Browse our Green Tips and learn new ways to make eco-friendly choices in your daily life.
1. Consumable gifts like wine, coffee, fresh flowers and fair-trade coffee reduce the burden of plastics and un-recyclable materials.
2. Give gifts of humanitarian service. The Seva Foundation, Heifer International and World Gifts are just a few of the organizations that allow you to make donations in someone’s name to help with worldwide issues like poverty, hunger and disease.
3. Use old newspaper or maps to wrap presents.
4. Instead of sending paper invitations and gift cards, choose electronic e-cards and e-vites.
5. Giving services instead of goods will help to reduce material consumption. Consider giving gifts certificates for professional services like massages and spa treatments or offer up your own baby-sitting, snow shoveling, cooking or dog walking skills.
6. Minimize your holiday light displays and use LED decorative lights when possible – they use up to 95% less energy than traditional bulbs.
7. Gold mining wreaks havoc on the environment, so consider buying used gold that can then be reset by your local jeweler.
8. If you use a real Christmas tree, purchase a potted tree. This way you can plant it in the ground after the holiday celebrations but you will have to have dug the hole in the fall. Be sure to recycle your tree. Contact your city hall for recycling locations and pick-up of trees after the holidays—many local communities now have Christmas tree recycling programs.
9. When cooking holiday dinners, buy from a local turkey farmer.
10. When decorating for the holidays, consider purchasing items made of natural substances. Or make edible decorations.
11. Reuse gift bags that you receive gifts in.
12. Avoid using metallic and glossy wrapping papers. These papers are toxic when burned and can not be recycled.
13. Don’t buy products made from endangered animals.
14. Use old holiday cards to create name tags for gifts.
15. When shipping packages, recycle old boxes and use shredded office paper as packing material.
16. If you are getting married, do not use save the date cards. This will save you money and will save paper.
1. Choose foods with minimal packaging and always recycle packaging you can’t avoid.
2. Eat organic foods when possible. They’ll keep harmful pesticides out of your body
and the earth.
3. Your freezer is more efficient when full, so take up any extra space with old milk or OJ containers filled with water.
4. Keep your microwave clean and use it often. These timesaving appliances can be up to 4.8 times more energy efficient than traditional electric ovens.
5. Do not rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers can do the job, so that pre-wash only wastes water.
6. If your dishwasher or oven is located next to the refrigerator, try rearranging your kitchen. The heat from these appliances makes the fridge work harder.
7. Bring your own bags to the supermarket. Cloth bags or even your old paper and plastic ones will do the trick.
8. Substitute paper towels and napkins with cloth napkins, sponges and cloth towels.
9. According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans throw away more than 60 million plastic water bottles each day. Buy a filter and switch to tap water.
10. When cooking, use the smallest pan possible to accommodate your dish and then use the burner that fits it properly. To maximize energy efficiency, pans should cover the burner, extending no more than one inch beyond the surface.
11. Often, preheating your oven is not necessary and only wastes energy.
Skip this step when you can.
12. Consider purchasing a toothbrush that uses replaceable heads. Nearly 50 million pounds of toothbrushes end up in U.S. landfills each year.
13. Buy in bulk – it will save money and reduce packaging consumption.
14. Avoid running the tap to get cold drinking water. Instead, keep drinking water
in the refrigerator.
15. Rather than wrapping your leftovers or lunch in aluminum or plastic wrap, place them in reusable containers.
16. Use unbleached coffee filters. Bleached paper products create dioxin, which is a deadly toxic that is dumped into waterways.
17. Eat less meat and more local and organic foods. Feedlots are a major source of pollution. Tropical forests are also cut down to raise beef.
18. Make your own disinfectant spray to clean with. Combine ¼ cup vinegar, 2 cups water and 10 drops lemon oil or tea-tree oil. Shake the liquid well before spraying.
19. Use club soda to clean windows and other glass surfaces.
20. Do not place your fridge near a warm spot in the kitchen. Avoid placing it near a heater or in direct sunlight.
21. Cook food in glass dishes. These are quicker than metal pans.
22. Use wood, bamboo, real linoleum (not vinyl) real cork or recycled rubber floors in your home. Vinyl is one of the worst things to have in your house because it is toxic throughout its life.
23. Don’t pre-rinse dishes before you place them in the dishwasher. By doing this you will reduce your water usage and save money.
