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Going Green Tips

On this page you’ll find an ever increasing list of easy ways to color your life green. If you have an easy tip to reduce, reuse and recycle, please leave a comment and add it to the list.

1.  Don’t use straws.

2.  Press “No” when the gas pump asks if you want a receipt.

3.  Use cloth napkins.  Even if you only do this once a week, it will add up.  Try it.

4.  Use cruise control when you can.

5.  Own a reusable water bottle – fill it up at home.

6.  Cut back on paper towels by using dish cloths in the kitchen.  You’ll be so surprised at how fast you can see a difference in your trash can and your wallet.

7.   Take your own bags to the grocery store. Canvas bags hold a lot more than the store’s plastic bags, they’re washable, and they don’t rip.  And if you are the crafty type, check out these great ideas to make your own reusable shopping bags.

8.  Recycle. Call your local trash/recycling collector to see what items you can recycle in your area.

9.  Use fluorescent lightbulbs – they use about 75% less electricity.

10.  Wait until you have a full load to run the washer, dryer or dishwasher.

11.  Recycle your used electronics. Go to Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation to find a quick and easy drop-off location near you. (I did this and was so surprised at how many locations are available in my own town!)

12.  Give up individually wrapped snacks. That packaging isn’t going anywhere.

13.   Compost.  The average household produces more than 200 pounds of kitchen waste every year. You can successfully compost all forms of kitchen waste, with the exception of meat, meat products, dairy products, and high-fat foods.  But did you know, you can also compost other household waste?  Shredded paper, newsprint, toilet paper rolls, coffee filters, and even dryer lint can be added to your compost pile.

14.  Support local farmers by buying local produce.

15.  Unplug appliances when not in use.

16.  Fix that leaky faucet.

17.   Pay your bills online to eliminate the extra paper mail.

18.  Carpool.

19.  Turn down the heat.  Just turning it down 2 degrees makes a big difference in your energy bill.

20.  Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees.  Again, a little thing that adds up.

21.  100 million trees are used every year just for making junk mail!  Log on to ProQuo for a free, fast way to put an end to a lot of the junk you find in your mailbox.  I did it – it only takes a couple minutes.  Think of it like being put on the “do not call” list for telemarketers – it works the same way.

22.  Check out Big Green Purse to read about why tossing rock salt on your sidewalks and driveways isn’t eco-friendly, and to find some safe alternatives.

23.  When using an oven, minimize door opening while it’s in use.  It reduces oven temperature by 25-30 degrees every time you open the door.  Also, don’t preheat the oven unless you really need to.

24.  Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load.  You can collect the lint in a mesh produce bag to hang out for the birds to pick at when it’s nest-building time.

25.  Leave grass clippings on the yard after you mow – they decompose and return nutrients to the soil.

26.  Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.

27.  Plant trees!  They save energy and money by shading our houses in the summer, and letting the sun shine through for warmth in the winter.

28.  Spot-spray weeds with common full-strength household vinegar, on a sunny day.  It’s an organic weed killer that’s safe for you and the environment.

29.  Find new ways to reuse objects instead of sending them to the trash or recycling bin.  Check out these creative ideas:

  • 20 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Cartons – you’ll find exactly what it says, plus pictures of all of them.
  • Junk Mail Gems – offers free downloads to make gift bags (and more) out of your junk mail.
  • How to Recycle Used Coffee – you read that right, you can do more than compost your used coffee grounds.
  • WhipUp.Net – provides a picture tutorial for how to turn a skirt into a really cute purse!
  • Esprit Cabane – offers a really beautiful use for your egg cartons.
  • Natural Home – has some great tips and a common-sense approach to reusing glass jars.
  • Her Cup Overfloweth – such a great use for those frappuccino cups from Starbuck’s – turn them into no-spill paint containers for your kids!

30.  I am a HUGE book lover, but instead of buying books, I use my local library or trade books with other readers at Paperback Swap.  Check it out – it’s a great way to recycle books you’ve read and find those on your “to be read” list.  Your local library is also a place you should be visiting on a regular basis.  And it’s free!

31.  Check the air pressure in your tires.  The pounds per inch should be printed on the side of your tire.  If your tires are below where they should be, you’re increasing the amount of fuel you use.

32.  Take a closer look at the way your food is packaged.  Here’s an example:  My kids are big yogurt eaters, but some yogurt containers are recyclable and some aren’t.  We choose the ones with the little triangle on the bottom over those without.  The kids still get their yogurt, but rinse the yogurt cup and toss it into the recycling bin when they’re done.

33.  Take advantage of daylight by opening the curtains and blinds instead of turning on the lights.

34.  Check out this list of 75 things you can compost, but might not have known you could, by Planet Green.  My compost pile’s gonna be gettin’ a lot bigger.

