Use reusable shopping bags
Widely promoted, there are lots of good environmental reasons for using reusable shopping bags instead of the usual plastic bags. Some stores even offer a discount if you use your own bag. Another plus: bringing your own bag reduces the number of plastic bags you bring into your home, lessening the opportunity for the pesky bags to magically multiply and overrun their storage area. A reusable cloth bag solves this problem. Need to get rid of stockpiled plastic bags? Look for recycling boxes at local retailers.
Lose weight if you are overweight
A healthy weight helps to reduce risk for a host of chronic diseases. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine suggest in an article published in the International Journal of Epidemiology that the global prevalence of obesity may have a negative environmental impact. Here’s why: heavier people require more food to maintain their weight. This increased food consumption means increased food production, requiring additional energy.
While individual weight loss won’t have a large impact on the global environment, it will impact your personal health. And in the long run, the chronic diseases avoided will result in fewer healthcare expenses, not to mention savings at the gas pump for trips you won’t have to make to the doctor’s office.
Drink tap water
Not only does drinking tap water instead of bottled water reduce use of plastic bottles, it also saves money. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, invest in a water filtration pitcher. You can enjoy filtered water at a fraction of the cost of bottled.
Reduced energy bills are the most obvious benefit of saving energy. Decrease energy use by unplugging phone and device chargers, small kitchen appliances, and other little-used electronics, like the TV in your guest room. This will reduce the “standby power” used by these devices. They act as energy “vampires,” sucking energy even when not in active use. A power strip is a convenient way to cut power to a cluster of electronics (and later turn them back on when needed).
Use the microwave to cook small meals—they use less power than ovens. If considering a major appliance purchase, look for the Energy Star symbol indicating an energy-efficient product. And of course, turn off lights when you leave a room.
Reduce annoying junk mail
Reducing the amount of junk mail you receive is good for the environment and good for your sanity. Opt-out of receiving pre-approved credit card offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT. Stop unsolicited commercial mail by visiting www.dmachoice.org and sign up for the Direct Mail Association’s mail preference service.
Check into receiving your bills via email instead of through the mail. Many companies offer electronic billing. In addition to saving paper, e-bills are easier to keep up with than paper and easier to dispose of.