loading
Picture of 100 Ways to Reduce Your Impact
The world's most abundant and richest energy supply is conservation.

Developing energy efficient lifestyles are the first step in reducing the environmental impact that humans have on this earth. I made this Instructable to detail many different ways to reduce your impact. The reader's implementation of the tips I provide is extremely important in reducing our impact on the environment as humans.

If a large amount of people practice small "ways" to decrease the environmental impact, then we have accomplished a great deed. One person utilizing the energy efficient practices is great, but one thousand is even better.

Please share the following tips with your friends, family, and peers. Utilizing energy efficient practices on a large scale is the most important reason I made this Instructable.

I attached a PDF file, it has the gist of the tip, just not all the information. Enjoy!
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Change to CFLs

Picture of Change to CFLs
Compact fluorescents are a type of fluorescent lamp that uses less energy than a normal incandescent. They have a longer life than incandescent light bulbs, and in the United States, a CFL can save over US$30 in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime. This is compared to an incandescent lamp and save 2000 times their own weight in Greenhouse Gases.

Here is a good site to help you save electricity.

However, some may argue that CFLs do not last longer, and the recycling of them is a pain. Based on my usage of CFLs, we have only replace one. It seems as if sometimes they are a hit or miss. Sometimes they work great, and other times they are absolutely terrible.

My CFL Instructable will help you out if you have any other questions.

Steps for Purchasing:
1.Well first you have to decide where you will use them. A recommended fixture, is one that is left on 3 or more hours per day. You want to replace the bulbs that you use the most frequently first.

2.Make sure it will fit in your fixture. You wouldn't want to spend money on a CFL, and not have it fit into your fixture!

3.Check to make sure that the CFL is energy star compliant. What is Energy Star Compliant? It is a government that regulates programs and products that help save the environment and save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design or construction.

4.Circline or 2D styles are usually best for most table lamps. These also tend to be the brightest options.

5.Choose the Color Temperature, if listed, that's right for you; for example:
Approx. 2700K = Warm White (looks just like incandescent!)
Approx. 5000K = Cool White (White/Blue, often higher CRI)

6.Does your chosen fixture have a dimmer switch? If so, be sure your CFL choice is labeled to be Dimmable.

7.Avoid using CFL's with photocells unless the control is specifically labeled that is it compatible with CFLs. Timers are an easier option.

  • Many furnishing stores/hardware stores have boxes to place your broken CFLs to recycle.

Sites to Purchase
  • My energy provider gives half off deals for CFLs. Check if yours does! (I have PECO)
You can purchase CFLs all over the place.
Ace Hardware
Walmart
Lowes
Google Shopping

Step 2: Up 2 degress in summer, 2 down in winter

Picture of Up 2 degress in summer, 2 down in winter
Heating and cooling is responsible for a large percentage of a household's energy consumption.

Turn up your thermometer in warm weather. An average thermostat temperature for warmer weather is at around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are not at home most of the day, you can turn the temperature up to reduce the cooling that your house makes during the day.

The opposite goes for cooler weather. 68 degrees Fahrenheit is about average where you should have your temperature. Each degree below the 68 mark reduces 3% - 5% more heating energy consumption. Just wear an extra sweater if you feel a little bit colder than usual.

Don't worry, my mother does not turn on the heat until half way through the winter. And even then, the temperature is still low. The temperature in my house is currently 63 degrees. I got used to it, and I feel great!

Step 3: Recycle your junk mail

Picture of Recycle your junk mail
As a future college student, my brother, my sister, and I receive about 5 letters a day regarding colleges. We usually do not read most of them because most are either too far away, or we are interested in those colleges.

Recycle those letters! Don't throw them away!

Contact your local recycling center, and ask them if they have any tips on recycling, and junk mail recycling. Ask them about electronics recycling days, or pickups.

Throwing out old electronics is dangerous, and they would usually just end up in a landfill. Don't let that happen, ask your recycling center how to recycle them the right way.

