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Eco-Friendly Tips for Everyone

Updated on September 20, 2013

Everyone Can Make a Difference

It is not reasonable to think that everyone can change their lifestyle to be 100% eco-friendly. However, there are little things we all can do to make a difference and to help protect the environment in the world we live in. Some things may fit better into your lifestyle than others. Do what you can to make a difference in this world.

I'm sure you have heard many of these tips before, but sometimes hearing them again and putting them into perspective helps to make us more conscious of the decisions we make and the things we do.

Eco-Friendly Reusable Bag
Eco-Friendly Reusable Bag

1. Use Eco-Friendly Reusable Bags

We all have to go grocery shopping, and you have to have a way to transport your groceries. I'm sure we have all heard the phrase "paper or plastic" at one time or another. Rather than there being a decision to be made, use reusable grocery bags. Most grocery stores sell them, and they usually cost somewhere around $1 or $2 a piece. While there will be a small cost to you out of pocket initially, that little investment can go a long way and help save trees and to keep plastic out of landfills.

All you have to do is bring your reusable bags with you each time you go grocery shopping.

Photo Credit: foldablebags.com

Photo Credit: Together-Bottle

Buying bottled water creates a large amount of waste with the empty bottles. According to National Geographic Kids, Americans buy 29 billion water bottles a year...and that is just the number purchased and used by Americans. To produce those 29 billion bottles per year, the manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil or the equivalent of about 1/4 of a water bottle per bottle produced. While recycling does help, it still takes energy and natural resources like water to recycle the empty bottles, not to mention all of the resources wasted in producing the bottle initially. A great alternative is to purchase an eco-friendly, reusable water bottle.

Since many people do not want to drink tap water, which is a large part of the reason they purchase water bottles, you can purchase a large refillable bottle that you can fill up at the dispensers located outside of your local grocery store. If this option does not work for you, you can also purchase water from a company that delivers to your home in the large 5 gallon bottles, however, you will pay more with this option.

Reference: National Geographic Kids

Faucet
Faucet

3. Turn off the Water

This tip is one that everyone can use.

When you are brushing your teeth, turn off the water. It is not necessary to have the water run, nor does it provide any benefit to you. Rather than waste a valuable natural resource like water and waste money, be conscious and turn off the faucet. This may take a little thought and possibly a little time to break a habit that you are used to, but it is something everyone can accomplish without any expense or extra time.

Photo Credit: Shaylor

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

Adjustable Thermostat
Adjustable Thermostat

4. Adjust Your Thermostat

Many newer households are equipped with programmable thermostats. You may have one and not know it or you just may not know how to use it. A great tip for conserving energy is to adjust the temperature in your home in the hours when you are away. This tip is great for those who do not work at home or for when you take a vacation. Set your thermostat to a higher or lower temperature, depending on the time of year, for the hours you are away from home, and have the thermostat set to adjust the temperature back to a temperature comfortable to you about 30 minutes prior to the time you arrive home.

For those who do not have a programmable thermostat, do not wish to invest in one, or that work from home, try adjusting the temperature of your home 1 or 2 degrees higher or lower, depending on the time of year. This small adjustment should not affect your level of comfort, but will help to conserve energy.

Photo Credit: Tom Raftery

Go Paperless
Go Paperless

5. Go Paperless

This is another option almost everyone can use. Go paperless! With the amount of technology available to us, either with cell phones, computers, handheld devices, etc., then a large number of us have the ability to go paperless. What does this mean to you? Stop receiving paper bank statements, credit card statements, bills, etc. Even though you will no longer receive a bill by mail, you can still be notified of amounts due by e-mail or sometimes by text message. You also have access to statements online, typically for up to about a year that you can easily view and further back by requesting copies if necessary.

You can also stop buying checks and mailing paper checks by using electronic bill payment through your bank or setting up automatic payments through the various companies you do business with.

Photo Credit: ph0rk

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Turn Off the Lights
Turn Off the Lights

6. Turn it Off

Sounds simple doesn't it? That's because it is.

When you leave a room make sure you turn off the lights. During daylight hours, open your blinds or curtains to let the sunlight in rather than waste energy. The same goes for a T.V., turn it off when it is not in use. You can also turn off your computer or set it to sleep mode when not in use to conserve energy.

