1. Switch to fluorescent light bulbs. They are more energy efficient and although they cost more, they last longer.
2. Adjust your thermostat. In the winter turn it down a notch and in the summer keep the temperature a little higher.
3. Use reusable bags for shopping. There are so many of them out there and if you are crafty, you can create a tote showing off your individuality.
4. Wash clothes in cold water as much as possible and hang them to dry.
5. Use eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own.
* Vinegar is great for washing windows, floors and bathrooms. It disinfects by killing germs and gets rid of odors. Just make a mixture of half vinegar and half water. Vinegar is also great for hard water deposits and can be used to clean out coffee percolators.
* Make furniture polish for wood with one cup of oil and half a cup of lemon juice.
6. Walk, bike, carpool, take the bus or work from home. Consider investing in a more fuel-efficient car when you do drive.
7. Recycle metal, glass and paper. Many companies make products from recycled materials now so help contribute.
8. Compost food items. Compost bins are easy to make and cut down on landfill pollution.
9. Celebrate holidays in less commercialized ways. Create handmade gifts, bake from scratch and have fun making decorations with popcorn, cranberries etc.
10. Buy organic, local and in season produce which cuts down on gas emissions. The fruit and vegetables taste better and are healthier.
11. Buy used items such as furniture, appliances and clothes at garage sales or thrift stores.
12. Use the library or buy used books.
13. When you use disposable plates, consider biodegradable options. Many stores now sell eco-friendly dinnerware made from corn resin.
14. Buy groceries in bulk. The less often you have to travel, the better for the environment as well as your pocketbook.
15. Consider alternative energy options such as solar power. Even when used on a small scale it helps decrease electricity use.
16. Turn lights, computers and televisions off when not in use.
17. Use a push mower to cut your lawn instead of gas fueled or electric. There are also battery-powered options available.
18. Use a rain barrel for watering your garden and save on water usage.
19. Kill weeds naturally without using pesticides. Vinegar and salt have been used with some success. Mulch is also an effective preventative measure. Leaves are the easiest and most commonly used mulch.
20. Support fair trade. When you support fair trade, you lower national barriers, provide jobs for disadvantaged and disabled people and contribute to help improve the environment.