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Natural Living

50 Ways to Waste Less and Conserve More

Maybe you're not ready to sell your car, go off the grid, or use recycled toilet paper; but in the world of environmental consciousness, every little bit helps. Try incorporating some of these easy (and realistic) tips into your life, and do your part to save the planet!

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Looking for easy ways to waste less, conserve more, and celebrate Earth Day by greening up your lifestyle? Here a 50 simple ways to get started.

  1. Eat Fair Trade chocolate, and support small farmers. Learn more about Fair Trade certification and get a list of Fair Trade products at fairtradecertified.org.
  2. Recycle everything you can. To find recycling centers in your area (along with lots of great information on recycling in general), visit recyclingcenters.org.
  3. Use the dishwasher—most newer models save water. For more information on energy-saving dishwashers (along with a range of eco-based information), go to treehugger.com.
  4. Skip the cardboard coffee cup sleeve. Check etsy.com for adorable cotton and knitted reusable coffee cup sleeves.
  5. Make yarn from plastic bags (aka plarn). You can find details, along with other plastic-bag crafting ideas online at plasticbagcrafts.com.
  6. Whenever possible, wash laundry in cold water.
  7. Donate your old electronics. Visit EPA.gov for information about donating and recycling electronics.
  8. Invest in solar-powered lights/lamps in outdoor spaces.
  9. Shower, don’t bathe. You’ll save about three gallons of water.
  10. Buy organic. For everything you need to know about organic food, personal care, and cleaning products, visit ewg.org.
  11. Stop junk mail. Visit dmachoice.org to clean out your mailbox.
  12. Give old furniture a facelift. Add cushions or a fresh coat of paint. For nontoxic paint brands, go to treehugger.com and search for “No-VOC Paint”.
  13. Use rechargeable, not disposable, batteries.
  14. Choose green dry cleaners, and skip the plastic bags.
  15. Join a ride share program. To find one in your area, try icarpool.com or rideshare.org.
  16. Repurpose your junk into fun craft projects. Visit creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com for endless ideas.
  17. Pack goods in old newspapers when shipping, never Styrofoam or packing peanuts.
  18. Stay at eco-friendly hotels and discover great ecotourism vacations at greenglobaltravel.com.
  19. Wrap gifts in linen napkins or colorful scarves, or use a basket or clay flower pot.
  20. Catch rain in buckets to water your garden.
  21. Use bars instead of liquid soap in plastic bottles.
  22. Choose cloth-napkins, towels, diapers, and rags.
  23. Shred non-glossy paper and use to mulch plants.
  24. Make your own non-toxic cleaners. Try our essential oil cleaning recipes.
  25. Precycle: buy only what you absolutely need.
  26. Bake in glass instead of metal, and lower the temperature by 25 degrees if possible.
  27. Buy organic cotton balls.
  28. Go electronic. Scan and email invitations, cards, and letters.
  29. Shut off computers and other office equipment overnight.
  30. Refill travel-sized cosmetics and body care products.
  31. Invest in glass storage containers for leftovers.
  32. Buy juice concentrates or powdered drink mixes to save on packaging.
  33. Get nonstop flights. Takeoffs and landings use more fuel and release more emissions.
  34. Avoid single servings. Buy large containers and pack your own.
  35. Never buy Styrofoam. Polystyrene is an environmental nightmare.
  36. Choose “1” and “2” containers. They’re easier to recycle.
  37. Buy a water filter, and carry a stainless steel or glass bottle instead of buying bottled water. Try newwaveenviro.com or lifefactory.com.
  38. Post-pandemic, continue to hold virtual meetings and work from home when possible to avoid driving and air travel.
  39. Buy recycled office paper and recycle all office paper. Place a bin next to a trash can.
  40. Build a compost bin for food scraps.
  41. Choose eco-friendly detergents from companies like Grab Green, ECOS, Seventh Generation, and Biokleen.
  42. If you’re renting a car during travels, choose a hybrid rather than a gas guzzler.
  43. Boil only as much water as you need to make one cup of tea.
  44. Buy produce in season and support restaurants that serve locally grown food. Visit localharvest.org to find restaurants and farmers’ markets in your town.
  45. When you mow the lawn, skip bagging and leave grass clippings to nourish the soil.
  46. Replace water-hungry grass with succulents and desert plants.
  47. Wash full loads of laundry. Half loads waste energy.
  48. Hang clothes to air dry when possible.
  49. Use recycled tiles for flooring.
  50. Go to bed early, and save on electricity from lights.

Need recycling tips and locations? We like Recyclingcenters.org.

To find a list of Earth Day activities in your area, go to earthday.org.