Here is another Instructable of mine on how to reduce your junk mail from advertisers.
Reduce Your Junk Mail!

Reducing your impact can start with reducing your junk mail!

Step 4: Don't let your water continue running

Picture of Don't let your water continue running
As you are brushing your teeth, washing your face, washing your hands, etc... turn the water off when you are not using it.

Brushing takes two minutes. During that two minutes, valuable water is going to waste. Turn that faucet off, and turn it on to clean your tooth brush! It saves 4 gallons a minute. That's 200 gallons a week for a family of four.

Turn the faucet off when you lather up to wash your hands...even when you are showering!

Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 100 gallons a week.

If you are letting the water heat up in your shower, you can collect the cold water and use it for plants, or other uses that you use water for around your house.

The point here is, don't keep your water running when you are not using it. If it is running, do something useful with that water.

Step 5: Make a Compost pile!

Picture of Make a Compost pile!
The use of compost for planting, adds water-holding organic matter to the soil. it feeds the soil micro-organisms that help the soil and the plants stay healthy. It also reduces your yard and kitchen scraps that you would normally throw away.

I made a list of the Instructables that are how to build a compost pile:
http://www.instructables.com/id/5-dollar%2c-1%2f2-hour-Worm-Composting-Bins/
http://www.instructables.com/id/Compost-Tumbler/
http://www.instructables.com/id/Compost/
http://www.instructables.com/id/twin-compost-bin/
http://www.instructables.com/id/Trench-compost/

Step 6: Unplug unused electronics

Picture of Unplug unused electronics
100_0021.JPG
Unplug your electronics when you are not using them.

Believe it or not, your television uses energy when it is on standby. Unplug your television overnight, or when you are out at work and not using it. Plug it back in during prime time!

Blenders, toasters, soldering irons, hair dryers, curlers, straighteners, chargers, etc...

You can save a lot of money on energy if you just pull the plug on your electronic devices.

Step 7: Plant a tree!

Picture of Plant a tree!
Plant a tree! What a novel idea! Especially because it absorbs a ton of carbon dioxide over it's lifetime!

Trees also produce shade, which can lower your energy costs 10-15%.

They absorb in the gas that is contributing to global warming. Trees release oxygen in to the atmosphere as well. Trees really are useful!

Arbor Day Foundation

Step 8: Buy local!

Picture of Buy local!
Buy locally grown and produced foods. The energy used to transport foods from all over the world is extremely high. By buying locally, you save fuel, as well as help out your community economically.

Farming is not a wealthy occupation, but by buying local goods, you can jump start your community economically.

Local Harvest

My family gets a shipment of locally grown goods each week, and they are great!

Step 9: Use masstransit, carpool, walking, biking

Picture of Use masstransit, carpool, walking, biking
Driving 10 percent less, by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transit, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.2 to 0.8 tonnes per year, depending on the vehicle.

Individual driving can get expensive. If one person can reduce the amount they drive, their carbon footprint is extremely lower than one who drives everyday.

Electric scooters are also a very good alternative.

Step 10: Make sure your tires are inflated

Picture of Make sure your tires are inflated
Driving with deflated tires reduces your gas mileage by up to 3%. You will get to your destination faster, and you will have less of a carbon footprint. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Step 11: Use a line to dry your clothes

Picture of Use a line to dry your clothes
Instead of using the energy of your clothes drier, use a clothes line to dry your clothes.
A great clothes line recommended from Tim O'Reilly and Saul Griffith on Twitter, is:http://www.clotheslineshop.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=C&Product_Code=01500

It is more efficient...obviously.

Step 12: Turn off the pilot flame of your gas furnace in the summer

Picture of Turn off the pilot flame of your gas furnace in the summer
Thanks to iwilltry's instructable on turning the pilot flame of your gas furnace, this is a good tip!

