Everyone wants to do their part to help the environment, but not many people know where to start. Here are 80 things, both big and small, that you can do to help the environment.
1. Bring your own shopping bags.
It's no secret that plastic shopping bags are bad for the environment, so bring your own reusable ones. Most stores sell their own in store for relatively cheap, but you can also use backpacks or old bags that you have that are big enough to carry groceries in. most stores might even give you a discount for bringing your own bags!
2. Use a reusable water bottle.
Water bottles are one of the biggest plastic wastes humans produce, but it's easy to avoid. Buying a reusable water bottle will save you money and are easy enough to refill. Most offices have drinkable water somewhere in it, whether at the cooler or a filter, and most college campuses have filtered water fountains.
3. Buy a water filter.
If the tap water in your house isn't the best to drink, try buying a water filter to reduce the amount of bottled water you have to buy for your home.
4. Try to carpool.
Whether it be going on dates, running errands, or going to school, try and see if someone is going where you're going and go together. It will help to reduce gas emissions and traffic.
5. Use public transportation.
If you don't have a car or a friend with a car, try using public transportation before opening the Uber app. City buses and trains help reduce emissions.
If you're only going a short distance, try walking. It's great for your body and you get some outdoor time. But you don't always have to walk from Point A to Point B. If you're doing a lot of shopping in a large strip center, try parking in a central area and walking to all the stores instead of driving from store to store.
7. Time your showers.
We're not always aware of how much time we spend in the shower, but by timing it, we may reduce our shower times. Try setting a timer for five minutes or playing music and only staying in the shower for two or three songs.
8. Skip the straw.
Most places are starting to ban straws, so this one might not be that hard. However, if you notice that straws are still being used where you are dining, just politely ask for no straw and help save the turtles.
9. Keep a trash bag in your car.
Nothing is more infuriating than driving behind someone and watching them throw garbage out of their cars. If you find yourself eating on the go, or having a large amount of trash in your car at times, try keeping a trash bag in your car and throw it out (or recycle it) when it fills up.
10. Open the windows.
When the weather starts to get a little chilly, try turning off the A/C and opening the windows. This reduces gas consumption in your house and will let some fresh air in.
11. Eat local.
If you have the access to a local farmer's market, take advantage. Eating local produces less emissions because the produce had to travel less and needs to be refrigerated less.
12. Skip the meat.
Again, if you have the resources to, try going vegetarian or vegan for a day. Skip the meat and opt for a salad. Meat production is harmful to the environment in so many ways, but by reducing your meat consumption by just a little, it really does make a difference.
13. Donate to thrift stores or homeless shelters.
Instead of throwing away unwanted items like clothes, books, or electronics, donate them to a local thrift store or homeless shelter so they get another life.
14. Shop at thrift stores.
Try looking in thrift stores for cheap furniture, books for school, clothes. It helps keep all of these things out of landfills and helps keep money in your pocket.
15. Know what's recyclable.
Not everything you think is recyclable is and there are some things that are recyclable that you may not think are. Try looking into what is recyclable in your area and make a note of it to ensure you are doing you best.
16. Skip the receipt.
Receipts are a big waste of paper, as most people just shove them at the bottom of their bags and then throw them away as soon as they get home. Try and go for an emailed receipt and save a little paper.
17. Shop at bulk stores.
There are some stores that sell items like flour, sugar, and pasta in barrels that require you to bring your own containers. This helps to reduce the amount of plastic packaging that is used in food production and consumption.
18. Donate uneaten food.
Go through your pantry and donate food that is still good that you don't plan on eating to food pantries or homeless shelters. For uneaten food in your fridge, try donating it to a friend.
19. Start a compost.
Food waste is a big part of what makes up landfills and its pretty easy to avoid. Put a compost box in your back yard and put things like apple cores, banana peels, egg shells and coffee grounds in it.
20. Get a rain barrel.
Placing a rain barrel in your backyard will collect rain water which you can use to water your plants and grass.
21. Use a clothesline.
Not all clothes need to go in the dryer, some aren't supposed to. So buy a clothesline for your backyard and reduce the amount of times you need to use your dryer.
22. Start a garden.
If you have the room in your backyard, try and plant a nice little garden with some of the produce you use most. If you don't have the room in you yard, try planting a small herb garden in your kitchen.
23. Properly recycle electronics.
Electronics have batteries in them that are toxic and need to be properly recycled. Take the time to see what electronics need to be recycled where instead of just throwing your old laptop in the trash.
24. Get rid of junk mail.
Most of the mail we receive is junk mail, but there are ways around it. You can sign up to remove yourself from mailing lists and request electronic statements from your bank and credit card company.
