Here are 40 different methods that you can do to ensure that you are living green, and reducing your environmental impact.
Avoid heaters/fans/air-conditioned and other electric gadgets
Try and pen and close blinds according to the weather outside. Meaning that in the winter I open the blinds so the sun can get into the house and heat it, and in the summer close the blinds during the day to avoid the sun from coming into the house and thus keeping it fresh.
Recycle everything that can be recycled (paper, glass, metal, plastic)
This one is obvious and easy. Recycling is all benefits! Glass and tin cans are 100% recyclable and they can be recycled indefinitely. The recycling of 1 ton of paper saves 15-20 trees and saves 2 thousand liters of water. Plastic recycling saves energy and raw material (petroleum).
Make all bills electronic
As a minimalist I strive to go paperless. What do I need another piece of paper and an envelope for?? Pdf bills can be stored in the computer, saving space, paper and ink.
Turn off the computer
I mean at the end of the day. Both at home and work.
Change all light bulbs to LED
Except for 1 or 2, all light bulbs in my home are compact fluorescent. Replacing incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent ones or LEDs is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption and, hence, carbon dioxide emission to the atmosphere.
Take quick showers
I do it, not for ecological reasons, but rather for time reasons…
Wash hands and face with cold water
Actually, I can’t even stand hot water on my face, even in the winter.
Air dry clothes
Well, I’m a lucky gal, because I live in hot and sunny southern Portugal. Even in the winter, clothes air dry really quickly, as long as it doesn’t rain.
Go to the public library
Now that I’ve donated dozens of books to the library, I have even more reasons to go there! No, seriously, public libraries offer different services for the whole family, not only books, but also music, DVDs, kids’ activities, talks on different subjects, etc. For me, going to the library is one of the best activities to do as a family, for free!
Offer handmade gifts for Christmas and birthdays
I’ve been doing this since I started to sew. I save money and the people I offer things to know that the gift was made with love – much more precious than a mass-made product, ins’t it? But I offer only useful things, not clutter. One of my favourite gifts are fabric groceries bags.
Give minimalist gifts
that use up less natural resources and don’t contribute to clutter. You may check some minimalist gift ideas here.
Don’t turn on the bathroom light at night
During the day artificial light isn’t needed, since the bathroom has a nice window. At night, the light from the street lamps is all I need. Exception made to brushing my teeth, wash my face and take care of my hair.
Washing clothes in cold water
I’ve always done this, but rather because I’m afraid to ruin a more sensitive piece of clothing…
Print/write on both sides of the paper
I have a tray with one-side-used print paper that I reuse to print on the other side or to take notes, make lists, etc.
Decrease margins of Word documents
I generally set up 2 cm margins, but sometimes less to fit everything in one page.
Purchase second hand
Some years ago I started to buy used clothes and books, in the equivalents to ebay and craig’s list. I also sell stuff there and I have to admit, one of my favourite dresses came from one of these sites.
Use incense or candles instead of artificial room fresheners
Incense and candles are much cheaper and non toxic than artificial stuff.
Getting ice cream in a cone instead of a disposable cup
Always, I love the cookie!
Wake up in the morning with the Sun and not alarm clocks
This one works well in the summer. In the winter, though, to get up at 6 am, I need an alarm clock – and guts!
Backup my work on USB
I mean pen drives and external hard drives instead of CDs. Does anyone still use CDs for this??
Reuse and repurpose old clothes and other textiles with my sewing machine
I love sewing! I’ve already turned an old pair of jeans into a mini-skirt and make napkins and handkerchiefs from old bed sheets. Besides saving money, it’s fun! The Frugal Girl has an e-book on Reuse, Refresh and Repurpose, filled with easy ideas!
Choose glass instead of plastic
Besides being 100% recyclable, I reuse and repurpose glass jars and other containers for homemade beauty and cleaning products.
I collect bath water with a bucket (the water that keeps running while waiting for the hot water) and then use it it the toilet. I also water my plants with rain water.
Raise environmental awareness
In person and online.
Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues
Cut 20 cm squares out of old cotton sheets with a zigzag scissor and it’s done!
Handwash your dishes
Handwash all my dishes with cold water.
Brush teeth with a glass to save water
I’ve actually made the test: with running water I used to spend 2 liters of water; with a glass, it’s only 250 mL.
Use homemade and natural beauty care products
An ecological and economic alternative! More info here.
Walk more to work
Besides saving gas, it’s an alternative way to exercise.
Use a reusable water bottle
That is instead of disposable plastic bottles. A Frank Green bottle, for instance.
Use fabric groceries bags
I always carry one with me. If I need more bags, I buy some plastic ones and reuse them as garbage bags.
Use only one glass a day
Instead of using a different glass each time I drink water, I keep the first glass by the water bottle.
Don’t use hand-driers or paper towels
I mean in public toilets. Using my jeans to dry my hands works perfectly!