From his instructable:
Most gas furnaces in operation today still have a continuous pilot flame. Turning off the pilot flame in the summer is easy to do and well worth the effort, but very few people do it, mostly because they don't know how and aren't aware that they should.

Materials required: None
Time required: about 2 minutes per year
Savings: $30-$60 per year (depending on your furnace, your location, and gas prices)
GHG reduction: about 0.15 to 0.30 tons per year

I live in a moderate climate (Vancouver, BC, Canada) and only require artificial heat about 7 months of the year (from mid October to mid May). For the other 5 months of the year I turn my furnace off completely, including the pilot flame. There are occasionally some cold days during that period but we usually just wear extra clothing and leave the furnace off. Throughout much of the US the heating season is shorter and potential savings are even higher.

To turn off your furnace completely, look for a valve in the gas line to the furnace. Simply turn the valve handle so it is angled 90 degrees to the pipe. If you like, you can check your furnace to ensure the pilot flame goes out.

To turn your furnace back on, turn the valve handle parallel to the pipe and re-light your pilot flame following the furnace manufacturer's instructions (if you don't have the manual for your furnace you can probably look it up online, or just wing it... they're mostly the same). As a reader has noted, there is no danger if someone turns the gas valve back on but forgets relight the pilot flame. There is a thermocouple that prevents gas flow unless a flame is present. You typically have to hold a button down to get the gas to flow when re-lighting the pilot flame, and keep holding it down until the thermocouple warms up.

Step 13: Use Tote bags when you shop!

Picture of Use Tote bags when you shop!
Purchase a tote bag to take with you when you go shopping. Use these so you do not have to waste the paper or plastic bags.

If you do use plastic bags, re-use them. Use something like this plastic bag recycler, to reuse your plastic bags.

Step 14: Install low-flow sink and faucet aerators

Picture of Install low-flow sink and faucet aerators
Install sink and faucet aerators to conserve water.

Installation is easy, and the effects are great! You can reduce your home water consumption as much as 50%, and reduce your energy cost of heating the water also by as much as 50%.

Here is a site to purchase them:
http://www.eartheasy.com/shop/water_save_02.htm

Step 15: Full loads of dish washing and clothes cleaning

Picture of Full loads of dish washing and clothes cleaning
Fill your loads of dishes and clothes in their cleaners. They use a good amount of water, so use them to their fullest potential.

Air dry your dishes, as well as your clothes. Dryers also consume a good amount of energy.

Step 16: Get rid of excess weight in your car

Picture of Get rid of excess weight in your car
Excess weight in your car decreases the gas mileage your can achieve. If you have golf clubs, equipment, people...

Anyway, extra, unnecessary weight decreases potential gas mileage. Get rid of that junk, and improve your gas mileage!

Step 17: Throw away bottle caps

Picture of Throw away bottle caps
Why can't I recycle bottle caps?

From Harvard Law's Facilities Management Website:
Removal of the cap allows for evaporation and prevents retention of residual liquid. Extra liquid causes a number of problems: it adds weight, which adds to the energy (and fossil fuel emissions) necessary to transport the recyclables; it creates a mess and causes injuries in the recycling plant.

Step 18: Turn off the lights when you leave the room

Picture of Turn off the lights when you leave the room
This is a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when people leave lights on when they are not using them.

30% of a home's energy usage comes from the lighting. Turning the lights off when you leave the room can dramatically reduce the amount of energy used for lighting.

Step 19: Energy Star

Picture of Energy Star
Purchase appliances that have the Energy Star logo (below) on the product. It means that the appliance meets or exceeds standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Step 20: Air Seal your home

Picture of Air Seal your home
Air sealing is when you close all potential gaps, where heating and cooling can escape. Doing this can stop drafts, reduce noise, but most importantly, it decreases the amount of energy lost through poor sealing.

Once you are sealed efficiently, then you can properly insulate your home.

Step 21: Insulate your walls

Picture of Insulate your walls
Insulating your walls can save you hundreds of dollars on heating and cooling costs each year.

