Just some quick, easy to implement tips to start you down the path to a Geener Lifestyle.
1. Recycle scrap paper from the printer.
Save paper that is printed only on one side and use the other side. Use it whole to print draft copies on the blank side, or cut it up into smaller sizes for shopping lists and notes. Let the kids use it for art paper to draw and color on.
2. Don’t buy products made from PVC or vinyl.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is used to make many household items such as shower curtains, flooring and even children’s toys. The entire process of making products from this material pollutes the environment – and they pollute the air in your house. Avoid these products altogether for a cleaner environment and a healthier home.
3. Buy products that are made to last.
We have become a throw away society. It seems that every day we create more products that are meant to be thrown in the garbage after only a few uses. Instead of buying something because it is cheap, buy something that is good quality and is meant to last. It will cost you more today, but you will be doing the environment a favor and in the end you’ll most likely spend less since you won’t have to replace that product as frequently.
4. Buy products from companies that are environmentally responsible.
Companies that use recycled materials and package their items with less excess waste understand the importance of protecting our environment. Speak with your money and let them know that you appreciate their eco-friendly mindset by purchasing their products. For other companies that are not doing their part, send them a letter to let them know that as a consumer you expect more from them. They won’t ever change if there is no incentive to!
5. Opt for reusable shopping bags.
A plastic bag takes an estimated 1,000 years to break down in the landfill. Think about how many you use every time you go grocery shopping. That is a mind boggling amount of waste! Instead, purchase reusable shopping bags that are made of canvas and take them with you when you shop. Alternatively, most stores have large cardboard boxes that you can pack your purchases in instead of using plastic bags.
6. Buy second hand products whenever possible.
You may be amazed at the items some people are getting rid of. Next time you’re looking for a product that you think may be available second hand, take some time to look in your local paper or visit websites such as craigslist.com. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can advertise for the item and have sellers contact you.
7. Opt for vintage clothing and jewelry.
Even Hollywood has caught on to the vintage clothing craze! Next time you’re looking for a hot new outfit or the perfect necklace, consider a second hand store that has lots of stylish options from years gone by. You’ll save those items from being wasted and look great while doing it.
8. Buy organic and all-natural products.
In response to consumer demand, a lot of manufacturers are now making products that are organic or use all-natural materials such as bamboo. From clothing to hardwood flooring you can find almost anything that has been created in a more environmentally friendly way. Although you may pay a little more, it is worth the investment to know you are helping the planet with your choice.
9. Purchase products you use often in bulk.
Single serving food products are a huge waste of packaging materials. By buying in bulk you cut down on the amount of packaging that needs to be thrown out. And buying more at a time means less trips to the store to pick things up, so you save on fuel, too.
10. Use your own coffee mug instead.
When purchasing coffee to go, bring your own reusable coffee mug instead of taking one of their throw away paper cups. Even little reductions like this can make a big difference if enough people do them.
11. Carpool whenever possible.
Although it may take a little more organizing to car pool, it can dramatically cut down on emissions. A city bus can hold as many passengers as 40 cars! And the average seven person van emits almost seven times less pollution than a car with only one commuter.
12. Walk or ride instead of driving.
Studies show that the average person makes about 2,000 car trips every year that are less than 2 miles from their home. Instead of always using the car, try walking or cycling instead. Even if you could convert a portion of these trips you would be cutting down significantly on the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere.
13. Don’t leave your car idling.
Not only does it waste fuel, but idling also puts out a lot of unnecessary pollutants. A good rule of thumb is to turn your car off if you are sitting in traffic for more than 10 seconds. Next time you are waiting for someone, be sure to turn your car off. Don’t start your car ahead of time on a cold morning – the best way to heat it up is to start driving it. And opt to go into a restaurant instead of using the drive thru. Making these simple changes can save a lot of pollution.
14. Use less gas when you’re driving.
You use the most gas when you are accelerating, which also causes additional wear and tear on your engine and tires, and makes your car run less efficiently. So save fuel – and cut down on emissions – by using your cruise control when you are driving on the highway. Also, decreasing your driving speed by even a few miles an hour can save you 10% on your fuel.
15. Keep up with the maintenance on your car.
A car that is in need of a tune-up or that has improperly inflated tires will use more gas than it needs to. Be sure to keep up with a regular maintenance schedule to avoid any potential problems. This also includes regular oil changes and changing your air filter as recommended by your car manufacturer.
16. Demand your members of government change policies.
By requiring car manufacturers to make cars more efficient, we can significantly reduce the amount of CO2 in the air. Write to your members of government and ask them to raise fuel economy standards to 40 miles/gallon. Unless they are required to do so, car manufacturers have little incentive to do it on their own.
17. Buy a hybrid.
If you’re in the market for a new car, look into options for hybrids. Although they cost more upfront, they will save you money on gas and maintenance. But more importantly they can have a big impact on the amount of green house gases that are release into the atmosphere. If you can’t afford a hybrid, at least look for the most fuel-efficient car available within your price range.
18. Drive less by planning ahead.
Instead of running out every time you think of something you need, plan ahead and make just one trip. Not only will you use less gas, but you’ll also free up more of your time for doing things other than running errands.
19. Convert to 100 percent biodiesel.
Of course, this will only work if you own a car with a diesel engine. But if you do, switching to 100 percent biodiesel fuel will cut your carbon dioxide emissions by more than 75 percent. So your car’s exhaust will not be as harmful to humans and other living creatures as petroleum based fuel exhaust.
20. Convert to 20 percent biodiesel.
You can still make a big impact on reducing carbon emissions if you only use 20 percent biodiesel. Mixing biodiesel with regular diesel fuel in a 20 to 80 ratio is a good option for people who drive diesel cars and don’t live close to biodiesel refueling stations, but still want to improve air quality and do their part to reduce global warming.