25. Got to a professional car wash service.
Professional car wash services use a lot less water than you do when you wash your car at home. They also ensure that all of the oils that come off of your car and the soaps used to wash it don't end up in storm drains.
26. Wash your clothes in cold water.
Most clothes can be washed in cold or warm water and doing so, you save on heating and gas.
27. Get a travel mug.
Single-use coffee cups are another major contribution to landfills. Invest in a reusable coffee mug or thermos to keep your drink hotter longer. Also, most gas stations and coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup.
28. Know what expiration dates really mean.
Expiration dates on food don't necessarily mean when food spoils, but when food starts to lose its quality. A lot of food is good for at least a couple days after the expiration date, so double check before you go throwing out pounds of uneaten food.
29. Skip the take-out utensils.
If you're ordering take-out to eat at home, take a minute to leave a note asking them to skip out on the plastic utensils. Use your own and reduce your plastic waste.
30. Use a revolving door.
These doors are made to reduce the amount of air gets into and out of buildings, reducing the amount of heating and cooling that the building requires.
31. Turn the faucet off.
When brushing your teeth, or doing the dishes, make sure you turn the faucet off to reduce the amount of water waste.
32. Shave your legs outside the shower.
Shaving your legs in the shower wastes a lot of water, instead shave them at the sink and only turn the faucet on to rinse the razor.
33. Buy recycled paper products.
Recycled paper products may cost a little more, but as paper is one of the most used disposable products, it goes a long way to try to use as much recycled product as possible.
34. Don't flush.
I know this sounds gross, but if you live alone, try flushing the toilet a little less (maybe every other time) and save major amounts of water.
35. Buy an electric car.
This one is one of the priciest things you can do to help the environment, but electirc cars are easier to come by now and can really help to cut down on the amount of gas pollution.
36. Buy Tupperware.
Buying (preferably glass) Tupperware will allow you to save leftovers and reduce the amount of plastic and styrofoam take away contianers you need to use.
37. Drink loose tea.
Tea bags add unnecessary waste to landfills. Buy a tea infuser and loose tea to reduce the amount of waste that comes with your morning cup of tea.
38. Look for food with the least amount of packaging.
Some food comes with layers and layers of unnecssary packaging, so look a little and try to find food with the least amount of plastic wrapping and packaging.
39. Use your towels more than once.
Hang your towel up after you use it so it is dry for the next time. This will help reduce how much laundry you have to do.
40. Use all paper scraps.
If you use a small piece of paper to write a note on, keep the rest of the paper to write on. Rip out and recycle used pages in notebooks and then use the rest of the notebook.
41. Wear a sweater indoors.
When the weather gets colder, instead of turning the heat all the way up, try putting on a sweater and a pair of socks to help save on the amount of gas and electric you use.
42. Buy reusable K-Cups.
Most people have Keruig machines, but the single-use K-Cups can be very wasteful. Instead, buy a reuable K-Cup and bagged coffee to reduce waste while still being able to use your preferred coffee machine.
43. Learn to sew.
Most people throw away clothes as soon as they get a hole in them, instead learn how to mend small holes in clothes to help save money and to help keep clothes out of landfills.
44. Bring your lunch.
Bringing your lunch from home, and packing it in reusable containers, means you won't be buying lunch or snacks from a vending machine, using more plastic containers and packaging.
45. Use less pesticides.
No one wants a yard or a garden full of bugs, but most pesticides are very dangerous for the environment and end up washing into the water supply. Try finding natural and organic alternatives for the everyday pesticides you use.
46. Put a clean, dry towel in the dryer.
Putting a clean, dry towel in the dryer with your wet clothes will help your clothes dry faster, helping you use less energy.
47. Cut up plastic rings.
If you buy soda that comes has plastic rings holding it together, make sure to cut all the rings open before you recycle or throw it away. These rings are practically invisible underwater and cna be deadly to sea life.
48. Wash your hair less.
It is better for your hair to only wash it every couple of days or so, but it is also better for the environemnt. It reduces the amount of water used and the amount of chemicals washed down the drain.
49. Buy cruelty free products.
A lot of makeup nowadays is cruelty free, but if you find that a lot of your makeup isnt, make a note of it and remeber to buy a cruelty free product once you run out.
50. Empty your car out.
A heavy car uses more gas and creates more emissions, so take the time to take all of the unnecessary items out of your car to help reduce the amount of gas you are using.
51. Buy "green" household cleaners.
Many cleaners are packed with chemicals that are dangerous to haev in your house and dangerous to wash down the drain. Instead, try to find natural alternatives or all-natural cleaners.
