60 Simple, Affordable Ideas to Go Green Now
A lot of people are daunted by the idea of “going green” as it may seem like one would need to make sweeping lifestyle changes to be able to make a difference. Fortunately, that’s not the case. The idea of going green can be as simple as remembering to switch the lights off or making environmentally-friendly choices when purchasing consumer products. In this article, we highlight many simple and affordable ideas you could apply to your lifestyle to go green starting today. Don’t delay and play your part in saving the environment.
Ideas for Going Green at Home
1. Lights Off
Get into the habit of turning off the lights if you are leaving the room for longer than a few minutes.
2. Cord Connectors
Connect your electronic devices to one UL-certified power cord. This will allow you to easily switch off all the devices before you go to bed.
3. Brushing Teeth
Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. According to an article by NCSU’s Sustainability Office, doing so could help save up to 200 gallons of water per month.
4. Shorter Showers
Opt for a shower, instead of a bath. Try and limit your showers to five minutes or less. This could help save hundreds of gallons of water per month.
5. Recycling Bottles
Collect plastic bottles and aluminium cans. Some states in the US allow you to redeem cash for them. The Bottle Bill is also a great way to educate young children on conservation and recycling.
6. Efficient Fridges
Clean off the dust that accumulates on the refrigerator coils. Cleaning it helps the appliance run more efficiently and use up less energy.
7. Handling Batteries
Don’t throw dead batteries into the trash. There are proper ways of disposing batteries. For example, lithium-ion batteries used by devices like phones should be taken to a battery recycling center.
8. Work those Legs
Take the stairs if you are only moving up or down a few floors. Stair climbing can add up and make a good contribution to your daily workout as well.
9. Nature-Friendly Products
Switch to chemical-free cleaning products. You can even make your own using ingredients like baking soda and essential oil.
10. Add those Layers
Consider wearing an extra sweater first before turning on the heater. Personal space heaters are considered one of the most inefficient appliances at home.
11. Go Paperless
If your bank or credit card issuer provides the option then go paperless and switch to online statements.
12. Efficient Bulbs
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs, which could reduce energy usage by up to 75% when compared to traditional bulbs.
13. Handling Responsibilities
Living with your adult children who aren’t playing their part to go green? Put them in charge of paying the utility bill.
14. Handling Food Waste
Compost kitchen waste instead of throwing them into the trash. Composting can be done indoors and outdoors.
15. Ceiling Fans
Make sure the fans run in a fast counter-clockwise direction during the summer, and in a slow clockwise direction during the winter. Changing the fan direction helps with hot/cold air distribution.
16. Automate Your Home
Set your thermostat to AUTO and not ON. Running the fan 24/7 will add a lot of $$$ to your electricity bill.
17. Unsolicited Mails
An average of 41 pounds of junk mail are sent to every US adult per year. Imagine the amount of trees destroyed to produce them. Use CatalogChoice or the FTC’s OptOutPrescreen to reduce the clutter.
18. Donate or Give Away
Did you just go on a purging spree? Try and give away or donate any items that still have value, instead of throwing them straight into the trash.
#19. Rechargeable Batteries
Using rechargeable batteries helps save money and conserve resources. The metals and chemicals from single-use batteries can have a degrading impact on the environment.
#20. Coat Hangers
Don’t throw away the coat hangers. Give them away using services like Craigslist. Stores like dry cleaners will most likely accept them as well.
Follow the principles of xeriscaping to reduce the need for supplemental water in your garden. For example, grow more drought-tolerant plants and cover the soil surface with things like mulch to help retain soil moisture.
22. Washing Machine
Use a cold or warm water setting for the washing machine. Did you know that heating accounts for almost 85-90% of energy used by washing machines?
23. Less Beef
Reduce the amount of beef you consume on a weekly basis. According to this article, a lot of energy (31.5kWh) goes into producing a pound of beef.
24. Safe Tap Water
Start to drink more tap water and less bottled water if it is safe to do so in your area. Bottled water generates a ton of container waste and costs a lot over the long-term.
25. Invest for the Long-Term
In some cases, it makes sense to invest more money for a higher-quality product that will last longer than a cheap one that you would have to replace often. This will also help with reducing waste.
26. Harvest Rain
Collect rain water using objects like rain barrels and use it to water your houseplants and garden.
27. Stop the Leaks
Make sure you fix any leaking faucets at home. According to the EPA, average household’s leak can account for greater than 10,000 gallons of water per year!
28. Paying Your Bills
Pay your utility bills online. According to eBill Place, we can reduce solid waste in U.S. Landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year if everyone used online bill pay.
29. Charging Overnight
Don’t charge your smartphones and tablets overnight! These devices typically only need a few hours to reach full battery.