Photo Credit: wayne's eye view

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

7. Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

A great way to conserve energy is to switch to energy efficient light bulbs. According to Energy Star, if every home in America would replace just one light bulb with one that received an Energy Star rating, then we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year and save about $600 million in energy costs per year. In addition, it would prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions a year, which is about the same that is given off by 800,000 cars.

Yes, energy efficient light bulbs are more expensive initially, but over the life of the bulb it will definitely be worth the money. An Energy Star rated bulb will not only last much longer, which means buying fewer light bulbs, but it will also conserve about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent light bulb, which means saving you money on your electricity bill. In addition, it will give off less heat, which can essentially save money on your gas or electricity bill related to cooling your home.

Photo Credit: p.Gordon

Reference: Energy Star

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce
Recycle, Reuse, Reduce

8. Remember the 3 R's

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

Last, but certainly not least, recycle, reduce, and reuse. I have pretty much touched base on these here in one way or another, but just a short recap...

Remember to recycle whenever possible. Many trash companies have pick up days specifically for recycled goods. All you have to do is separate the items according to paper, plastic, and glass, then take them to your curb. If you don't have pick up at your home, there should be options locally to drop off your recyclables. When you are purchasing items, look for items that are made from recycled goods.

Reduce by buying less and using less. Conserve your natural resources whenever possible. You can also reduce by avoiding single serve containers as well.

Reuse whenever possible. Use reusable grocery bags. If you happen to use plastic grocery bags when shopping, reuse them for other purposes. There are many things that can be reused rather than going with a disposable version. Do what you can to help.

Photo Credit: UofSLibrary

This Lens Was Blessed by SquidAngels - Thank you for the blessings!

What eco-friendly tips do you have that are easily implemented by anyone?

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    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 4 years ago

      A new blessing on this lovely lens and may you have a wonderful, successful and happy 2013. Hugs

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips and reminders! Most are easy to do once the habit is formed.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      If you live in an apartment building you can has management to start a Resident Recycling Program. We have Orange 55 gallon trash cans on each floor and each resident is supplied with large brown shopping bags to put our metal, plastics, glass, paper & cardboard( all with the "recycle" symbol imprinted)

      Recycles are pick up each Thursday and we have had the program in place since July 21, 2010. Every little bit helps!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Drive friendly. (You'll save gas and stress.) Turn you car's engine on just before you drive and then turn it off as soon as you arrive. (2 minutes of idling is equal to a mile of driving.) Coast to a stop. (Saves gas and brakes)

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      very useful tips here. nicely done

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Great tips and maybe they will help remind some people about what they do that hurts the enviuronment. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2 and also on The Living Oceans are Dying. Hugs.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      It is nice to see some attractive eco-friendly shopping bags and I love your water bottle selection. Above all else though, I like the Native American quotation. Blessings.

    • PBJasen profile image

      PBJasen 5 years ago

      simple but effective tips

    • charlb profile image

      charlb 5 years ago

      I try to do most of these all the time. Some of my friends even tease my green habits! Thanks for sharing the info. I think this lens is awesome so I voted for it as my favourite Earth Day lens for the challenge. Best of luck!

    • belinda342 profile image

      belinda342 5 years ago

      One I've heard of (but haven't done yet) is to reset the temperature of your hot water heater. You have some great reminders here. Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You have several good ones here. We're in need of a new thermostat, but use most of these tips.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      In addition to these, the number one tip I would share is: Bring your own reusable coffee mug to the coffee shop. Americans discard billions of paper coffee cups every year. Plus, you will usually get a discount when you bring your mug.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      We started using a rain barrel to collect water for gardening last year. Very easy to do.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      My latest big discipline is using cloth bags as much as possible while shopping. If we must have a bag then I ask for plastic and then recycle. Recycle, recycle, recycle! Wonderful article. :)

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      don't use the car all the time. take the public transporation instead.

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 5 years ago

      Great tips, thank you for sharing. =)

    • AlphaChic profile image

      AlphaChic 5 years ago

      We're looking into using rain barrels to collect rain water then use it to water plants in dry weather. Great lens, and useful tips!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I agree, most of us have heard many eco-friendly tips, but it's great to be reminded every once in a while. Some others ones I can think of are turning off the lights, TVs, etc. when not needed; using energy efficient light bulbs; doing laundry during off-peak hours. Thanks for the reminder! :)