35.  Eat locally and in season.

36.  Use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain instead of that nasty liquid from the store.  Be sure to call your kids in first ~ they’re gonna want to watch!

37.  Shut down your computer at night.

38.  Fill up your freezer.  A full freezer uses less energy than a half-empty one.

39.  Run your dishwasher only when it’s full and well-organized.

40.  Packing your own lunch every day will help you eat better and will cut down on packaging waste.

41.  If you subscribe to a magazine, pass it on to a friend or leave it in your doctor’s waiting room when you’re done reading it.

42.  Dry your clothes on a drying rack or a clothesline instead of in the dryer.

43.  Put faucet aerators on your sink faucets.  They help conserve heat and water, and only cost a couple dollars.

44.  Studies show that vinyl shower curtains actually release 100 toxic chemicals into your home.  Instead of buying a vinyl (PVC) shower curtain liner, invest in a cotton one or don’t use a liner at all.

45.  Turn a garbage can into a rain barrel with this great DIY project.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2009 3:55 am

    thanks for linking to my blog!

  2. July 9, 2009 10:58 pm

    Pack an eco friendly lunch with reusable sandwich wraps and snack bags. A friend just started a business making these. Check out eco lunch gear at http://ecolunchgear.com. She uses organic cotton with nylon liners. I’ve been using them for my son’s lunch and love them. WAY better than cleaning out plastic baggies and hanging them on stuff to dry. Yuck! Easy to clean, a well-thought out design, fun fabrics, earth friendly and a great person behind the business. Very cool all the way around!

    By the way, I love your site. Nice photography and some recipes that I’m bookmarking to satisfy my sweet tooth. Thanks!

  3. July 12, 2009 8:32 pm

    Good going green tips! Thanks for sharing.

  4. go green permalink
    September 4, 2009 4:55 am

    A 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.

  5. olga chiang permalink
    February 3, 2010 4:39 pm

    We live in the mazon jungle and we recycle ziploc bags.. just needs to be washed with chlorine!

  6. February 12, 2010 3:32 am

    Thanks for the green tips! I’ve been using my own bags for groceries and since I’ve moved to Manhattan from Los Angeles, I’ve definitely saved on the gas emissions!

  7. February 27, 2010 9:42 am

    Props on the green tips. I am very environmentally conscious as well, and am always looking for more ways to do my part!

  8. March 20, 2010 11:03 am

    so happy to have stumbled upon yet another environmentally conscious person’s blog. I love your tip about canceling all that junk mail!

    My number one tip: buy clothes and household goods at thrift stores if at all possible. Manufacturing and Retail create SO MUCH trash, I prefer to cycle up and re-use other people’s cast offs.

    Keep up the good green work!
    Luann

  9. March 31, 2010 7:00 am

    Hi there, I commented on these green tips about a month ago but wanted to comment again and ask permission to borrow them for my own blog. The month of April, in honor of Earth Day, I am going to be incorporating tips for green living into each recipe entry I post, and I’d like to use this list if you don’t mind.

    And for anyone who reads this comment, please feel free and stop by my blog and give some support, I truly hope to make even the smallest difference for some people, but some words of support would be appreciated! =)

  10. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 31, 2010 7:09 am

    EZRecipes – Thanks for asking to use the list of tips I’ve compiled. This list is a work-in-progress for me, and I try to add new ideas when I think of them. You are certainly welcome to use them and urge others to become a shade of green. I’d ask that you provide a link back to One Ordinary Day.
    Thanks and good luck! Happy Earth Day! : )
    ~Michelle

  11. March 31, 2010 9:44 am

    Thannk you so much… and I will absolutely link back to you! =)

  12. June 17, 2010 2:28 pm

    so many great tips here! simple things that would never occur to me as being green… but luckily i don’t like straws and always say no to receipts at the gas pump just because. thanks for giving me an excuse to be proud of myself today, haha!

  13. Courtney permalink
    August 6, 2010 10:56 pm

    I have a question and a tip. I am a college student looking for a new bookbag. I want a typical bookbag in term of size and shape, but I’m looking for one that’s made from recycled materials. The only ones I’ve been able to find online are small our way too expensive. I was wondering if you had any suggestions?
    My tip is that I avoid using paper towels to dry my hands as often as possible, opting instead to use my shirt or pants.