24. Use washable cups, plates and utensals versus the ones that will be thrown away after one use.
25. Don’t microwave your food in plastic. Microwave it in glass containers. Heating plastic releases chemicals into your food and studies have recently shown that they may cause serious health problems in the long run. Plastic also starts as oil and never degrades.
26. Don’t cook with non-stick cooking pans. These pans can have toxic emissions. Use cast-iron or stainless steel cookware.
27. Buy a fridge that has the freezer on the bottom. This is more efficient because cold air settles downward.
1. Use cloth diapers when you can. If it’s impractical to switch permanently, try using them when you’re at home or on the weekends.
2. Instead of purchasing disposable razors, invest in an electric or hand razor that uses replaceable blades.
3. Put a plastic bottle in your toilet tank. In five minutes, you will be able to save one or two gallons per flush with the bottle in the tank.
4. Install a low-flow showerhead in your shower.
5. Fix any leak faucets, toilets or water pipes.
6. Buy eco-friendly cosmetics. Also consider the type of packaging that the
cosmetics come in.
1. Line drying your clothes is always best, but if you must use the dryer, do two or more loads in a row to take advantage of the hot air that’s already in there.
2. Since most of the energy used by the washing machine goes toward heating the water, restrict yourself to the warm and cold settings only.
3. Try to find an eco-friendly dry cleaner in your area. If none exist, you can do your part by returning hangers to your dry cleaner of choice and asking them to skip the plastic garment bag.
4. Clean out the lint trap in your dryer to improve circulation.
5. Use powder laundry detergents. Liquid detergents contain 70 to 80 percent water, and it costs energy and packaging to bring this water to the consumer.
1. Make your own disinfectant spray to clean with. Combine ¼ cup vinegar, 2 cups water and 10 drops lemon oil or tea-tree oil. Shake the liquid well before spraying.
2. Use club soda to clean windows and other glass surfaces.
3. Do not throw away toxic household wastes in the garbage or down the drain. These wastes include paint, paint thinner and car fluids. Check with your city hall or local recycling facility to find the proper location to dispose of these items.
4. Polish your wood surfaces with olive oil. Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice. Use a soft cloth to apply to wood.
5. To deodorize your carpets, vacuum, sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda over the carpets, leave for one hour, and then vacuum again.
6. To polish copper, try using lemon juice and a little salt or hot vinegar and a little salt on a rag.
7. To polish chrome try using white flour on a dry rag.
8. To polish brass, try equal parts of salt and flour, with a little vinegar on a dry rag.
9. An eco-friendly furniture polish can be made by dissolving 1 tsp of lemon oil in 1 cup of vegetable oil. Apply the mixture with a clean dry rag.
10. Baking soda is an excellent abrasive cleaner that is very effective and yet gentle on surfaces.
1. Opt for the electronic versions of bills, airline tickets and concert tickets.
2. Use a mug in the office instead of disposable cups.
3. If you can, try to telecommute to work. With instant messaging, video chats, teleconferencing and e-mail you can avoid driving into the office every day.
4. Get off of national mailing lists to avoid receiving junk mail. Send your name, address and signature to: Mail Preference Service, co/o Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.
5. Turn off your screen saver on your computer. The EPA estimates that using a computer’s “sleep mode” can reduce its energy consumption by 60 to 70 percent.
6. Don’t print out every e-mail or member that you receive. Read and delete the ones that you do not need, and file others electronically if you might need them later.
7. Set your printers to print double sided or reuse the back of paper already printed.
8. Buy copier paper with a minimum 30 percent postconsumer recycled content.
9. When possible, use paper clips, staples, string or non-toxic glue instead of adhesive tape.
10. Use stick-type glues or basic white glue. Avoid glues and cements that emit the smell of solvents.
11. Use refillable pens and pencils rather than disposable ones.
12. Read the local newspaper online each day rather than having it delivered to your home. For a small fee, newspapers even offer the same version of the printed paper online, but in PDF form.
13. Revamp office lighting by rearranging furniture to maximize the benefits of natural daylight, using desk lamps instead of overhead lighting and replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. They are much improved — the new ones give a bright and pleasant light.
14. Encourage recycling by ensuring that staff members have small recycling bins at their desks.
15. Bring your lunch to work in recyclable containers instead of ordering takeout. If you must indulge in delivery, be sure to use reusable plates, utensils and napkins. Save the plastic take-out containers for use at home.
