When you keep the planet in mind as you shop, do home improvements, travel or eat, you’re not just helping Mother Earth. Many eco-friendly actions are also beneficial for your own health and they help you save money in the long run. Most environmentally-friendly decisions don’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time. In fact, small changes can have a bigger impact than you might expect when you form green habits.
Since Earth Day is April 22, we’ve come up with 22 easy ways to get in the habit of being green!
Calculate your carbon footprint. Every activity that uses electricity, gas or fuel causes greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to your carbon footprint.
Replace burnt-out lights with LED bulbs. LED technology has improved a lot in the last few years, leading to a wide variety of choices when it comes to light bulbs. There are a few things to consider before buying LEDs, but overall they are very efficient and can last up to 50 times longer than traditional light bulbs.
Turn off the lights when you’re not in a room. Electric lighting accounts for 25 percent of the average homeowner’s utility bill.
Fold up a reusable shopping bag and keep it in your car or purse at all times. Cloth shopping bags are everywhere these days, but they don’t do any good if they never leave the back of your closet.
Reuse or recycle plastic shopping bags. Over time, even the most dedicated cloth bag users end up with a stash of plastic shopping bags. Plastic bags can be used to line small trash cans, pick up after your dog, or pad breakable things when moving. You can also bring your stash to a local department store that accepts bags for recycling.
Let your clothes air-dry on a laundry rack. Skipping the dryer can reduce your home’s carbon footprint by 2,400 pounds a year.
Check the temperature in your fridge and freezer. Because refrigerators already use a lot of energy, there’s no reason to make them work harder than they have to. Fridges work fine when set at 37 F and freezers should ideally be set to -3 F.
Fix leaky faucets and toilets. A single faucet that drips once per minute wastes 34 gallons of water a year.
Reduce your water footprint with ideas from our infographic.
Unplug kitchen appliances when you’re not using them. It might seem easier to leave the coffee maker and toaster plugged in, but appliances still use energy even when they’re not on.
Use a power strip for your computer and entertainment center. Just like appliances, TVs, computers, speakers, DVD players and other electronics use energy whenever they’re plugged in. A power strip is an easy way to turn your whole system on and off at once.
Use curtains and open windows to cool your home naturally. Air conditioning is great when it’s unbearably hot, but simply opening the windows and getting the air flowing can get the job done on nicer days.
Grow herbs and spices at home. Basil, rosemary, oregano and other spices are easy to grow right on your windowsill. Not only will you save money on fresh herbs, the plants will also help purify your air.
Regrow produce from kitchen scraps. Green onions, romaine lettuce, basil and even avocados can be regrown from the stem or seed.
Plant a garden full of edible foods. Nothing is more “local” than vegetables grown in your backyard.
Start a compost pile for kitchen scraps that can’t be regrown.
Skip eating meat on Earth Day. If everyone in the U.S. skipped eating meat and cheese for one day every week, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 7.6 million cars off the roads.
Cook from scratch. Not only do homemade meals taste better, pre-cooked and ready-to-eat foods tend to come in packaging that can’t be recycled.
Use nontoxic cleaning supplies. These are easier on the environment and don’t leave harmful chemicals in your home.
Switch to reusable cleaning rags instead of single-use paper towels.
Reconsider how you get to work. Not everyone can skip driving to work, but some people have multiple options. Consider walking or biking on nice days if you live close by. Taking the bus or carpooling might be another option.
Take a walk on your lunch break rather than driving somewhere. You might need a car to get to and from work, but you can save a little fuel by using your lunch break to get outside instead.
Donate Your Car To Celebrate Earth Day
Transportation is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, but luckily cars are becoming more and more efficient. Upgrading to a new vehicle is a big decision, but it’s also one of the best things you can do for the environment. If you’re celebrating Earth Day by getting a new vehicle, consider donating your old one to Wheels For Wishes.
Our car donation program accepts nearly all vehicles regardless of their age or condition. Donating your car is also a great way to get a tax deduction and help children in your community. Check out which children’s charity your car donation helps in our Chapter Locator. We make car donation easy by taking care of all the paperwork and providing you with free towing. All you need to do is call us at 1-877-431-9474 or fill out an online car donation form. We take care of all the rest!