One of my family’s New Year’s resolutions this year was to focus on finding more ways to go green. The kids have been learning about the environment in school, which has made it a team effort. Doing our part is kind of a win-win for us too, as giving back also helps us save money.
Simple changes like unplugging the electronics when you go to bed can help cut down on the energy bill. Instead of jumping to turn on the heater the moment you start to get cold, put on a pair of socks and a sweatshirt first. There are many small ways you can make a big difference in no time.
Just check out these 10 ways you, too, can go green this year.
Get a Compost Bin 1 of 10
About 36 million tons of food waste go to landfills each year. Reduce the waste by keeping a compost bin under your sink and filling it with food scraps, coffee grinds, and more. This is a great way to help decrease waste in landfills, while also benefitting soil.
Learn more at Pretty Prudent.
Unplug 2 of 10
Did you know that we spend over 10 billion dollars a year on energy costs from plugged in devices in standby mode? Make a difference by plugging your electronics into a power strip, and conserve energy by flicking the switch to power them all off. Even when you're not using them, they are still drawing energy.
Buy this Unplug collage for $43 at Hollie Chastain Art.
Opt for Energy-Efficient Light bulbs 3 of 10
So I don't exactly mean growing plants in your lightbulbs, but that is pretty cool. Make a change in your energy bill by replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs such as LED lights and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL). Energy-efficient light bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, and they can last 10 - 25 times longer.
Buy the lightbulb vase for $16 at Etsy.
Clean House (and Give Back!) 4 of 10
With spring cleaning coming up, you might have the urge to purge. Instead of tossing things out into the garbage, take it to your local second-hand store. Only about 16% to 18% of Americans shop at thrift stores in a given year. Consider buying items at a thrift store before running out and buying them brand-new. Dish ware and toys can be a few good items to start with.
Photo via Wikimedia.
Watch Your Thermostat 5 of 10
Try to limit the amount of A/C and heat you use throughout the year by turning it off when you're not home or layering with blankets and warm socks when it's cold. A programmable thermostat can help do it automatically so you don't have to think about it. This one you can actually work directly from your phone. Another trick is to set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. This can save you about 5% - 15% on your annual heating bill.
Buy it for $249 at The Nest.
Photo via Wikimedia.
Support Sustainable Companies 6 of 10
Purchase Recycled Plastic Home Essentials 7 of 10
Plastic in landfills can take about 450 years to completely break down! When you need to buy new items for your kitchen or home, look out for recycled plastic options.
Buy these recycled plastic bowls for $34.82 at Not on the High Street.
Don’t Forget Those Reusable Bags 8 of 10
A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade. Do your part when you go to the grocery store by bringing reusable bags. These bags fold into tiny strawberries you can put in your purse! Keep a few reusable bags in the house to use when you go out for day outings or for toys.
Buy it for $3.99 Amazon.
For Towels, Choose Cloth Instead of Paper 9 of 10
Try to use paper towels sparingly to cut down on costs and help decrease the waste in landfills. About 1/3 of landfills are paper products such as paper towels. Keep a handful of cloth dishtowels on hand to use for smaller messes.
Buy it for $0.79 at Ikea.
… Recycle! 10 of 10
This one's a cinch: recycle! It takes about 95% less energy to recycle an aluminum can than it does to make a brand new one. Do your part at home by getting a few extra trash bins and labeling them for paper, plastic, and glass. Instead of using trash bins, consider recycling your brown paper bags and using them to store your recycled material.
Photo via Goodss Passion.
Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.