is all about the environment and sustainable living. Making compost is
the obvious first step because of the huge reduction in organic matter going to
waste, and the huge benefit of the end product to gardens and farms. Your
own backyard pile will make a difference. But don't stop there:
encourage others to do the same and explore the many minor life-style changes
that you can make to become greener.
as a community really cannot call itself green if it is dirty and polluted, look
at simple ways to keep your neighborhood clean.
Here are 100
ways to go green and clean:
Reduce and Re-use
Reduce water consumption. Just because you live in an
area with abundant water, doesn't mean that you can squander it. We don't
know what climate changes will bring. Act on the side of caution, and
develop an ultra-conservative approach to water. It's not difficult. And
a quick word to those who have access to well water and think that they can use
as much as they like because it is free, no you can't. Wells tap into
underground aquifers and excessive use can lower the water table, which affects
us all. It is just plain irresponsible to waste water, regardless of its
low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets
2. Have your plumber re-route your gray water to
trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line. Check with
your city codes, and if it isn't allowed in your area, start a movement to get
3. Re-use rinse water for house, patio and deck
you are committed to baths, use the water on your houseplants or garden
5. Share your shower
with someone you enjoy being naked with.
young kids together
pre-wash dishes going into the dishwasher.
rinse under running water: fill a second sink or large container and rinse in
your teeth using only half a cup of water: half-fill you tooth mug, dip your
toothbrush in it, clean your teeth, spit directly into the outlet, rinse with
two small mouthfuls of water, rinse your brush in the remaining water and pour
it down the outlet.
10. Do only full loads of laundry, or use the
appropriate water level for the size of your load.
11. DON'T BUY BOTTLED WATER - EVER; instead
invest in a water filter, a couple of reusable water bottles, and drink water
from the tap. In summer, but one in the freezer overnight, and you will have
ice-cold water all day.
12. Use less water in the shower: get wet, soap
up and then turn the water on again to rinse off
instant water heaters in each bathroom to avoid running water while it heats
wash towels after several uses. In hotels, opt to reuse towels and sheets.
15. Check for and fix leaky faucets and pipes
both indoors and out.
you must flush tissues down the toilet, throw them in and wait until you need
to flush. Even 1.6 gallons is too much for one tissue, which could, of
course, go into the compost instead.
17. Rethink your gardening practices in ways that
will conserve water. For example:
Set up a rain barrel
lawn with shrubs, groundcover, gravel or paving
the lawn with fine compost
lawn to increase water absorption
grass to not less than 3", leaving the trimmings to form a mulch
when the air is cool to reduce evaporation
only when necessary, that is when soil is dry 2" below the surface, or
when plants look thirsty. More plants are killed by overwatering than
underwatering. (Garden centers take note)
drip irrigation instead of sprinklers
a watering can instead of a hose
j. Use a hose nozzle
deeply and less frequently to encourage root development, which leads to
greater drought resistance
exotic hybrids with native plants which can survive without additional water
heavily wherever possible.
the soil in areas where rainwater runs off.
o. Plant a rain garden (http://www.raingardennetwork.com/)
your swimming pool into a sunken garden
a commercial car wash, especially one that recycles water.
II. Reduce energy consumption.
Every watt of electricity, lump of coal, gallon of gasoline or cubic foot of
natural gas not used saves the consumer money and keeps CO2 out of
the atmosphere. We owe it to the planet to all do our bit.
your refrigerator down
21. Wash in cold water when feasible; always set
the rinse cycle to cold.
Hang clothes outside to dry
your next appliance an energy efficient model (look for the energy star
24. Use a programmable
thermostat that automatically turns down the heat overnight or when you are
25. Turn the heat down a
few degrees and wear an extra sweater
furnace filters regularly
ceiling fans and turn off the AC
the temperature on your hot water heater.
29. Insulate the water
heater and pipes
30. Seal windows,
weatherstrip doors and plug up any air leaks
32. Consider instant
water heaters that work only when needed
local produce, locally made products and locally produced services.
in season to reduce the energy used in transportation.
35. Replace incandescent
bulbs with LED bulbs (or compact fluorescents).
36. Turn off lights and
electronics when you leave the room.
your cell phone charger from the wall when not using it.
38. Turn off energy
strips and surge protectors when not in use (especially overnight).
or take the bus.
40. Walk or ride a bike
41. Choose your next car
for fuel efficiency
42. Keep your tires
inflated to the recommended pressure and your car will run more miles on less
the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
44. Shade your house with deciduous trees
45. Paint your house a light color in warm
climates and a dark color in cold climates
46. Don't turn on lights until you have to - open
your curtains and enjoy natural light.
47. Switch to electricity from renewable sources
(wind or solar)
Reduce use of paper and packaging.
a bag for purchases (a friend tried to do this at an upscale store at a mall,
and was told that she could not walk out of the store without one - company
policy - so she mailed the bag to the CEO and said he could dispose of it in
his trash as it wasn't going into hers. I like her attitude.)
