Being more environmentally responsible doesn’t always mean making big sacrifices or creating more work for yourself — sometimes a few minor changes in your lifestyle can help you save energy and recycle more easily, more often.
I’ve shared some ways to form green habits; here are 9 more ways to make being green easier on yourself:
- Put a second trash-can in the bathroom for recycling. That way it’ll be easier to recycle empty shampoo and lotion bottles, magazines, and other recyclables.
- Keep a plastic bag in your car (a disposable grocery bag is perfect, since it allows you to extend its life a bit). Use it to collect recyclable trash such as plastic bottles, catalogs, flyers and other papers. When it fills up, plan an errand that takes you past a recycling center, or simply throw it in your own recycling bin.
- Set porch lights and outdoor holiday lights on a timer so you don’t forget to turn them off in the morning.
- Save even more electricity by plugging most of the electrical equipment in a room into the same power strip, so that it can all be turned off with the flip of a single switch. Power strips can eliminate vampire energy, the energy that appliances still use when they’re turned off but still plugged in.
- Keep a box or bag in your closets. As you come across clothing that you know you won’t wear anymore, add it to the box. When the box is full, donate it to a charity thrift store or a shelter. You’ll extend the life of the clothes, and eliminate the dreaded “going through the closet” chore.
- If your appliances have the capability, program dishwashers for the default setting to bypass the heated dry setting, and set washers and dryers to energy-saving settings, such as using cold water, shorter and lower-heat drying settings.
- On flat terrain, drive with cruise control on as much as possible, set to no higher than 50 miles per hour. It can help save gas by regulating your speed and discouraging you from going over the “sweet spot” speed when cars are less fuel-efficient.
- Subscribe to a CSA. If going to a farmer’s market or seeking out locally grown, organic foods regularly is too time-consuming, a CSA makes it easy to eat local and sustainably. You’ll get a box of fresh fruits and vegetables (and sometimes even goodies like free-range eggs or local honey) each week.
- When you get home from the supermarket, immediately portion your bulk bags of snacks into individually portioned, reusable containers, and put them within easy reach. This will make it easy for your family to grab a quick snack, rather than putting their own into a disposable plastic bag, or going to a convenience store to get something that’s individually wrapped.