. Pay bills online. Not only does this reduce the need for paper, it also lowers your spending on stamps and gas needed to get your bill to the recipient. The same goes for greeting cards. You can also keep your calendar, to-do list, and notes digitally rather than on paper. You may even want to send your child’s teacher an email rather than a handwritten paper note.
55. Cancel junk mail and neighborhood flyers, even if you did not subscribe to them. Actually, do this especially if you did not subscribe to them.
56. And getting back to the trees, consider planting some. I’m a huge fan of the Arbor Day Foundation, the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with over one million members, supporters, and valued partners.
57. Borrow other items that you will only need once or twice rather than purchasing them. Reduce, remember?
58. When you travel, look for hotels that take the environment seriously, such as those that use local fare, recycled materials, rainwater, and hotels with green initiatives. Click here for a list of the top eco-friendly hotels in the United States.
59. Recycle cell phones and other technology. Several electronics stores, police stations, and even charities will gladly take used electronics items. Donating and recycling these items reduces the risk of mercury, cadmium and lead from ending up in landfills. If you are not going to recycle them, be sure to learn the proper ways to dispose of hazardous waste like electronics or chemicals.
60. Shop at socially responsible retailers, both online and in-store. Encourage the stores you shop at to carry eco-friendly items.
There are tons of simple eco-friendly lifestyle tips that you can easily begin doing right now!
Becoming more eco-friendly is really about consuming less, reusing more, and making a conscious effort to reduce waste. That goes for toxins and chemicals as well as reducing unnecessary items, food, water, and electricity use.
All you have to do now is get started.
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