Insulating the attic will help people in both warm and cool climates save money because you will not be spending more money to heat/cool that attic space as well.

Step 22: Fresh Filters

Picture of Fresh Filters
Maintain your air-conditioning and heating systems by changing air-filters and keeping your air-conditioner coils clean.

Energy is lost when air conditioners and hot-air furnaces have to work harder to draw air through dirty filters. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5 percent of the energy used. That could save 175 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Step 23: Cheap Insulation: Rugs

Picture of Cheap Insulation: Rugs
Do you have an old house? Use nice oriental rugs for inexpensive insulation.

Step 24: Power Strips

Picture of Power Strips
Use power strips for easy on/off switching of televisions/stereos/DVD players/cable boxes/etc...

Their standby consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.

Here is a list of power strips you can get easily off the internet

Step 25: Computer sleep mode and hibernate mode

Picture of Computer sleep mode and hibernate mode
Enable the "sleep mode" feature on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity. In Windows, the power management settings are found on your control panel. Mac users, look for energy saving settings under system preferences in the apple menu.

Configure your computer to "hibernate" automatically after 30 minutes or so of inactivity. The "hibernate mode" turns the computer off in a way that doesn't require you to reload everything when you switch it back on. Allowing your computer to hibernate saves energy and is more time-efficient than shutting down and restarting your computer from scratch.

Thanks Natural Resources Defense Council for that tidbit of information.

Step 26: Printing and Photocopying

Picture of Printing and Photocopying
If allowed, print and photocopy on both sides of the paper. I hate it when I get a test at school that has just one side printed on.

Save a few trees, print on both sides.

Step 27: If you can, use recycled paper

Picture of If you can, use recycled paper
Paper products are the most widely used products in society today. We cannot forget that paper is made from one of the most valuable resource on the planet. Several energy intensive steps must be performed to finally produce a paper sheet.

GreenLine Paper Company is one of the leading recycled paper distributors in USA. You can buy their environmental-friendly recycled paper products from their website.

http://www.greenlinepaper.com/

Step 28: Clean fridge or freezer coils

Picture of Clean fridge or freezer coils
Dusty coils (at the back of your refrigerator) make it work harder than necessary.

If you just dust them off, or clean them, their efficiency will improve.

Step 29: Brooms before Hoses

Picture of Brooms before Hoses
Brooms before Hoses man! Using a broom to sweep sidewalks, driveways, and other walkways will save 150 gallons or more of water each time.

If you do it once a week, that is close to 600 gallons a month. All for really, an unnecessary use.

Step 30: Shorten your showers

Picture of Shorten your showers
Long showers feel great, but long energy bills do not.

Shorten up your showers, estimates show that even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.

Step 31: Don't use so much detergant

Picture of Don't use so much detergant
Using more detergent = more rinsing water.

Use as little detergent as you can. Just add a some more elbow grease!

Step 32: Lawn mower blades

Picture of Lawn mower blades
Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation. Saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month.

As much as you like short grass, think about how many times you actually use your lawn. Not very often right? So make your blades of grass a little higher, and help the environment!

Step 33: Wash your car on the lawn

Picture of Wash your car on the lawn
If you choose to wash your car, do it on the lawn. Not only will your car be clean, it will water the grass.

Your other alternative is to go to a car wash that recycles their water. (Which most do)

Try not to wash your car on your driveway. The water does no good there.

Step 34: Limit your play with the hose

Picture of Limit your play with the hose
When you play with the hose for unnecessary reasons, you are wasting 10 gallons of water per minute.

Step 35: Dont defrost food with running water

Picture of Dont defrost food with running water
100_0012.JPG
Not defrosting your frozen foods with water saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.

Defrost it on your counter, and take that time to read some new Instructables!

Step 36: Cold water cycle

Picture of Cold water cycle
Rinse and wash clothes using your clothes washer's cold water cycle.

