Wednesday, August 13, 2014

187 Simple Ways to Go Green

187 Simple Ways to Go Green

The idea of making green lifestyle changes may be unfamiliar territory to some. Even the phrase "going green" may conjure images of things like off-grid living, reliance on only solar or wind power, vegan diets, or insistence on purchasing organic everything – which may seem extreme.
However, even the smallest changes in your daily habits – like not leaving the faucet on as long or turning off electronics when you're done with them – will make a difference. Here is a list of nearly 200 suggestions for things you could do to live a little greener.
Photo by Flickr user Anton Fomkin.

1. Rely on natural lighting as long as you can around the house before you turn the lights on.
2. Install a skylight to increase the amount of natural light in your home.
3. Ditch any incandescent light bulbs and replace them with energy efficient alternatives.
4. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
5. Install dimmer switches.
Photo by Flickr user Scott Feldstein.

6. Fix leaky faucets or toilets.
7. Use low-flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets.
8. Take showers instead of baths to conserve water.
9. Take shorter showers.
10. If you take baths, afterward use the water on your houseplants or garden.
11. Turn off the water when you shave or brush your teeth.
Appliances & Electronics
Photo by Flickr user Alejandro De La Cruz.

12. Replace old, inefficient appliances.
14. Use a microwave or toaster oven to prepare small meals.
15. Don’t open the oven while something is cooking.
16. Use the right size pot when cooking on your stove, or consider an induction cooktop.
17. Dust the coils underneath and on the back of your fridge to help it run more efficiently.
18. Decide what you want to eat before you open the fridge.
20. Use an electric shaver or a razor with replaceable blades.
23. Don’t charge your cell phone overnight.
24. Use power strips.
25. Turn off or unplug electronics, appliances, or chargers when they are not in use.
Heating & Cooling
Photo by Flickr user Steve Johnson.

26. Paint your house a light color in warm climates or a dark color in cold climates.
27. Set your thermostat to a slightly warmer setting in the summer and slightly cooler setting in the winter.
28. Close the curtains in the summer, and leave them open in the winter.
29. Install a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature when you’re away from home.
30. Install ceiling fans for improved air circulation.
31. Cool off with a window fan instead of an air conditioner.
32. When you can, open a window to cool off your home.
33. Wear extra layers before you resort to turning up the heat.
34. Install energy efficient double pane windows.
35. Replace furnace filters regularly.
37. Close heating and cooling vents in unused rooms.
Home Air & Insulation
Photo by Flickr user Mark Tighe.

39. Insulate the walls.
40. Weatherstrip your doors.
41. Seal air leaks in your home with caulk.
42. Be sure your pipes and water heater are well-insulated.
43. Use air filters to improve indoor air quality.
44. Decorate with plants.
45. Use candles instead of air freshener.
Food & Drink
Photo by Flickr user Shanna Trim.

46. Make a meal plan to avoid wasting food.
47. Eat at home instead of going out.
48. Prepare meatless meals more often.
49. Buy your produce from local farmers.
50. Eat fresh fruits and veggies rather than canned.
51. Eat foods in season.
52. Buy fewer frozen dinners.
53. Store foods in glass containers instead of plastic.
54. Don’t defrost foods with water.
56. When you eat, use real dishes and silverware instead of disposable.
58. Reuse tea bags before you throw them out.
60. Do not buy bottled water.
61. Invest in reusable water bottles.
62. Get a water filter for your faucet.
63. Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge instead of running the tap until the water gets cold.
64. Don’t use plastic straws in your drinks.
Photo by Flickr user Christian Haugen.

66. Scrape dishes rather than rinsing them before putting them in the dishwasher.
67. Run full dishwasher loads.
68. Air dry your dishes instead of using the dry cycle.
69. Wash only full loads of laundry.
70. Use a little less detergent than what’s recommended.
71. Wash your clothes in cold water.
72. Hand wash any delicate clothing items instead of dry cleaning.
73. Clean out the lint screen in your dryer after each load.
74. Add dryer balls to your dryer.
75. Hang up your laundry to air-dry.
76. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
77. Use non-toxic cleaning products.
78. Make your own eco-friendly cleaners.
79. Use rags instead of paper towels to wipe up spills.
Waste & Decluttering
Photo by Flickr user Dave Goodman.

80. Recycle as much waste as you can – paper, plastic, glass, etc.
81. Recycle old batteries.
82. Recycle ink and toner cartridges.

84. Turn trash into craft projects.
85. Repurpose items whenever you can.
86. Snip plastic 6-pack rings.
87. Only put out full garbage bags.
88. Make use of sites like Freecycle or Craiglist when getting rid of unwanted items.
89. Donate to places like Salvation Army or Goodwill.
90. Donate old cell phones.
91. Host a yard sale.
92. Organize a clothing swap.
Photo by Flickr user Sharon Mollerus.

