If we all adopted a few “green” habits it would add up to one big impact on the environment. In honor of Earth Day and my love of sustainable design, here are some simple ways to reduce your ecological footprint:
- Practice BYOB (bring your own bag) shopping. Store groceries, flea market finds, or craft store purchases in a reusable tote instead of plastic shopping bags. Eco-friendly totes come in a range of colors, patterns, and materials.
- Put that Kindle to good use. Stop reading the print form of newspapers and magazines. Instead subscribe to the online versions.
- Plastic water bottles are just plain evil. Use a Brita or Pur filter for drinking water. If you need it on the go, store it in a 100-percent BPA-free, stainless steel water bottle. Go traditional with a Klean Kanteen or sip from something sleek like the special editions from Kor.
- If you can’t live without your print newspaper or plastic water bottle, definitely recycle them.
- Consider installing dimmers in the rooms that you use most. Just dimming your lights saves a small amount of energy.
- Consider a car-sharing service like Zipcar.
- Start a compost in your backyard.
- Get off junk mail lists. Check out Green Dimes. It makes it easy for you.
- Opt for online billing.
- Use a diaper service to do the dirty work. They provide you with cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. The Real Diaper Association is a great resource.
- Do full loads of laundry and use the cold water cycle. Washing with cold water is effective thanks to detergents like Tide Cold Water. Your clothes will thank you too.
- Recycle and reuse. Freecycle.org allows you to recycle your belongings and find gently used ones as well.
- Work online, at home or in the office, and limit what you print.
- Teach your kids how to be green. Tips can be found at National Geographic Kids.
- Go meatless once a week. Cutting out animal products, even one day per week, substantially reduces your carbon footprint. Find recipes at Meatless Monday.
- Repurpose your belongings. Turn weathered doors into a headboard or use a vintage suitcase as a bedside table. With a little DIY creativity, the options are endless.
- Gather some friends for an evening of shopping. Each guest should bring clothing items that they no longer want. Everyone swaps for a fresh closet.
- Switch to low-energy light bulbs.
What ideas do you have for going “green?” Tell us about your eco-friendly habits in the comments section. Happy Earth Day!