I made this list because there are a lot of things I think people are overlooking. I strive for a future where humans make little to no negative impact on the environment. Just about all of these tips should also save you money, so you've got nothing to lose.
- While brushing your teeth, turn the faucet off when you aren't using the water
- Only a "pea-sized" amount of toothpaste is needed per brush
- Throw toilet paper away in a waste basket and use minimal water when flushing, or do not flush if there is just pee in the toilet. You can close the toilet lid to block the smell, if any. This should save many gallons of water per day
- If you don't feel particularly dirty, don't shower. Or just wash your armpits with soap and water
- When showering, rinse yourself and then turn off the water while shampooing and scrubbing, turning it back on to rinse yourself off
- Women: Consider reusable or biodegradable alternatives to pads. OB tampons have minimal packaging and no applicator
- Never use disposable products. So wasteful!
- When washing dishes, try not to use a lot of water. You can keep the water running low and/or turn it off when scrubbing dishes.
- If you are using a dishwasher, wait until it is filled with dirty dishes before running it
- Use cut up old terrycloth towels as rags rather than paper towels, if possible. They can be washed and reused and are generally more absorbent than paper towels
- Use handkerchiefs instead of napkins
- Compost your (compostable) food scraps and toilet paper/paper towels
- If you still have trash to throw out, reuse any plastic bags you have rather than buying garbage bags
- Keep the coils behind your refrigerator as clean as possible by vacuuming around them or cleaning them with a rag. This should cut down on energy consumption
- Make sure the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer is not lower than it needs to be
- Do not aimlessly open the refrigerator or freezer to browse for food. If you know you are going to do this anyway consider buying plastic slit coverings that professionals use to keep freezer storage rooms cold (they are available for normal sized refrigerators, too)
- Generally, you should be able to reuse cooking oil (or at least olive oil) a few times
- Make your own meals, juices and desserts rather than buying them prepackaged. This not only helps the environment but it should save you plenty of money
- It is an overall concensus that a vegan diet is not only better for your body but for the environment as well. Try avoiding meat and animal products
- Rewear clothing until it is truly dirty
- Do not wash until you can fill the washer with dirty clothes
- Hang your clothes dry rather than throwing them in the dryer. This will require a little fabric softener in your wash but it should save you a lot of energy consumption
- Consider a <b>good quality</b> air mattress as opposed to a traditional one. I find them more comfortable than regular mattresses, and although they do require a little electricity to refill them with air (about once a week), they should last a lifetime, meaning they generate no waste. They are also handy when it comes time to move or when you have guests over.
- Opt for a small apartment as opposed to a stand-alone house, as well as city rather than suburb (or living close to where you work). You'd be amazed how little space you actually need, and how much stress is relieved by a shorter commute
- If you aren't using the computer/television/light/etc turn it off!
- Utilize natural light from windows instead of light bulbs
- When needed, use low-energy florescent bulbs instead of traditional ones. They last for about 5 years and consume a fraction of the energy of normal bulbs
- In the summer, if you are out of the house or a certain room, make sure that the windows are covered sufficiently (perhaps with cardboard spray painted black). The more unwanted sun you block out of it the cooler it will be
- In the summer, open a window to get a breeze in rather than turning the air conditioning on
- In the winter, put a robe or other warm clothing on rather than turning on the heat
- If needed, use small fans, ceiling fans, or space heaters instead of turning the AC or heat on. Chances are you don't need every room in your home cooled or heated at the same time
- If you still insist on using AC, regularly clean your filter and ducts to allow a smooth flow of air. Buy the reusable air filters rather than the disposable ones.
- Instead of throwing things away, consider repairing them, reusing them for something other than their intended purpose, or donating them to a second hand store (if in good condition)
- Consider solar and wind energy for your home and/or appliances
- Don't buy things you don't need, especially if they aren't second hand. Embrace the minimalist lifestyle
- Opt for used items as opposed to new ones. Shopping at thrift stores may require patience, but you can usually find unique items at incredible prices
- Always bring your own bag when shopping, be it a backpack, tote, canvas bag, or reused plastic bag
- If they are still clean, reuse the clear bags for fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, making sure any old barcode stickers are removed prior to check out
- Buy a water filter or refill gallons of water at those machines available in most grocery stores
- Generally, buying in bulk saves packaging and money. But don't take this phrase too literally... buying a 24 pack of Coke cans is not better than buying a few 2-liter bottles (or skipping the Coke altogether and drinking water)
- Buy the "ultra" versions of dishwashing liquid and detergent and use as little as possible
- Again: Make your own meals, juices and desserts rather than buying them prepackaged. This not only helps the environment but it should save you plenty of money
- Walk, bike, skateboard, rollerblade, or scooter (the non-powered kind) rather than drive. You can take a backpack or rolling luggage with you, as well as a small umbrella. You'll be amazed at the money you save as well as the weight you'll most likely lose in the process. Be sure to wear a helmet for the latter 4
- Take public transportation if the distance is too long to walk or bike. You can probably use the time on the bus to read, write, or just relax. A nice change from driving
- Have one or no children. There are too many humans on the planet as is and positive growth rates are far from sustainable. There are always children in need of a home, so consider adoption if you want a big family.
- Teach your children the importance of sustainability