Having a positive impact on the environment is actually quite simple; contrary popular belief, it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to go green. You can start following these tips today to save money, lessen your carbon footprint, and lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Save Energy

Plant trees around your house in strategic locations so that they provide more shade and reduce the need for you to use air-conditioning.

Switch to Energy Star-rated compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy than standard bulbs and boast a longer lifespan.

Unplug your household appliances when you’re not using them.

Wash your clothes in cold water. Up to 85 percent of the energy used to wash clothes in a washing machine goes to heating the water.

Dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of in a dryer.

Save Water

Take shorter showers to lower your water and energy bills, as well as conserve water.

Only run your dishwasher when it’s completely full. Running your dishwasher on full requires less water than washing the same amount of dishes by hand.

Switch to a front loading washing machine. Front loading washing machines use half the water that traditional, top loading washing machines use.

Water your lawn in the morning or evening. Watering your lawn in the middle of the day is not a good idea since water evaporates four to eight times faster in the mid-day heat.

Switch to a low flow showerhead.

Save Fuel

Improve your car’s mileage by checking the pressure of each tire every month, and adding air if necessary. Doing this can improve your car’s mileage by about 3 percent.

Driving at higher speeds mean more gas is guzzled, so slow down to save on gas.

Bike to work or school. Just by biking to work two days a week, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,600 pounds per year.

Move closer to your workplace. The rent may be higher if you live closer to the office, but you’ll save money in the long run since you won’t have to commute as far.

Protect the Ocean

Choose sustainable seafood to prevent the destruction of fish populations.

Reduce the amount of plastic you use and recycle as much as possible. The more you reduce the amount of trash you produce, the less trash will end up in our oceans.

Use non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products.

Choose organic produce to lessen the amount of toxic chemicals that seep into the groundwater and eventually make their way into the ocean.

Eat Sustainably

Buy fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market to support your local economy and reduce the amount of food that needs to be shipped from a far distance.

Grow your own food and compost your kitchen scraps.

Eat less meat. By eating meat less often or eliminating it from your diet altogether, you’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money, and improve your health.

Buy organic produce. Organic produce is grown without toxic chemicals, which erode the soil, deplete the soil of essential nutrients, and pollute our lakes, streams, and oceans. Organic produce is also more nutritious.

Buy whole foods and prepare your own meals instead of buying processed foods, which have to be packaged and transported.

Think before You Buy

When possible, borrow books and movies from the library.

Buy food in bulk to save money and avoid packaging.

Invest in durable, high quality products because they last longer. You won’t have to buy replacement items as frequently, so you’ll save money in the long run.

Buy used items instead of new items whenever possible.

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