Practically Green, Part 5

In the first four parts of the Practically Green series, I suggested 20 eco-friendly practices that will make a positive impact on the environment if we make them habits. Today I offer five more ways we can reduce our impact on the planet.

  1. Bring your own shopping bags.
  2. Carry a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go—no exceptions.
  3. Let dishes air dry in the dishwasher.
  4. Use paper bags instead of plastic when scooping kitty litter.
  5. Buy fruits and vegetables grown closer to home—at least on this continent.
  6. Print on both sides of the paper.
  7. Choose your transportation wisely.
  8. Use what you have.
  9. Buy less stuff.
  10. Get a library card.
  11. When you do need something, buy it used.
  12. Fix things.
  13. Reuse and repurpose things.
  14. Turn the thermostat down and set it on a timer.
  15. Avoid plastic bags in the produce section.
  16. Buy dry foods in bulk.
  17. Bring your own takeaway containers.
  18. Stop using plastic storage bags.
  19. Change your light bulbs.
  20. Grow your own food.

21. Wash clothes in cold water. You will save energy by not heating the water. I switched to using all cold water a few years ago and my clothes still get clean. Remember, no step is too small.

22. A toaster oven uses less energy than a conventional oven. So does a microwave. On that note, you will use less energy to heat food and water in the microwave than on the stovetop. It’s all about reducing our consumption of just about everything.

23. Let food cool before storing it in the refrigerator or freezer. If you pop a hot dish into your refrigerator or freezer, the unit will need to work harder to keep it at the set temperature. So let your food cool on the counter before you store it and you’ll keep the temperature consistent inside the unit which helps control the amount of energy used.

24. Change your showerhead. Changing your shower head to a low-flow version will save you hundreds of gallons of water a year. It may take some time to get used to a less powerful spray, but you will get used to the change in time. I did.

25. Pick up trash. When you’re out and about, pick up litter when you see it. Since I started hiking in the park nearby, I occasionally see trash on the trails. I have begun the habit of picking it up because I want to keep the park clean. You may think, “Well, I didn’t throw that Fritos bag on the ground, so it’s not my job.” Here’s the thing. I know you didn’t and I didn’t leave the bag of dog poop under the tree either. I don’t even have a dog. But if I don’t do it, who will? Just like anything else, when you take responsibility for something (like wanting to make the world a better place), then watch how your thoughts and actions change to match your intention. Also, according to author Malcom Gladwell of The Tipping Point, there is evidence that when people are vigilant about keeping an area or building clean that has a history of trash, graffiti or vandalism, eventually the good guys win. Choose an area beyond your front yard, such as your block or local park, and when you see trash or recyclables, pick them up.

Practically Green is a six part series. Stay tuned for Part 6.

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