16. Use a laptop computer rather than a desktop computer. A laptop uses much less electricity.
1. If you’re in the market for new appliances, consider the new energy-efficient models. Front-loading washers and dryers are extremely energy-efficient and anything with the Energy Star logo is designed to meet strict energy standards.
2. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them. Many still pull current, even when they’re in the off position.
3. Substitute your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
4. Purchase rechargeable batteries. Nearly 3 million batteries are sold and subsequently tossed in the United States each year.
5. Before you leave for your holiday destination, turn your water heater to the “vacation” or lowest possible setting.
6. Seal air leaks in your home, starting with the attic and basement. Then move on to windows, doors, vents and electrical sockets.
7. Make sure your home is properly insulated and consider green insulation materials such as sheep wool or recycled materials.
8. If you own an electric hot water heater, wrap it in an insulating blanket to save power.
9. If you’re in the market for new appliances, consider the new energy-efficient models. Front-loading washers and dryers are extremely energy-efficient and anything with the Energy Star logo is designed to meet strict energy standards.
10. Use less heat and air conditioning. Adjusting your thermostat just two degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter can save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide.
11. During the day open up the blinds and take advantage of natural sunlight for both warmth and light.
12. Fix leaking faucets in your home to save water.
13. During the winter months change your air filters at least once a month. The heater will use more energy when it is full of dust.
14. If you have a furnance, fireplace or gas heater, have them serviced regularly. This prevents deadly fumes.
15. Try setting your thermostat two degrees lower this year than you did last year.
16. Install plastic window cover kits or insulate your windows by hanging drapes or layers of curtains. This helps to provide an air lock which can keep your house cooler in the summer as well as warmer in the winter.
17. Turn off lights and unplug electronics after hours in the office.
18. Recycle ink cartridges for printers.
19. Purchase recycled ink cartridges for printers.
20. Plug gaps between windows and doors that may be small. Plugging these leaks can reduce energy costs.
21. Install an aluminum-clad storm door at your home. This type of door is energy-efficient and it will help to insulate the entryway of your home.
22. Clean our your air conditioner filters and replace them regularly. A dirty filter hampers the airflow, costing you more to run the system.
23. Install glass doors on your fireplace. Glass doors are safer than fireplace screens and they reduce the amount of heat that escapes through the chimney from your home.
1. Break the addiction to fossil fuels by reducing your gasoline consumption. Public transportation, carpooling, biking and walking are all valid alternatives.
2. Avoid Styrofoam coffee cups by carrying your own travel mug.
3. Start a “no idle” rule at your child’s school. When picking up your children from school, turn off your engine while you wait.
4. Keep the tires on your vehicles property inflated. This reduces tread wear and conserves fuel.
5. Keep your vehicles well-tuned. Vehicles that are not property tuned can emit more pollutants. A well-tuned vehicle can also improve gas mileage.
6. Try to avoid “topping-off” the gas tank when refueling. Spilled gasoline evaporates and contributes to air pollution.
7. Plan your errands and keep your driving to a minimum. This can help you avoid traffic and reduce fuel consumption.
8. Remove excess weight from your vehicle. For example, you may have unused items in your trunk. The extra weight makes the engine work harder and consume more fuel.
9. Keep the tires on your vehicles properly inflated to save gas.
10. If you can, try to telecommute to work. With instant messaging, video chats, teleconferencing and e-mail you can avoid driving into the office every day.
1. Download music onto an MP3 player instead of buying or burning CDs.
2. When flying book electronic tickets. This reduces paper waste.
3. When going on vacation, pull the plug on any unnecessary appliances, such as TVs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves and toasters. These items can still use energy even if they are in their off mode.
4. Have a tag sale to sell your unwanted items. Items that you don’t sell can be donated to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.
5. Think outside the box for reusing items. Examples, glass jars can be painted and used as flower vases, plastic milk containers can be turned into a bird feeder, etc.
6. Avoid bottled drinks at bars. Instead, ask for a draft beer.
7. Use a digital camera instead of a traditional camera.
8. Join the library to borrow books instead of going to the bookstore to buy new ones.
9. Rather than purchase bags to pick up after your pets outside, reuse plastic
10. Fill your aquarium with farm-raised fish, rather than fish that are caught in the wild. Fish that are caught in the wild are often caught using cyanide or dynamite—not good for the surrounding environment.
11. Use a canvas or hemp pet leash and collar rather than a nylon one. Nylon emits a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.