94. Strategically plant shade trees around your home.
95. Sweep outside instead of using a hose.
96. Rake your yard instead of using a leaf blower.
97. Collect rainwater to water your houseplants, lawn, and garden.
98. Water your lawn and plants early in the morning when the air is cool to cut down on evaporation.
99. Use a watering can instead of a hose.
100. Plant native plants in your garden that require less fertilizer and pesticides.
102. Start a vegetable or herb garden.
103. Avoid using pesticides in your garden.
104. Pull weeds yourself or use a natural herbicide to get rid of them.
106. Put up a bird house to attract bug-eating birds.
107. Start a compost bin or compost pile in your backyard.
108. Don’t litter.
109. Pick up litter when you see it.
Photo by Flickr user Alain Gavillet.

110. Own a light-colored car.
111. Consider tinted windows.
112. Drive the speed limit.
113. Keep your tires well-inflated to save gas and extend their life.
114. Clean out your car and trunk to reduce unnecessary weight.
115. Replace the air filters in your car regularly.
116. Get regular tune-ups on your car to avoid wear & tear and save gas.
117. Use a commercial car wash instead of washing your car yourself.
118. Turn off your car instead of letting it idle.
119. If the line at the drive-thru is too long, park your car and go in to order.
120. Schedule all your errands for the same day so you only make one trip per week.
121. Switch to a hybrid car.
122. Carpool with a friend or neighbor.
123. Ride a bike.
124. Make use of public transportation.
125. Walk to your destination.
Photo by Flickr user Annie Mole.

126. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
127. Buy frequently-used items in bulk.
128. Buy products that use recycled materials or are recyclable whenever possible.
129. Buy concentrated products (e.g. fruit juice, laundry detergent, fabric softener).
130. Avoid buying from dollar stores.
131. Don’t buy products with an excess of packaging.
132. Avoid buying aerosol spray cans.
133. Choose paper instead of plastic when getting your items bagged.
134. Invest in cloth shopping bags.
135. Reuse any plastic bags you do get.
136. Shop at thrift or secondhand stores – especially for children’s clothes.
137. Check items online to see if you can buy them gently used instead of new.
138. Shop for groceries online.
Photo by Flickr user khrawlings.

140. Take advantage of tax credits on energy efficient items.
141. Seek out rebates on ENERGY STAR appliances.
142. Do your banking online instead of being mailed statements.
143. Pay your bills online.
144. File your taxes electronically.
145. Ask your employer if you can have your paycheck directly deposited.
Going Paperless
Photo by Flickr user Hobvias Sudoneighm.

146. Read newspapers and magazines online.
147. Buy e-books instead of print copies.
148. Send electronic invitations instead of snail mail.
149. Send e-cards instead of purchasing paper cards.
150. Opt out of receiving phone books or Yellow Pages.
151. Remove yourself from junk mail lists.
152. Use cloth napkins instead of paper.
153. Use cloth hand towels instead of paper towels.
Photo by Flickr user martinak15.

154. Download software instead of purchasing a disc.
155. Download or stream the music you want to listen to.
156. Download or stream movies and TV shows.
157. Borrow books from libraries.
158. Entertain at home.
159. Take a staycation instead of traveling.
At Work
Photo courtesy of Campaign Monitor.

160. Pack your lunch in reusable containers instead of plastic bags.
161. Print on both sides of the page.
162. Think before you print so you don't waste paper.
163. If you are able, telecommute or work at home.
Photo by Flickr user Steven Depolo.

165. Use eco-friendly beauty products.
166. Let your hair dry naturally after you wash it.
Photo by Flickr user verybadlady.

167. Use cloth diapers instead of disposable.
168. Make your own baby food.
169. Send kids to school with a lunchbox instead of a sack lunch.
Photo by Flickr user m01229.

170. Use newspaper to wrap presents.

Photo by Flickr user wonderlane.

174. Use bar soap instead of liquid hand soap.
175. Use mugs instead of Styrofoam or paper cups.
176. Cancel your landline.
177. Buy rechargeable batteries.
178. Use shredded paper instead of Styrofoam peanuts as packing material.
179. Run outside or in a gym instead of using a treadmill.
180. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
181. Use matches instead of disposable lighters.
182. Quit smoking – or don’t start.
183. Bring your own thermos to the gas station when you get coffee.
184. Use the air dryer instead of paper towels in public restrooms.
186. Use non-toxic paint.
187. Do not dump hazardous materials.
As you can see, going green isn't as difficult as you might think. There are plenty of simple changes you could make in your everyday life that make an impact. It all starts with doing the research, like reading this article or others like it! You might also consider taking a class or attending a seminar on going green.
Then go on to increase awareness about conservation and green alternatives to the people that you know. If you want to take it a step further, maybe even donate to environmental groups and causes. Each of us should do our part to protect this planet we share!

Which of the suggestions on the list have you already implemented in your everyday life? Were there any ideas you hadn't thought of before? Please share your thoughts in the comments below; I would love your feedback!
187 Simple Ways to Go Green by Sarah Marchant

This article is reposted from Geodeker's

SARAH BARNARD is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy’s board of directors and specializes in green interior design and historic preservation.