Green Living 101: Tips on How to Improve Your Efforts

Green living – also known as sustainable living – is not as complicated as it might sound. It involves a lifestyle that’s mindful of the way society uses Earth’s natural resources. The adepts of sustainable living are often interested in reducing their carbon footprint by making small changes in various areas of their lives.

By altering your energy consumption, transportation method or diet, you can bring big changes to the environment. Here are 10 tips to get you started, separated in categories for your convenience:

I. At Home

1. Use Better Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

Replace your 100-watt floodlights with compact-fluorescent versions to reduce the production of carbon dioxide. Also, give up on low-wattage halogen landscape bulbs; instead, buy LED lights for the same brightness for a quarter of the environmental footprint.

Even though eco-friendly lights are more expensive than normal light bulbs, they pay for themselves in no time since they have much longer life spans. Finally, make sure that those nonessential lights don’t stay on all the time. Install motion sensors that simply screw into your existing light socket.

2. Don’t Wash Half Loads

Green living also has to do with the amount of water you waste in your home. Run the dishwasher and the washing machine only when they are completely full. After you adjust the water settings for minimum usage, washing only full loads will allow you to save 3,400 gallons of water a year.

Also, if your clothes don’t stink, don’t just shove them in the laundry bin. Given that standard washing machines use up to 40 gallons of water per load, being mindful of this tip will save you a load a week. If Americans would be more aware about their bad laundry habits, we would save enough water to fill over 7 million swimming pools – each year.

II. In the Bathroom

3. Buy a High-Efficiency Showerhead

These showerheads are designed as to help you conserve resources all-round. Not only do they save up to 3,000 gallons of water AND 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person per year, but they also save you $50 in energy costs. The fact that they are efficient doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy a luxurious-feeling shower.

4. Recycle Water

There are many little changes you can make to save and recycle unused water in the bathroom. For example, there are devices that help you save sink water and reuse it for flushing your toilet. Also, make a habit out of keeping a bucket by the tub to save the cold water that comes out before the hot water kicks in. You could water your plants with that water.

IV. In the Kitchen

5. Be Realistic about Grocery Shopping

It would be so easy to avoid the daily waste of food if we would just keep track of the heaps of trash we generate with every trip to the store. Plastic bags, Styrofoam containers and cups – all of these eventually end up in landfills. Use reusable shopping bags and reusable cups for coffee.

Also, try to prevent food waste. We often feel exceptionally inspired during the weekends and make grand plans about how much we’re going to cook next week. However, come Wednesday and we start ordering takeout. Instead of buying grocery items that will go bad, try to plan ahead in accordance to your habits.

Don’t throw leftovers in the trash. Instead, look up easy recipes that allow you to make the most of all the food items you have left, such as tortillas or pasta salad.

6. Compost Your Food

Composting is one of the greatest practices of green living that are often overlooked. It’s fairly easy to turn your lawn and food waste into a rich fertilizer. Not only will you reduce your trash production, but you’ll also have rich compost ready for spring planting.

V. In the Home Office

7. Laptops over desktops

If you’re thinking of buying a new computer, consider the greener option of a laptop. It uses roughly half the energy of a desktop, and if it’s marked with the Energy Star rating, it will save up to 70 percent of more energy than a non-certified model.

8. Buy Green Power

Do a bit of research to see which utility company offers green power from renewable sources. Most utilities won’t charge you more than $5 per month extra. Besides helping the environment, you also encourage utility executives and government officials to invest more in renewable-energy projects. Visit the Green Power Network’s U.S. map to get started.

VI. On the Road

9. Drive Smarter

Some simple driving habits could help you become a greener driving, improving your fuel efficiency up to 25 percent. Follow the speed limit; this reduces your car’s emissions and helps you save up to $200 at the gas pump.

Keep your tires inflated, step carefully on the gas and the brakes, and make sure oil and air filters are always clean. Don’t drive like a race car driver – it might be fun, but your environmental footprint will suffer.

10. Carry a Water Bottle with You

Road trips can be a great excuse to buy a new water bottle every time you stop at a gas pump of for lunch. However, you should carry a reusable bottle with you instead. With the thousands of models currently available in every store, you can surely find one that fits your budget – and your purse.

Do you need a reason to make this change? Think of the fact that even though Americans use 3.3 million plastic bottles every hour, they only recycle one in 5 of those. Yikes.

As we said before, trying to become more environmentally aware doesn’t have to be complicated. Small changes in your kitchen, bathroom, or home office can take you a long way. Just think of the impact these new habits could have on your green living.

So, which of these changes do you think you could start implementing in your own home? Whether you’ll be more mindful with your grocery shopping, or start driving smarter, you will make sure that you leave a smaller carbon footprint on this planet.

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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