Going green can feel like a difficult task, but even small changes make a big difference. From buying a few eco-friendly products for your home to changing the way you use energy, you can help save the earth, lower your power bill, and improve your health all at the same time. Here are ten easy ways to go green.
Switch off and unplug electronic devices. Appliances that are plugged in, even while not in use, are still drawing electricity. Make sure to unplug devices you're not using, and put your computer, TV, DVD player, and other electronics on a power strip that you can switch off at night. Changing your computer to sleep mode when you're away for more than 20 minutes will decrease the amount of energy it's drawing while idle.
Take shorter showers. Showers account for two-thirds of all water-heating costs. Try to shave a few minutes off your shower time, which will lower your utility bill and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from your home, and use low-flow showerheads. In addition, adjusting the temperature on your water heater to be just a few degrees lower will reduce the amount of energy you use.
Use energy-saving light bulbs. Switching from traditional to energy-saving light bulbs in your home can help you save at least $60 a year in utility costs. Using less energy also means less pollution from power plants. Installing dimmer switches can also reduce your energy waste. The dimmer your lights are, the less energy they're using.
Reuse instead of using something new. Take your own reusable cup or mug for your morning cup of coffee, carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water, and make a habit of carrying reusable bags with you to the grocery store. For each item you reuse, you reduce the amount of pollution from plastic and paper production and help slow the use of our natural resources.
Give up bottled water. Plastic production and waste is one of the biggest problems facing the environment. In addition, bottled water is not federally tested for harmful chemicals and pollutants, whereas your tap water is. Instead, use a water filter in your home to get that fresh, clean taste. You'll reduce emissions and waste, and save thousands of dollars a year.
Make the switch to energy-efficient appliances. From your kitchen to your laundry room, energy-efficient appliances can significantly reduce the amount of power you use. Keep them clean, too. Regularly changing your air conditioner filter or cleaning the gaskets and coils on your refrigerator will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions and can lower your utility bill.
Check your car's tire pressure monthly. Underinflated tires can significantly reduce your fuel economy and wear down your tires faster, leaving more rubber and chemicals on the road. Keep your tires at the recommended pressure by checking them monthly. That may seem like a lot, but changes in temperature and everyday wear and tear can cause your tire pressure to drop dramatically.
Don't idle your car's engine. Whether you're waiting in the drive-through line or stopping to pick up your carpool members in the morning, turning off your engine will make a big difference. Approximately 2.9 billion gallons of gas are wasted each year by idling engines, and idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than starting your car. Turn your engine off as often as possible to cut back on fuel use.
Turn down the thermostat. For every degree you reduce your thermostat, you'll save between 1 and 3 percent on your heating bill. Add that to the fact that you're reducing emissions from your home and decreasing your carbon footprint and you'll be doing the environment a huge favor with such a small change. In the summer, do the same with your air conditioner, but turn the thermostat up a few degrees instead.
Choose organic foods. Between pesticides, preservatives, hormones, and artificial flavoring, our food is full of harmful chemicals. Organic foods can be more expensive, but the payoff benefits both your body and the environment. Look for foods, from produce to dairy and meats, labeled USDA organic that are grown and produced without pesticides and chemicals.