30. Refrigerator Temperature
Stick an appliance thermometer inside the fridge overnight. If the temperature is lower than 37 degrees F then adjust the settings so it isn’t colder than necessary.
31. Upgrade Insulation
Adding Home insulation is a great way to improve the comfort of your living environment, while also reducing utility bills over the long-run. Insulation can be done in a number of ways like adding thermal shades and wrapping the hot water tank.
32. Avoid the Preheat
Oven preheating is not something that’s absolutely necessary for many dishes. Consider using a microwave if you need to re-heat any leftover food.
33. Seal Them Up
Stick a piece of paper between the seal and the fridge then close the door. If you don’t feel a lot of tension as you try to pull the paper out then that means the seal isn’t working properly.
34. Move Away from Sunlight
Make sure the fridge is not situated in an area that receives direct sunlight. For every degree above 70 degrees, your fridge uses up 2.5% more energy so don’t expose it to unnecessary heat.
35. Toilet Leaks
Pour a bit of food coloring into the toilet tank. If some of that coloring starts to seep into the bowl then you are dealing with a leaking toilet. Call a professional to help replace the flapper.
36. A Full Load
Only use the dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load. These appliances use up more energy when there are fewer things in them.
37. Food Delivery
Ordering food for delivery? Tell the restaurant that you won’t need the plastic utensils and napkins.
38. Dry Outside
Get a clothes rack to dry your clothes. Air drying helps your clothes last longer. You know all that lint you take out from the dryer is actually part of the clothes right?
39. Grow Your Own Greens
Indoor plants can provide a lot of great benefits such as acting as natural air purifiers, and helping absorb harmful pollutants from common household objects.
40. Household Appliances
Look for the “Energy Star-Qualified” label when you buy household appliances. Products receive this label if it meets the energy efficiency requirements set by the EPA.
Ideas for Going Green at Work or in the Office
41. Double Up
Print on both sides of the paper if it is an absolute must to print out the office material. Avoid using color ink unless it is absolutely necessary.
42. Personal Mug
Stop using multiple plastic cups at work. Bring your own mug with you to refill on any beverages or refreshments.
Reduce the environmental effects of commuting by discussing with your whether you can work-from-home for a few days per month. Telecommuting is known to have productive benefits.
44. Arctic in the Office
If your office feels like the arctic and most of your colleagues agree with you then consider approaching management to reduce air conditioning in the office space.
45. Lunch Time
If you pack your lunch on a regular basis then get a reusable container, instead of using paper bags, foils etc.
46. Internal Notes
Write a lot of notes of during internal meetings? Consider collecting and using scrap paper for that purpose.
47. Office Plants
Offices aren’t generally the best of places to grow things but there are plenty of office plants like rubber plants that will help eliminate unwanted air pollutants.
48. File Sharing
If your office doesn’t have a reliable to share office materials then consider using services like DropBox or Google Drive. This reduces the need to print out further materials.
49. Conference Rooms
Make sure all the lights are turned off when you are done using a conference room or a meeting room.
50. Start a Green Committee
Start a committee at work to help push for environmental awareness in the office. This is also a great opportunity to showcase your leadership to senior management.
51. Carpooling with Colleagues
Set up a carpooling incentive program at work to encourage employees to share rides. Incentives could include free parking, prioritized parking spaces, and more.
52. Use Laptops
Get a laptop the next time you need to purchase a new office computer. Laptops consume up to 80% less energy than desktop computers.
Ideas for Going Green Outside
53. No Plastic Bags
Bring your own reusable bag or cart whenever you go grocery shopping. Many stores and supermarkets are playing their part as well by no longer offering free plastic bags to customers.
54. Multiple Errands
If you need to run multiple errands throughout the day then try and schedule them back-to-back to save on gas.
55. Car Junk
Get rid of any junk in your car trunk. The extra weight reduces your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
56. Cruise Control
Turn on cruise control, especially if you are driving on a highway. Cruise control helps maintain fuel efficiency by helping your vehicle move at a constant speed.
57. Avoid Air Conditioning
Unless it’s absolutely burning outside, avoid the temptation to turn on the air conditioner. Roll down the car windows instead.
58. Replace Air Filters
Replace your car’s air filters if they are clogged with dirt and dust. A clean air filter helps your car’s performance and acceleration.
59. Tire pressure
Vehicles with deflated tires requires more energy to move and maintain speed. Get better vehicle mileage by getting your tire pressure checked on a regular basis.
60. Bike or Walk
Stop taking the car if your destination is only a few blocks away. Add more healthy exercise to your daily routine by walking or cycling.
Published on November 30, 2016 by Sam Choan.