Although many Americans desire a greener lifestyle, they don’t always know what to do to get it. According to our recent survey, 18% of respondents cited a lack of information as the primary factor preventing them from eco-friendly living. Although only 6% of respondents attributed their green inhibitions to apathy, survey results showed an unresolved discrepancy as to who should be responsible for cultivating an eco-friendly home. Nearly one-third of respondents claim this to be their own responsibility, while others believe that it falls to the property owner (9%), community residents (5%) or city government (3%).
Fortunately, simple actions can add a little “green” to any lifestyle. In honor of the 40thanniversary of Earth Day, Rent.com offers 40 easy tips for greener living:
On the Go
1. Ride your bike or walk your errands on the weekends.
2. Take the bus or carpool to work at least one day a week.
3. Change your commute time if you can – driving in lighter traffic saves gas.
4. Bring your own travel coffee mug with you to your favorite coffee shop.
5. Install low flow shower heads.
6. Put a brick or two in the toilet tank to displace and save water.
7. Paint with low- or no-VOC paints.
8. Upgrade your appliances to “Energy Star” compliant models.
9. Use energy saving light bulbs known as candescent fluorescent lamps or CFLs.
10. Bring plants into your home; they improve air quality by removing toxins in the air.
11. Replace synthetic carpets with natural cotton and wool carpets to reduce VOCs.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
12. Buy used goods off of eBay instead of buying new ones.
13. Reuse gift bags and save un-torn wrapping paper and bows to use again later.
14. Trade books with your friends, invest in an e-book reader or use the library.
15. Use Email and Evites in lieu of paper invitations.
16. Compost your food scraps with a worm bin.
17. Take reusable bags with you to shop at the farmer’s market and grocery store.
18. Use a water bottle or coffee mug at work.
19. Use cloth rags and napkins instead of paper towels and napkins.
Around the House
20. In cold weather, turn the heat down to 55 degrees both at night and anytime you are away from home – it saves energy and money.
21. Put all your electronics on power strips and power them down every night.
22. Turn off the lights every time you leave the room.
23. Use baking soda and vinegar to clean instead of toxic household cleaners.
24. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load.
25. Wash your clothes at cooler water temps and buy a drying rack to air dry your clothes.
26. Use catnip, instead of toxic pesticides, to repel cockroaches.
27. If you like to light candles, choose ones that are free of lead, petroleum and scents.
28. Wash your car on grass, gravel or other permeable surfaces to prevent grease and metals from running off into storm drains; better yet, go to a commercial car wash. They’re required by The Clean Water Act to send their water to a treatment plant.
29. Buy your groceries at the local farmers market or find a grocery store that sources their produce locally.
30. Put a stop to “junk” mail; let services like 41pounds.org or GreenDimes help. Shop in local stores or from online catalogs, not paper ones.
31. Buy goods made from recycled materials.
32. Steer clear of “wrinkle free” sheets; they usually have been treated with formaldehyde.
33. Buy liquid soap in bulk and re-fill plastic dispenser bottles to reduce waste from packaging.
34. Eliminate use of body sprays; the propellants in these products often contain volatile organic compounds, VOCs, which pollute the air.
35. Quit smoking to reduce waste in streets, waterways and public areas while you improve air quality and your health.
36. Use shampoos, soaps and lotions that are certified organic or contain only natural ingredients. Your skin is your largest organ, treat yourself and the planet better by avoiding the harmful chemicals in many mainstream products.
37. Get your kids’ school to serve local, organic milk to reduce the toxic load of their lunchtime meals.
38. Start a community garden and swap produce with your neighbors.
39. Green your business with a few simple steps such as double-sided copying, re-usable water bottles and coffee mugs, and narrowing margins in documents that you print.
40. Petition your city officials to make it more walking- and bike-friendly by installing sidewalks, cross-walks, pedestrian-only zones and bike paths.
Check out our Pinterest board for more eco-friendly living tips.