49. Take your own containers for take-out items
or food from the deli counter.
50. Carry your own coffee mug for take-out, and
51. Always take your own bags to the supermarket
52. Get off junk mail lists.
53. Go paperless for bill paying and bank
54. Only put out full garbage bags (because
everything that can rot is going into the compost, the dry garbage should not
smell, even after a couple of weeks)
both sides of paper. Print on two sides, let your kids color or print stuff for
home consumption on the back side of used paper.
56. Avoid excess packaging when choosing product
57. Buy products in bulk re-using your own large
storage bags or containers
58. Buy concentrated products to reduce
packaging. Examples are concentrated fruit juice, laundry detergent, fabric
softener and window cleaner.
59. Use cloth instead of paper towels to clean you
kitchen. Be frugal,
and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.
At the very least watch and follow: https://www.ted.com/talks/joe_smith_how_to_use_a_paper_towel
60. Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper. Invest
in old fashioned napkin rings for each member of the family, and only wash the
napkins when they are soiled.
61. Buy products that
use recyclable and recycled materials whenever possible
62. Wrap gifts
creatively in repurposed paper or reuseable fabric bags
IV. Reduce Pollution.
This includes reducing one's use of
toxic products, especially ones that can get into any body of water and
reducing the amount of waste that you generate, because anything that cannot be
recycled or broken down should be considered a pollutant. Plastic in
63. If you do end up
with plastic bags, reuse them when walking the dog, or as trash can liners
items you can re-use.
65. Use china or enamel
crockery rather than plastic or paper plates and bowls. Use real cutlery rather
than plastic. Reuseable plastic is also OK
school lunches in reusable containers with lids.
67. Use an electric
shaver or a higher quality razor with replaceable blades.
68. Use plug-in
appliances instead of those that operate on batteries.
69. Take your batteries
to a recycling center.
bottled water (I can’t say that often enough)
71. Boycott styrofoam
and throw-away tableware
72. Consider organic cleaning products
soda: helps to clean and deodorize, will act
as a scouring agent, polisher, stain remover, fabric softener. Use to clean
plastic, vinyl, carpet, silver, stainless steel, drains, and refreshes your
helps to clean and deodorize. Use on wallpaper, painted walls, and floors. Use
it with your detergents to remove stains and boost the cleaning power.
helps remove stains, wax buildup and mildew. Use to clean windows, fireplaces,
grout, paint brushes, glass, and coffee pots.
you have a baby, consider using cloth diapers instead of the horribly polluting
disposables. The National Association of Diaper Services can help you find a
service near you. And, yes, you can use plastic bags to get dirty diapers home!
74. Use Matches instead
of disposable lighters. Matches
75. Use a Diva Cup
for your monthly cycles.
toxic waste by purchasing paints, pesticides and other hazardous materials only
in the quantities needed, or by sharing leftovers.
77. Better still avoid pesticides altogether, or,
at the very least, greatly curtail their use. This applies to Clorox and
Lysol and other sanitizing products. Remember what pesticides do to
bacterial and fungal populations in the soil? Remember how the greater
population of good guys keeps the bad guys in check? The same is true in
the kitchen and bathroom. By all means keep things clean, but don't kill
off beneficial bacteria.
it, don’t nix it
away your goods and find new ones at FreeCycle.
wine containers make excellent alternatives to bricks for shelving, useful
storage for stacks of tax-related documents or great magazine holders
80. Donate to
and shop at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store
81. Find and frequent a repair café
82. Find someone with sewing skills and have old
clothes altered and updated
83. Repair before replace. This includes all kinds of electronics and
important, of course, but it comes a distant third behind “Reduce” and
“Reuse”. If you have to choose your
packaging between recyclable and not, by all means go for the recyclable. But it is far better to choose re-usable
packaging, or none at all.
mail into handmade paper or Papier-mâché
85. Use shredded paper
in your compost
newspapers as mulch
87. Recycle everything
your city will accept. If you're not at home, take the extra steps,
(literally), to find that recycling bin.
88. Push your community to recycle more items
89. Join Terracycle
90. Recycle your
technology. Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and IBM, among others, offer
91. Pick up garbage off sidewalks
92. Encourage neighbors
to do the same
93.Talk to neighbors
about Integrated Pest Management to reduce pesticide use
94. Encourage neighbors
to compost or set up block composting
95. Encourage stores to
use re-useable shopping bags (discount when you bring it back)
96. Encourage stores to
carry products with less wasteful packaging
97. Encourage liquor
stores to take back empty bottles (not nearly as much
glass as you might think gets recycled – lots of it ends up in landfills as
your city to have public recycling bins
99. Plant trees
and native plants
your money where your mouth is -invest in green companies
Bonus: Find an
environmental organization that you like - Greenpeace, the Nature Conservancy,
Sierra Club and so on - and support them financially or by volunteering