1) Bring your own bags to the store:
Forget about paper and plastic… neither are a good alternative. Use durable cloth bags or totes made from recycled material and keep them in your car. Reuse the plastic produce bags leftover from when you were “not as green”… we all know they last a long time :).
2) Use Non-Toxic Household Cleaners:
Most conventional household cleaners are toxic to us and the environment. Either make your own using ingredients like water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and essential oils, or buy eco-friendly and biodegradable products by Seventh Generation, Biokleen, Life Tree, Naturally Clean etc.
3) Remove Yourself from Junk Mail Lists:
Each year, Junk mail produces more CO2 than 9 million cars. Save yourself time, protect billions of gallons of clean water and keep 100+ million trees in the forests. Contact 41pounds.org, ecocycle.org or directmail.com
4) Don’t Buy Water in Plastic Bottles:
Water in plastic bottles is very toxic for your inner environment and devastating to our outer environment – as well as your bank account for that matter. The petroleum based material in plastic bottles contains cancer producing toxins called phthalates, and other toxins that leach into the water. When you drink this water, your bloodstream becomes a cesspool of toxicity. Plastics take 10,000 plus years to breakdown, and 60 million plastic water bottles end up in landfills everyday. Bottled water costs more per gallon than gasoline. Just use a water filter and a reusable water bottle… glass bottles are safe as long as you don’t drop them!
5) Eat a Plant Based Diet:
One of the healthiest and greenest things we can do for our inner AND outer environment is to stop eating animal products or greatly reduce our consumption to once a week or on certain holidays! Meat consumption is one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution. For example, it requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef and The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that livestock waste has polluted more than 27,000 miles of rivers. There are pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in animal products, and Albert Levie in The Meat Handbooksays that over 70 animal diseases can be transmitted to humans through meat eating. Aside from that, the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals (as seen in the movie “Food Inc.”) is something to STOP contributing to asap. Yes, we can get enough protein from plant sources!
6) Brush Teeth Without Running Water:
We conserve up to 5 gallons a day when we turn off the water while brushing… that’s 1.5 billion gallons of water saved a day in the U.S!!
7) Buy Local:
Supporting our local economy and purchasing from local farmers and farmers markets whenever possible will help reduce greenhouse gases as compared to products that are flown, trucked or shipped in to our neighborhoods. Also, it’s fun to meet the neighbors and discover other supporters of the green lifestyle.
8) De-Clutter and Give it Away:
Before you throw your unwanted items in the trash, please consider giving them to someone else who may need it, donate to a charitable organization like goodwill or a homeless shelter, or post items on freecycle.org. Also re-think out of the box how you might re-use some of your items for something different instead of buying new products.
9) Organize a Clothing Swap:
How fun is this! Clean out your closets, find items in good condition, invite your friends and neighbors to do the same, and have a party or meet-up. Clothing swaps are a super fun way to change your wardrobe for free while connecting and sharing stories with others.
10) Pay Bills Online:
According to the PayItGreen Alliance, by paying bills online and receiving your bills electronically, every year your household can save 6.6 pounds of paper, save 0.079 trees, conserve 4.5 gallons of gasoline, avoid 63 gallons of waste water into the environment and avoid producing 171 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. WOW – such an easy small and effective step.
11) Celebrate Holidays in Less Commercialized Ways:
Get creative with “do it yourself” gifts including preparing delicious treats, knitting, making jewelry, bath and body oils, photo albums etc. These thoughtful gifts are heartfelt and go a long way to help the environment. Also support local artists, buy fair trade items or donate to a charity by purchasing their offerings. Save bows, ribbons, and wrapping paper for re-use! Wrinkled paper is in… and cool!
12) Green Your Transportation:
Walk, bike, take public transportation, carpool, skate, buy a used car or a fuel efficient car. Work from home when you can!