25 Small Ways To Make An Impact On The Environment

Being environmentally friendly is something that weighs heavily on everyone’s minds these days. From the stay-at-home mom, to the corporate CEO, making sure we are all doing our part to protect the world in which we live is something high on everyone’s agenda, but often times it is an endeavor that proves to be easier said than done. There are ways, however, that you can help the environment by making some minute changes to your habits and lifestyle. Follow these 25 steps to reduce your personal carbon footprint and improve the quality of our Earth today. 

1. Use eco-friendly products.

Investing in eco-friendly products like household cleaners and bio-degradable baby diapers can help to significantly reduce the amount of waste piling up in our landfills each year. Vinegar can also help you save money on a lot of the same household cleaning products.

2. Be conservative with napkins/paper towels.

Paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper might seem in abundance, but the truth is that the average American uses up to 2,200 napkins each year. How many would you say were still mostly clean when you decided to just toss them out?

3. Hang-dry clothes.

There’s nothing like a fresh-air dry on your laundry to make your clothes feel fresh and smell great. It will help you cut back on your energy expenditures and reduce the chance of discoloration in your clothes. That being said, check your local laws, as some states have banned hanging clothes to dry outside. 

4. Use compact fluorescent bulbs.

Compact fluorescent bulbs utilize nearly half of the energy required by incandescent bulbs. If you don’t like the bright white color, use a lampshade, or just stick to using them in your closets, pantries, and in the basement.

5. Keep the lights off.

One of the easiest ways to save money and the environment is by turning off all of your lights at night or whenever you are not using a room. This will make the bulb last longer and also help ease the stress on your home cooling system.

6. Turn your computers off.

Turning your computer all the way off at night is another great way to save on energy costs. Leaving your computer on ‘Sleep’ mode will still utilize up to 40 watt-hours a day, which, as far as costs go doesn’t add up to much, but think about what it could mean if everybody did it?

7. Shower instead of bathe.

It might be relaxing to soak up in the tub after a long, stressful day, but taking a shower is a much better way to save on water, provided you don’t spend an average of 10-20 minutes to wash. Women and men with longer hair should consider turning the water off while you wash it, and also try to avoid letting the water run while shaving.

8. Take a shorter shower.

To help yourself avoid taking long, extended showers, get a water-proof timer and give yourself a 5-minute window for bathing. Anything more than 5-minutes is just an excuse to stay in the warm water, which I can’t blame you for, but if you really are concerned for the environment, it’s going to take a little self-sacrificing on all of our parts.

9. Buy a water bottle and filter.

Instead of buying a bunch of plastic water bottles, invest a few dollars in a plastic bottle and a Britta filter. You might also consider using an old gallon of milk to keep some fresh water in your office kitchen, or in your truck while you’re out working. 

10. Run errands all at once.

It seems like there’s always something new to take care of everyday. Seeing as that’s the case, do your best to tackle all of your errands in one or two days so that you’re not driving all over creation every day and using up fuel.

11. Get a coffee mug.

Along with your water bottle and Britta filter, try investing in a thermal mug for your morning coffee instead of running through Starbucks’ supply of cardboard cups.

12. Water the lawn at night.

Watering your lawn at night or in the morning helps you use less water because the evaporation rate of water is slower without the sun.

13. Donate old clothes, hangers.

If you are a shopaholic, chances are you’ve built up an impressive stock of old clothes that you hardly ever wear anymore. Call your local donations pick-up service, or drop them off at a Goodwill or Salvation Army center, or even a thrift store.

14. Support your local economy.

Shopping at small, local businesses and farmer’s markets instead of buying everything at large retailers supports your local economy, and cuts down on environmental effects by cutting out long-distance shipping.

15. Use warm or cold water in the wash.

Using hot water every time you do a load of laundry means you are using more energy and natural gas in your home. Try switching to the warm/cold water setting, and do slightly smaller loads do use less water.

16. Recycle glass.

There is still a great amount of glass product that is produced and then simply wasted because standard recycling services can’t take glass products. Get a separate bin for glass bottles and other such products and take it to your local glass recycling service to do your part.

17. Use both sides of printing paper.

Many printers now offer both-sided printing, so you don’t have use an inordinate amount of paper when using your home printer.

18. Don’t let the water run.

You know the old nursery rhyme: “While I’m brushing my teeth and having so much fun, I never let the water run.” That goes for the bathtub and kitchen sink too!

19. Watch your thermostat.

Be sure to check that your thermostat is weather-appropriate. As we get further into spring weather, be sure to open your windows and get some fresh air circulating in the house with the warm temperature.

20. Stop pre-heating oven.

You don’t need to pre-heat your oven for an extended period of time before using it to bake. Your food will still cook thoroughly even if you put it in right after turning the oven on, so there’s no need to worry about serving undercooked food, and you’ll use much less energy than you would waiting for it to reach a set temperature.

21. Recycle old cell phones.

The next time you go to replace your cell phone, consider taking your old one back to the retailer or manufacturer; even if you don’t plan on getting a replacement from them, most companies participate in a recycling program, so you don’t have to worry about the device simply ending up in the trash from local recycling services. You can also donate it to charitable services like Phones For Vets.

22. Recycle newspaper.

People do still get newspapers delivered to their doors. Nothing wrong with a little tradition, but once you’re done reading it, be sure to recycle it, or put it to some use around the house.

23. Turn on cruise control.

When you are driving on the highway, or on a road with minimal stops and traffic lights, turn on your vehicle’s cruise control. This will help the engine burn less fuel, and also help you stay at a constant speed so as to avoid speeding and other reckless behavior.

24. Reuse gift-wrapping items.

Paper is hard to re-use considering everyone just rips it to shreds when it comes time to open presents, but you can re-use gift-wrapping materials like bows, ribbons, and strings.

25. Plant some trees.

This spring or fall, plant some trees in your front or backyard. You can also check out your local government’s website and look for information on areas in your community where you can plant trees and make it an annual tradition. We can always use another tree and some cleaner fresh air!