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How to be eco-friendly

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Celebrate earth day everyday

Even though April 22 has been designated Earth Day this year, that doesn't mean you only have to be eco-friendly on that day. It also doesn't mean you have to change your whole life in order to lessen your negative impact on the planet. The following is a list of ten ways you can easily reduce your carbon footprint year round.

Woman dressed in green outdoors.

1. unplug your charger

We're all guilty of leaving our laptop or cell phone chargers plugged in even when we're not using them. It may seem harmless, but these chargers continue to use up electricity even when not in use. Next time you charge up your favorite gadget, unplug the charger from the wall when you're done.

2. no more plastic bags

Considering plastic bags take roughly a thousand years to decompose, the next time you go to the grocery store bring your own reusable cloth bag or opt for paper.

3. turn out the lights

Turning off the lights when you leave a room could possibly be the easiest thing you can do to conserve energy. In addition, when buying new light bulbs, check out low energy bulbs, as they give out the same amount of light, but run on a third of the power.

4. buy more frozen foods

An empty freezer requires more energy to freeze things than a packed one. You don't need to freeze empty space, so buy in bulk and filler up!

5. leave your car at home

Walk, bike or use public transportation to get where you need to go -- afterall, it's no fun to sit in traffic anyway!

6. buy locally

Purchasing your fruits and veggies from area farmers will cut down on the energy it takes to transport your food from places unknown.

7. cool temperatures

Washing your clothes at lower temperatures, or ideally cold temperatures will use far less energy, but still clean your clothes just as well.

8. skip bath time

You may like to relax by soaking in a nice hot tub, but taking a bath uses far more water than showers and costs more to heat. In addition,  installing a low flow showerhead will help conserve water, as well as limiting your time getting clean.

9. recycle

Start collecting the bottles, cans, newspapers, junk mail, etc. you usually throw away and take them to your local recycling center.

10. adjust your thermostat

Make sure your home is well insulated and your windows are sealed up so as not to let heat escape. Also, help conserve energy by turning your thermostat down two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer.

let it start with earth day

If you aren't already doing these things, let Earth Day be your starting point. Kick off a year of reducing your carbon footprint and start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

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