Looking for some quick ways to be more green at home? Give some of these a try…
- Program your thermals stat!
Take a big bite out of your energy bill and pollutants by installing a programmable thermostat. You can set it to use less A/C or heat while you’re sleeping or at work. Once it’s installed, it will save about 1,800 lbs of air-polluting CO2 per year AND up to $150 per year on your energy bill. Plus, it’s lazy-proof, so you have no excuses!
- Express or excess?
Rachel Ray have you jazzed about Express Lane Meals? Express Lane no more! Make fewer overall trips by filling your cart and fridge in one fell swoop, you’ll save on energy, gas and actually, time. If just 10,000 of us cut their number of grocery shopping trips in half, in a year we’ll save enough gas to drive a car roundtrip from San Fran to Bozeman 1,365 times! Oh, and remember to BYOB (bring your own bag!).
- Soak your stains.
Nix your habit of running the washer for just one stained shirt. Give your spills a sponge bath with a pre-soak of natural stain remover. It’s a double dip – you’ll save the average 40 gallons of water a typical washer eats up and save yourself the exposure to toxins in traditional stain removers. If 10,000 people ran a mini-washer instead of a top-loader to get out a stain on a single article of clothing, the collective water they’d save could run the top-loader 9,000 times.
- Get frugal with your flushes.
Toilets guzzle more water than anything in your home, and it’s not just because you’re full of it. Americans flush 4.8 billion gallons every day partly due to older toilets using excess H20. You can conserve up to 6 gallon every time you flush by replacing your john with a low-flow version. Love your john? Fill a empty milk carton with rocks and put it in your tank to save about a gallon per flush.
- Bag the bagging of lawn leftovers.
Stop cleaning up after your lawn maintenance efforts and start rejoicing about your homemade fertilizer. Leave your lawn clippings right where they fall – they’ll release nitrogen into your lawn so you can use about 25 percent less fertilizer. Less fertilizer means less nitrogen runoff into our waterways. Less bagged clippings means less yard waste in our landfills and more time for you to enjoy a mid-summer cocktail or two.
- Ditch your dish drying.
Give your dishwasher something to steam about by ditching the drying cycle. Just by flipping this last cycle off you can save 15 percent to 50 percent of your dishwasher’s energy usage AND about $25 a year on your energy bill. Your dishes will still dry, and if you stick your face above the warm dishes, you’ll get a free mini-facial, too!
- Zap! Your phantom energy loads.
Take one extra step and unplug appliances and electronics when you’re not using them – you’ll avert ‘phantom’ electricity loads caused by the energy used when these items are off, but plugged in (creepy). On average, 40 percent of the energy used in homes are used to power phantom loads of turned-off home appliances. If that’s not enough to convince you, listen to this: if all phantom loads in the US were stopped, we could shut down 17 power plants!
- It’s curtains for your shower curtain.
Shower curtain mildew making you mental? Change up your shower routine to include some QT with a hemp or organic cotton version with a nylon liner, instead of the same-old PVC type. Beyond doing some good for your bod (PVC curtains offgas plasticizers), you’ll love the easy clean up of throwing these newbies in the wash. Plus, they’ll last forever. Really.
- Fancy your fancy napkins.
Forget the notion that cloth napkins are for fancy occasions. By using cloth napkins everyday not only will you save a few trees, you’re friends will be impressed with your class and elegance (well, maybe just for a second or two). Heads up: if we all used just one less paper napkin per day, in a year we’d conserve the annual paper usage of 58 Americans.
- Painting: Spruce or noose?
Feeling a little woozy while you work on your home improvements? It’s because many paints release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) even after they are dry and contain other not-so-healthy harsh ingredients. Go for an eco-wall covering next time you spruce – one made with renewables or at least low-VOCs. Decorate this: If 10,000 people went natural next time they painted their bedroom, we’d keep 32,500 gallons of nasty chems out of circulation.