52. Skip the dryer sheets.
Not all of your clothes need a dryer sheet, so skip it when you can and reduce the amount of waste you produce when you do your laundry. If you do like using dryer sheets, look into decomposable or homemade dryer sheets.
53. Get a beehive in your backyard.
This one is a little tricky and will take some time and dedication, but bees are a vital part of our environment and who doesn't love fresh honey?
54. Fill the washer up.
Try and avoid doing half loads of laundry. Throw in your roommate's or your mom's laundry with yours to make sure that you have a full load of laundry everytime to prevent wasting water.
55. Buy reusable Ziploc bags.
Ziploc bags are somewhat of a staple in homes and are used in everyday life. Try opting for a reusable plastic bag to reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce.
56. Maintain your car.
Make sure that your car is working properly to avoid any leaks or unnecessary amounts of gas emissions.
57. Turn the lights off when you're not using them.
This is probably one of the oldest energy reduction tips, but still needs to be said. This also applies to times things like watching TV; if you're watching TV at night, there really isn't a need to have your living room light on, so try turning it off to save a little power.
58. Drive the speed limit.
Avoiding speeding will help to reduce the amount of gas your car burns off.
59. Visit the library.
If you are a constant reader, try checking books out from the library to avoid unnecessary paper purchases.
60. Buy energy efficient appliances.
When replacing old household appliances, try to find energy efficient versions to reduce your house's energy consumption.
61. Recycle your car's oil.
If you change your own car's oil, fill up the new oil container with the old dirt and take it to a car shop who will properly recycle it.
62. Pay bills online.
Paper bills are almost useless now, so if you can pay bills online, do so and save a few sheets of paper.
63. Don't wash your clothes after every wear.
Some clothes, like jeans, don't necessarily need to be washed every time you wear them. Just hang your clothes out to air dry and cut back on the amount of water and electricity you use.
64. Keep track of how much trash you make.
If you find yourself making a large amount of food trash, try and make a note of what you're throwing out and try to buy less of it.
65. Try to repair before you replace.
If you are able to easily repair an appliance, try doing so before replacing the appliance and adding to the amount of electronic waste.
66. Use fluorescent bulbs.
Fluorescent bulbs use less energy, so when you're replacing light bulbs in your house, try looking for fluorescent bulbs.
67. Take one napkin.
If you are in a restaurant and need to take paper napkins try to take only one or two or take the unused ones with you to reduce the amount of paper napkins wasted.
68. Buy fabric napkins.
Invest in fabric napkins to reduce the number of paper napkins or paper towels you need to use in your home.
69. Recycle all glass.
Glass is recyclable almost all the time, but many people throw it away, leaving it in landfills for hundreds of years. Instead, make sure that you are putting all of your empty glass in the recycling.
70. Cover your pool.
If you have a pool, make sure you keep it covered when it is not being used to reduce the amount of water that will evaporate and lessen the need to keep filling it up.
71. Skip the blinds, buy curtains.
Blinds don't do a good job at keeping your house insulated, but heavy curtains do, reducing the need to use your heater or A/C as much.
72. Use a French press or a coffee pot.
Single serving coffee pots use a lot of energy to make one cup of coffee, so, if possible, try opting for a French press or a coffee machine that makes a whole pot.
73. DIY everything.
If you find yourself with a lot of garbage, but don't want to throw it all out, try finding some fun DIYs that will re-purpose your garbage and keep it out of landfills.
74. Buy solar lights.
When looking for outdoor lights, try to find solar powered lights. even this little bit of energy consumption will make a huge difference.
75. Use traps, not poison.
If you have a rat problem, try using traps instead of poison. Poison is not only harmful to the animals, but also to the environment, whereas (humane) traps are better for everyone.
76. Water your lawn and plants in the morning.
Watering your plants in the morning will allow the water to seep into the soil before the day becomes too hot and evaporates the water, allowing you to use less water.
77. Use the dishwasher (only if it's full).
The dishwasher can use less water than washing dishes by hand and is also much easier. Just make sure that it's full before you go running it.
78. Air dry your hair.
Air drying your hair will not only help you from damaging your hair, but will also reduce the amount of energy you use.
79. Donate unused paint.
Paint is very toxic and can be hard to dispose of properly, so try and donate any unused paint to local organizations that might need it.
80. Participate in city clean ups.
Check and see if your city has an organized city clean up. If it doesn't have one, do your own and take a trash bag and walk your streets or your beach and pick up the trash you find.
Not everyone is going to be able to do every one of these, but if you do just a couple, you're doing your part in helping the environment.