Making “greener,” more environmental decisions has become apart of a lot of our lives. And I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of tips being green that you don’t need to hear again. I’m with you. But in honor of Earth Day (April 22), I want to share some new tips–and if you’ve heard them before, I encourage you to actually adopt them or expand on them. Here they go:

1. Make ALL your shopping bags reusable: Here in DC, there’s a new 5 cent tax for every paper or plastic bag you use. This has really forced the city to buckle down. It’s no longer just “a good idea” to bring a reusable bag. If you don’t, you pay. I think it’s time for everyone to adopt that practice. If you don’t, we will all pay eventually.

2. Turn off the shower when shaving: Bonus points for doing it while you lather. I would never make you go there though; I enjoy my showers too much.

3. Fill two water bottles with stones and water, seal, and put in the bottom of your toilet tank. This way every time you flush, that space of water is not being refilled. This saves about 10 gallons of water a day and does NOT mess with your plumbing. I’ve had mine for the past 6 months.

4. Along the same lines, if you’re just hanging out at home, follow the “mellow yellow” rule. All for the fishes, people.

5. The EPA says the air inside the typical home is on average 2-5 times more polluted than air outside—and in extreme cases 100 times more contaminated—largely because of household cleaners and pesticides: Make your own toxic-free cleaners:

  • For an effective glass cleaner, use a mixture of half white vinegar and half water.
  • Baking soda and cornstarch are both good carpet deodorizers.
  • To clean up mildew and mold, use a mixture of lemon juice or white vinegar and salt.
  • A paste of baking soda, salt, and hot water makes a great oven cleaners.
  • Do more research online!

6. Follow Meatless Mondays:
Livestock takes up more space than humans, they also have more waste that we don’t know what to do with. The industrial-farming techniques are unsustainable and failing. Fuel for transportation releases CO2 gases–especially when ground beef is coming from 5 different cows from 3 different work-plants.  I could keep going here, but I’ll move on. And if you already do Meatless Mondays, add Thursdays in there too.

7. Strategically use window blinds, shades and planted trees to shade the sun during the warmer months and keep your house cooler naturally.

8. Shop local, shop organic. You’ve heard this one. Local=less transportation fuel. Organic=less synthetic/chemical pesticides and waxes used (as well as a ton of health benefits). But what about organic clothing? Cotton and other fabrics use synthetic and harmful chemicals too, that pollute the air, soil, and can be harmful to humans. This is a tad beyond me right now, but is worth keeping in mind.

9. Observe the Speed Limit: Driving 10 mph above 60 is like adding 50 cents to the price of a gallon of gas, since higher speed equals more guzzling.

10. Don’t use the garbage disposal too often: A ton of water is being used this way. Disposals are hyped to be environmental because the waste is supposed to go to wastewater treatment plants where organic waste is separate and can be used for composting needs (in short). However, most disposal matter ends up getting mixed in with the regular dump which people have to sift through—not sustainable. Compost instead.

Happy Earth Day all! And if you’ve been looking for ways to celebrate: I hope this helps, but keep looking! 

How are you going green today?