1. Skip the plastic.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, over 500 billion plastic bags are consumed each year and millions end up in litter streams. Have you seen all the adorable reusable bags there are these days? Use this stat as an excuse to invest in one of those cuties, and put a stop to your waste.
2. Clean green.
Don't waste your money on expensive and toxic drain cleaners. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow with a cup of vinegar. Allow the two to bubble for five to 10 minutes and then rinse the drain with a pot of boiling water. Read on for the list of green and cheap cleaning alternatives that you probably already have!
3. Shop online.
Carnegie Mellon University's Green Design Institute found that internet shopping consumes less energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 35 percent. Consumers will also save time and cash on gas and parking costs spent on a trip to the mall.
4. Get with the program.
One of the best steps in the right direction towards protecting our planet is to know what programs and resources are available to us. Whether it's Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe Program or Diggerslist.com, where excess materials used by building and deconstruction contractors are sold for pennies on the dollar to keep them out of landfills, there is a program to fit everyone's needs.
Check out some of our favorite green programs and services.
5. Use virtual coupons.
Sites like PromotionalCodes.com, CouponWinner.com and PromoCodes.com offer thousands of environmentally-friendly online coupons and promotional codes for over 9,000 retailers. These sites also feature Earth Day coupons for discounts on eco-conscious products and services, making it easy to be a green bargain shopper.
6. Raise the air conditioner thermostat.
Households can save up to three percent per month in energy costs for every degree above 72°F. Open windows for a breezy cooling system and let sunlight brighten up your happy home.
7. Think before wrapping.
Be creative and use newspaper, take out menus, old calendars and wall paper to wrap gifts. Not only is this a great way to recycle, but you'll save cash on expensive wrapping paper and bags, and your friends and family will delight in your creativity!
8. Go paperless.
Take advantage of online bill-paying to conserve natural resources, avoid late fees and save money on stamps. Paperless billing saves trees and eliminates fossil fuel used to send envelopes so it's an easy and smart way to start going green.
9. Makeover your furniture.
Furnishing your home doesn't have to be an expensive undertaking. Make the process more friendly for both your budget and the environment by repurposing pieces you already have. Tap your own creativity and don't be afraid to get messy. Sometimes trial and error can lead to our best work!
Need ideas? Check out some of our faves.
10. Instead of shopping, try swapping!
Chief Mom Carly Fauth of thredUP kids (an online kids' clothing exchange) suggests swapping instead of shopping. At swap sites like thredUP, you'll prevent sending clothes to landfills by shopping in someone else's closet for a fraction of the cost. Better yet, organize one in your own neighborhood as a way to get to know other moms in your community.