This reduces the energy needed to heat the water up.

Step 37: Dehumidifiers

Picture of Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers take the humidity out of the air, and give you fresh water! I use ours during the summer, and the amount of water we produce is amazing!

But please note that this still uses energy, almost as much as an air conditioner. I added it because it is another way to receive water, without taking it from wells/public water supplies.

Step 38: Freezer fillers

Picture of Freezer fillers
100_0012.JPG
Keep the freezer full of something, such as loaves of bread or milk jugs filled with water, to keep the cold air from "falling out" when the door is opened.

Tip from bundlemeup.

Step 39: Pressure cookers and microwaves

Picture of Pressure cookers and microwaves
Try to use pressure cookers and microwaves whenever possible.

Pressure cookers cut time by 66%, while microwaves uses less than half the energy than a conventional oven.

Though, microwaves sometimes make my bread soggy.

Step 40: Cool down your spa when you are not using it

Reduce the heat of your spas during the day when you are not using it. Raise the heat when you feeling like using the spa. Keeping it hot all day uses a good amount of energy.

Sorry no picture, I do not own a spa.

Step 41: Get Tested, don't be afraid to ask

Picture of Get Tested, don't be afraid to ask
Get your ducts tested, as well as your attic and insulation. An expert can probably do a better job than you, so just use an expert to get tips on how to improve your heating and cooling costs.

Step 42: Low Wattage is good wattage

Picture of Low Wattage is good wattage
Wherever you can, try to use low wattage light bulbs. Low wattage means low energy. Your energy company charges you for kilowatts/hour, so don't be caught using too many watts.

Step 43: Your Chemical Non-Romance

Picture of Your Chemical Non-Romance
Try to use non-toxic products around your house. Toxic chemicals poured into the ground are harder to purify than non-toxic ones.

Try to use water-based products. They are the safest.

Use low-phosphate or phosphate-free detergents.

Take unwanted household chemicals to hazardous waste collection centers; do not pour them down the drain. Pouring chemicals down the drain may disrupt your septic system or else contaminate treatment plant sludge.

Thank you EPA for those tidbits on chemical use.

Step 44: Combine errands and trips

Picture of Combine errands and trips
Trips back and forth to soccer practice and dance recitals and lacrosse practice takes a toll not only on the car, but also on the carbon emissions.

Limit the trips you take. Scheduling properly is key, so try not to get caught driving to and from a site multiple times.

Step 45: Get regular engine tuneups

Tuneups improve performance as well as gas mileage.

Make sure you go to your scheduled maintenance dates.

Some other ways to improve your gas mileage are:
fix problems due to worn spark plugs,dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, or the transmission not going into high gear.

Step 46: Smooth Driving

Picture of Smooth Driving
To reduce the pollution that is caused from your vehicle, you should accelerate and decelerate smoothly. Anticipate stops and starts at traffic lights.

We all can't avoid being in traffic, but if you are in standstill traffic, turn your car off. This is better for the environment than idling, and it is also better for your gas mileage.

Step 47: Grasscycling

Picture of Grasscycling
After you mow, you usually have grass clippings sitting on top of the freshly mowed lawn.

Leave those clippings on the grass, and let them decompose into the soil. The clippings return nutrients to your yard, and you do not have to worry about hauling them away or cleaning them up.

Step 48: Mulching

Picture of Mulching
You can make mulch from yard clippings, shredded wood, and old leaves. Mulching prevents weed growth, helps you retain water, and it adds nutrients back to the soil.

Step 49: Non-Recyclable Water Jugs

Picture of Non-Recyclable Water Jugs
Instead of using plastic water bottles, you can use a Nalgene bottle, or any other reusable water bottle.

Step 50: Reuse Computer Paper

Picture of Reuse Computer Paper
Did you mess up on your document, or picture for work/school? Reuse that paper as scrap. Use it as note paper, make it a check list, practice math problems, review for a test.

Don't throw that paper out, reuse it.

