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52 Cheap ways to go green

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Eco-friendly & economical

Going green isn't as tough as you think. Slowly make the switch by making one easy change each week of the year.
Make a change every week of the year!
Woman recycling

The green year

The Green Year

Imagine an entire year of living green.

Not only would you reduce your carbon footprint by a massive amount, but you could probably inspire others to do the same.

Jodi Helmer's book The Green Year gives you 365 small, inexpensive things you can do to make a big difference in saving the planet and making your home more eco-friendly.

The book features a frugal tip for each day each day plus a space where you can write suggestions that are more practical for your lifestyle. In addition, there's a place for you to check off each action, so there's no losing track of your place on your "green adventure."

Whether you do the tips on the designated days or when it's convenient for you, The Green Year gives you an easy-to-follow green guide that you can refer back to anytime during the year — and years to come.

All it takes is lots of little changes to make a really big difference. Go ahead and do your part, starting today.

Here are 52 inexpensive ways to go green


Don't heat an empty house! During the winter, turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees F when you're home and 55 degrees F at night and while you're away.


Your computer may go to sleep, but it's still sucking up energy. Turn your computer off at the end of the day. In addition, take steps to create an eco-friendly workplace.


Clean your refrigerator coils — vacuum out the dust and wipe with a damp cloth. You'll be surprised at how much nasty stuff accumulates down there!


Look into carpooling. Need convincing? Read why your green commute will save you money.


Taking a road trip? Rent a hybrid car. Here are a few more eco-friendly travel tips.


Add your fireplace ashes to your compost pile.


Support green businesses.


Cancel your newspaper subscription and read the news online instead. (We'll bet you're already doing this one!)


Buy rechargeable batteries. Learn to dispose of old batteries properly.


Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins at dinner. Consider serving fair-trade wine.


Recycle — all the cool kids are doing it these days! Not sure what is recyclable? Check out this recycle chart.


Buy your dog a hemp or canvas leash instead of nylon.


Stop throwing away your dryer lint! Put it in the backyard for the birds — they use it to feather their nests.


Share your magazines — read them then pass them on. Goodwill, the Kidney Foundation and other used goods collection agencies will usually accept them. You can also pass them along to a doctor's office for the waiting room.


Take a hike. Take advantage of this eco-friendly fitness gear.


File your taxes electronically to cut back on paper usage. Look into having your tax forms emailed to you instead of mailed as well.


Donate old newspapers to animal shelters and take your plastic shopping bags back to participating grocery stores. Better yet, purchase cloth or canvas grocery bags and skip that part altogether.


Shop for eco-friendly beauty products. Also consider eco-friendly fashion lines and eco-friendly home decor.


Take your own mug to the coffee shop — some shops will even give you a discount for bringing your own cup. Find out if your coffee is triple certified.


Get e-tickets for the movies through apps like Fandango or get e-tickets and boarding passes when traveling. (For more vacation tips, read How to take an eco-friendly vacation.)


Buy a new houseplant. For a greener home, read 10 Eco-friendly ways to green your home and family.


Schedule your errands back-to-back to consolidate your trip and save gas or ride your bike or walk when possible.


Repair your leaky faucet (especially if you live in a drought-prone area), then follow these five ways to dress your nest green. Not only will the earth thank you, but so will your wallet!


Pack your lunch in an insulated lunch bag instead of paper or plastic bags. While you're at it, make organic meals and try out new green recipes with these simple eco-friendly recipes.


Put a cover on your pool when you're not using it. Not only will it keep the water cleaner, but it will keep it from evaporating, saving you refills.


Start a compost pile in your backyard. Here is your guide to compost gardening.

Up next: More cheap ways to go green >>

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