  14. oneordinaryday permalink
    August 20, 2010 6:09 pm

    Courtney – First of all, I love your tip! Made me laugh out loud, actually.
    And as for you staying green when buying school supplies, I have a couple of links for you to check out:
    The Ultimate Green Storehttp://tinyurl.com/2csdkz9 (good prices and big selection)
    Pristine Planethttp://tinyurl.com/2amxlpm (wide range of prices, so look around a bit)
    Hope this helps and that I’m not responding too late.
    ~ Michelle

  15. September 14, 2010 9:37 am

    Just a lil tip involing Canvas grocery bags, make sure you wash them after each trip to the grocery store. A few people have gotten E-coli from putting their meat in the canvas bag and then reusing it to carry veggies ect. Dont want to freak anybody out or anything but i thought i’d give the warning.

  16. September 18, 2010 10:49 am

    Hi, I just came across you site and think it’s wonderful! This Going Green list is particularly awesome, thanks for putting it together and helping spread the word. :)

    S.

  17. oneordinaryday permalink
    September 19, 2010 7:02 am

    Simplybike – Thanks for the positive input on my going green tips. If you have any more to share, I’d happily add them to the list!
    ~ Michelle

  18. October 23, 2010 4:43 pm

    Good job on a great post, I considered it very helpful. Going to need to add this blog to my top picks and i look forward to reading through your other blogposts. Keep up the awesome posts!

  19. March 18, 2011 2:23 am

    I merely wanted to tell you how much my spouse and i appreciate almost everything you’ve discussed to help improve the lives of folks in this theme. Through the articles, I’ve gone through just a novice to a specialist in the area. It can be truly a homage to your initiatives. Thanks

  20. June 14, 2011 12:54 am

    Feeding kids healthy, locally grown, organic lunches is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of a whole community. Programs like Edible School Yards create and sustain an organic garden and landscape that is wholly integrated into the school’s curriculum, culture and food program.

  21. June 14, 2011 10:59 pm

    It is so nice to hear that other people care about these things too! Keep spreading the word lady :)

  22. June 18, 2011 5:32 am

    Hi, I find your list really interesting. Although I have a few questions or extras… How come so many car focussed initiatives about making car driving greener when actually not using a car for journeys is much better.
    What about good old biking? Bus? Walking?
    Substituting short car journeys into walking or biking journeys makes an enormous impact, not only environmentally, but also on cash spent, on fuel congestion, health, local air quality etc etc. The amount of short car journeys made is enormous and a transition to a mode such as bike or walk completely eliminates any such environmental concerns.

  23. April 15, 2012 8:58 pm

    We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable info to paintings on. You have done a formidable task and our whole neighborhood will be thankful to you.

  24. April 28, 2012 10:50 am

    Don’t buy juice boxes for your kids-use reusable plastic ones and fill them up yourself.
    If your kids go to preschool, ask their teacher if they can use any of your waste/recycling for art projects (yogurt containers, styrofoam meat trays, egg cartons, small boxes, bottle caps, etc.) Don’t flush your toilets at night if it is just pee (this might freak some people out). Use your towels more than once. Buy in bulk.
    I found your blog through a recipe on pinterest and started poking around. I am also addicted to recycling, reading, and cooking new recipes so I am really enjoying it!

  25. Lyndi permalink
    May 29, 2012 9:33 pm

    Great list! Here are a few more ideas:
    Donate egg cartons to a local chicken farmer… They’re often looking for cartons to sell/keep their fresh eggs in! Also, you can donate old hangers to thrift stores and/or old metal hangers to dry cleaner businesses. Use old socks/t-shirts/wash cloths/towels for dusting/cleaning rags. Use grocery sacks as garbage bags for small trash cans. Use cracked plastic cups as pencil holders.

  26. one ordinary day permalink
    May 30, 2012 6:54 pm

    Lyndi – Thanks for all the additional ideas for making our household greener!!
    ~ Michelle

  27. April 3, 2013 5:51 pm

    Get your whole family thinking about green energy by stocking organic, recycled or eco-friendly products whenever possible. Ask your kids to identify such products on the shelves at the store and explain why those products are better for your family, your home and your environment. You can also segue such conversations into other eco-friendly practices like shutting off the water while brushing your teeth or turning off lights when not in a room.

  28. April 9, 2013 7:37 am

    Great tips :-) Some others that I have used at home: Use cloth nappies/ diapers and when you wash them do a full load and dry them outside, using sunlight and wind; Use a geyser blanket; wash your hands with cold water; install a multi flush toilet system so that you only flush for as long as you hold the handle; fix your toilet cistern if it leaks; use cooled bath water to water household potplants; alternatively, use the used bath water to rinse dirty cloth nappies before you wash them; use thrift stores for cool 2nd hand clothing or other household goodies that you need…
    Some on my ‘to-do’ list: use old pallets to make raised garden beds; hook up water outlet to pipes that lead into garden, for a DIY greywater garden watering system.
    Feel free to check out my blog for more information on my cloth nappy/ diaper journey :-)

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