Going green doesn’t require a huge commitment like putting up solar panels or buying an electric car. There are easy things you can do that will cause minimal disruption to your life and minimal pain to your pocketbook. Here are seven easy things you can do starting this Earth Day to go a little more green.
Eat Less Meat
This one might not seem easy to the hardcore carnivores out there, but even just electing one day a week to go vegetarian can be a benefit to the environment. Currently 60 percent of food-related emissions come from the prevalence of meat in people’s diets. Not only that, but almost 70 percent of all agricultural land is dedicated to livestock. Much of that land that could be returned to nature or used to house and feed even more people if we all cut back on our meat consumption.
Turn Down Your Thermostat
The best part about this tip is that you can help the environment no impact on your day to day life. The Department of Energy estimates that turning your thermostat down 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day will reduce energy consumption by 10 percent. You can keep the thermostat lower while you’re not at home and limit its effect on you entirely. For about $150 you can also get a smart thermostat that will do all that for you automatically.
Get Some Tote Bags
If you’re a family of four you probably won’t get more than four bags of groceries a week. Just pick up four totes (the most environmentally friendly are actually made from recycled plastic, not canvas) to keep that food in. You can also reduce your use of plastic bags by not putting every piece of produce you get into one. Your apples and oranges will be just fine loose in your bag.
Turn Off Your Computer Or At Least Your Monitor
You might use your phone every hour of every day, but you probably aren’t constantly on your computer. Energy Star estimates that if just 1000 monitors were turned off each day it would save 200,000 kWh per year.
Go To A Farmers’ Market
Buying local isn’t just a catchphrase, it’s actually good for the environment. If you can buy food that is grown nearby, which is more likely for produce at a farmers’ market than at a grocery store, it means that it isn’t using fossil fuel to travel thousands of miles across the country.
Make Notes On Your Phone
Maybe you already do this, but if you’re still using Post Its and scraps of paper to write your reminders, you’re wasting paper. 77 percent of Americans own smart phones that will store your notes digitally and in a way you can’t possibly lose.
Don’t Be Tied To “Sell By” Dates
Americans throw away more than 100 billion pounds of food every year. Much of that is because people read the date on their milk carton or box of cereal, see it’s passed and throw whatever is left away. Don’t do that! As the FDA says “if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly.” The best indications that a food isn’t safe to eat are sight and smell. If it looks or smells bad, it probably is, but do your own investigation and don’t let an arbitrary date guide your decision making. You’ll save lots of food if you do.