It’s easy for eco-minded folks to forget that it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference. Making an impact doesn’t have to cost you loads of time or money. Last year we found 20 little things you can do to help the environment in less than 20 minutes. This year, we found 20 more.
1. Open those windows
The late-summer and fall months are full of perfect open-window days. You may have been cranking the air conditioner all summer, costing you hundreds of dollars on your electric bill and burning loads of energy. The next time you step outside and feel a pleasant breeze, open those windows and enjoy a cheaper bill and a much smaller footprint.
2. Cook for compost
A zero-waste meal rarely happens by accident. Plan your meals ahead of time – not just for flavor but also for waste reduction. Choose foods packaged in recyclable material whenever possible. And if you’re feeling ambitious, plan a family meal made only from compostable ingredients. Don’t have a compost pile? Check out Earth911 for tips on starting one.
3. Plan an unplugged party
With summer quickly drawing to a close, now is the perfect time to plan an end-of-the-season soirée. And what makes a better venue than the great outdoors? Invite friends and family to your outdoor fiesta, and tell them to shut off the thermostat and all electrical appliances in their homes. Turn off all your electricity, and head outside with loved ones for an unplugged good time.
4. Put your shades to use
For many of us, curtains and shades are more for decoration than anything else. But using them effectively can help regulate temperature in your home and reduce air conditioning use. Close your curtains during the day to keep your home cool, and open shades and windows at night to let the summer breeze flow through.
5. Use a tote
More and more municipalities are banning plastic bags from grocery stores and other shopping stops. But if your hometown hasn’t made the switch mandatory, take matters into your own hands by ditching plastic bags for good. Keep tote bags handy in your car or desk for impromptu trips to the grocery store. And totes aren’t just for food shopping. Take one with you on your next trip to the mall, and carry all your purchases in one reusable bag.