Celebrate Earth Day With These 25 Simple EcoFriendly Habits
The news swirling around climate change is disconcerting — and the problem seems so colossal that you might be wondering if you can make a difference. The answer is unequivocally yes. Everyone taking small steps can add up to a big change.
As Earth Day approaches, here are 25 simple ways anyone can make their home more eco-friendly — as a bonus, the majority of these tips will help you save money. Try a few each week and watch your carbon footprint (and likely your bills) shrink.
Around the house
1. Use natural cleaning products like white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon, rather than harsh chemicals.
2. Trade disposable paper towels for reusable cloths — just don’t forget to wash them frequently to keep germs at bay.
3. Store leftovers in glass containers rather than plastic wrap, foil, or baggies.
4. Hold a swap with your friends for clothing or household items rather than buying new.
5. Make it a habit to check out freecycle sites or resale platforms before buying something new. Then donate or sell your own goods on those sites to return the favor.
6. Move to paperless billing and ask to be removed from junk mail lists.
7. Make a weekly meal plan and shop with a grocery list so you don’t buy ingredients that will go to waste.
8. If you do have leftover produce or other perishables, search for a recipe that will use them up — try a site like SuperCook or Allrecipes for recipe recommendations.
9. Shop for your produce at a farmer’s market. The fewer miles your food has to travel, the better for the environment.
10. If you don’t have a farmer’s market nearby, ask your grocer which produce was sourced locally.
11. Try your hand at growing your own vegetables and herbs this summer.
12. Go meatless once a week or more — livestock is a large contributor to greenhouse gasses.
Out and about
13. Use a reusable water bottle, rather than buying plastic.
14. Bring your own mug to your favorite coffee place, assuming they let you use it.
15. Always carry reusable shopping bags (just be sure to wash them once in a while).
16. Bring a small reusable container to restaurants so you can tote home your own leftovers.
17. Keep reusable cutlery in your car or office desk rather than using disposable options for delivery or takeout.
18. Walk or ride your bike when safe for short errands.
Household energy zappers
19. Invest in a programmable thermostat, and set it to automatically adjust to a lower temperature (in winter) and a higher temperature (in summer) when you’re asleep or away from your home.
20. Set your thermostat a little lower than you’re used to (in winter) and put on a sweater — and then set it a little higher (in summer) and use a fan.
21. In the summer, open windows in the early mornings and evenings to cool your home, but close them during the heat of the day.
22. Wash your clothes in cold or warm water rather than hot.
23. Use energy-efficient appliances and only run full loads of dishes or clothes.
24. Take shorter showers.
25. Beware of “energy vampires,” which are devices that consume electricity when on standby, like your computer, phone charger, or toaster oven. A power strip makes it easy to turn them all off at once.
Finally, remember that of the “3Rs,” recycling comes after reducing and reusing. Make the first two your priority any time you can to do the most for our planet.
While you’re simplifying and saving money around the house, why not do the same with your home insurance? Some insurers might even offer discounts for green home improvements. Wondering what policy is best for you? Matic will compare policies for you to find the most affordable insurer. Answer a few simple questions and they’ll offer a customized quote.