From the moment we awake to the time we go to bed, we can reduce stress on the environment by doing many of our daily tasks a little differently. All it takes is some forethought and know-how to help preserve the planet and, in many instances, even save money. So check out the ideas below for a few tips on how to be Green throughout the day.
- A Clean Start: What better way to begin the day than by getting clean while being Green? Install a low-flow showerhead, and perhaps even shorten the amount of time you spend bathing. Also, when running water while waiting for it to warm up, catch that water in a bucket and use it to water plants. Remember to turn off water in the sink when brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Green is the New Black: When you reach into your closet or drawer, opt for organic cotton clothing. Grown and processed without the use of toxic chemicals, it’s eco-friendly and wonderfully soft next to your skin.
- Before you Leave: Turn off the lights and unplug any chargers not in use, such as cell phones and laptop computers. Surprisingly, they still use about 5 watts per hour when they aren’t recharging a battery.
- To Commute: Take public transportation to work or join a car pool. Organizations such as eRideShare offer online ride-matching services for commuters looking for a lift or wanting to form a car pool. If you’re the one driving, keep those tires properly inflated. Your automobile loses about 1% of fuel efficiency for every 3 pounds of pressure less than what is recommended.
- Or Not to Commute: If your company allows it, telecommute and save gas by staying home. Or employ a flextime schedule, which would allow you to go in to work at nonpeak times and reduce the number of commuters during rush hour. Visit WhenWorkWorks.org for information on how to start such programs.
- BYOC: Save space in the landfill and the resources and energy required to make those disposable vessels by bringing your own cup or coffee mug to work.
- Flick the Switch: Turn off all unnecessary lights when you leave for the day.
- Get an Office Mate: They’re not only easy on the eyes, but an indoor plant can also filter certain airborne pollutants and replenish your workspace with a human-friendly gas―oxygen.
- Spread the News: We’ve only scratched the surface here of all the ways we can lessen our impact on this planet. Share these ideas with your coworkers, and in turn, they may share a few with you.
- Night, Night: At the end of the workday, turn off your computer or at least put it to sleep or in “hibernate” mode. The latter can save as much as 70% of the power used if the computer was left on.
- Errands, Anyone?: Perhaps you could do the errands one day a week, while someone else picks up another day. Also, group your errands. It takes a little planning on the front end to think of how to efficiently handle all the tasks you need to, but in the long run grouping such errands will save you time, money, and gas.
- Dry Greening, Er, Cleaning: So-called Green cleaners still have their drawbacks, but the methods they employ are less harmful to the environment and human health than traditional cleaners. To find an eco-friendly cleaner near you, visit GreenEarthCleaning.com.
- Check the Package: When making purchases at lunch, or anytime, for that matter, opt for the brands that use minimal and/or recyclable packaging.
- Doing Well by Doing Good: Take a moment during the workday to talk to your financial adviser about investing in “greentech” companies that are developing alternative, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power and biofuels.
- Bring It On: In most cases, preparing your own lunch is less expensive than going out. When doing so bring your meal in a reusable container. Rather than buying additional plastic containers, wash and reuse takeout and other food containers.
- Mail Bag: Pay your bills online, and stop the paper versions from being sent to you. In turn, you’ll no longer need to send your payment via mail and save the cost of postage. Also put a halt to junk mail by registering at Directing Marketing Association.
- Recycle This: Help start or expand a recycling program in your community or at your church or office.
- So Happy Together: Gather your family and friends for a little low-tech fun. Play a board game; take a walk; or just sit a spell on the porch, deck, or patio. Such activities don’t require much in the way of natural resource expenditure, but they offer a great way to enjoy the company of others.
- Warm and Fuzzy: For many of us drying clothes on the line is not always a practical option. So if you need to run your dryer during the warmer months, do it in the early morning or at night when temperatures are cooler. That way you’ll work your air conditioner less.
- Hot and Cold: While we’re on the subject of room temperature, install a programmable thermostat for your home. You can reduce the energy you use to heat and cool your home and save a wad of money by setting temperatures at energy-saving levels for those times when you’re not there or asleep.
- Sweet Dreams: Need extra incentive to get the necessary shut-eye? Consider that you can reduce your carbon footprint by simply sleeping. So go ahead, hit the pillow, and drift away.