Step 51: Green Cleaning

Picture of Green Cleaning
From http://www.care2.com/greenliving/make-your-own-non-toxic-cleaning-kit.html, and thanks from Slickdeals.net user Bostonthrifty for supplying me with this site, and several other tips.

Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age-old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, don't pollute and save you money. Most are found in your kitchen cupboards. Mix and match with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.

Non-toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification in knowing that your family's health is protected, and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than promote harm.
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Making your own nontoxic cleaning kit will take you no time at all with these simple, straightforward directions, and with this kit you will be supplied with enough cleaning product for months of cleaning.

As an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart—and that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.

Step 52: Washcloths

Picture of Washcloths
Use washcloths instead of paper towels to clean up spills and other messes. They are reusable and can easily be washed over and over again.

Paper towels are a use once and throw out product.

Step 53: Handkerchiefs instead of tissues

Picture of Handkerchiefs instead of tissues
Instead of wasting all the tissues that are at school, bring a handkerchief to school.

You just throw away the tissues, and they are often wasted. So, instead of tissues, move to handkerchiefs.

Step 54: Rebuying

Picture of Rebuying
Rebuying is when you buy items that have already been used, but are still useful. What is the need in purchasing something brand new, when you can get it for a cheaper price, and it does not have to go to a landfill.

Also, through buying heavily packaged foods, you reduce in the waste the comes from them. The wrappers are not recyclable, and they are not good for the environment. Plus, the foods not wrapped heavily, are sometimes more healthy for your body.

Step 55: Energy Efficiency Rebates

Contact your energy provider, and inquire about rebates for being energy efficient.

PECO is selling CFLs to their customers for a half-off price. Just inquire, and you never know.

Pass this on to your friends. One person cannot make a big change, we need thousands. And to do this, we need to raise the awareness of being energy efficient, and the astounding effects it can have on a community.

Thank you so much for reading about how to become more energy efficient.

Step 56: Materials on the holidays are so before this instructable

Picture of Materials on the holidays are so before this instructable
Instead of purchasing items that will sit in closets after the holidays, donate to different organizations in your receiver's name. Or, Make your own gift!

This year, my mom donated money to Heifer International, which donates female cows, chickens, and other livestock to developing nations. They are female that have already been impregnated. That way they can share the animal's offspring with others.

Search for other charities here.

Thanks Bostonthrifty.

Step 57: Go Digital with books

Picture of Go Digital with books
Purchase E-books if you can, or attend a Used Book Sale to find books that are well...used.

If you see a book that is in print that is used, buy it. You will read it once, and sometimes throw it away.

Buy ebooks to reduce the printing of the books. Well, you can't actually reduce the printing, but the shipping of the books will be reduced, as well as price.

Step 58: Kill-A-Watt

Picture of Kill-A-Watt
Purchase this device called the Kill-A-Watt.

You can use this to find out what appliances are actually worth keeping plugged in. Simply connect these appliances to the Kill A Watt™, and it will assess how efficient they really are. Large LCD display will count consumption by the Killowatt-hour, same as your local utility. You can calculate your electrical expenses by the day, week, month, even an entire year. Also check the quality of your power by monitoring Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor. Now you´ll know if it is time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is still saving you money. With the amazing Kill A Watt™ you´ll know “Watts” killing you.

Step 59: Use a Rain Barrel

Picture of Use a Rain Barrel
Purchase a Rain Barrel to collect rain water in substantial amounts.

A good amount of water does not reach your wells/reservoirs/public water lines, so harvest some of the extra rain water with a rain barrel.

You can read about them in the link above.

Step 60: Homemade Gifts

Picture of Homemade Gifts
Make gifts for your family and friends that are homemade. Lord nows that you have unwanted supplies lurking in your drawers. Use them! Think of something creative!

Search instructables...here, I have done a search for you! Homemade Holidays

Step 61: How to Recycle Your Phone Books

Picture of How to Recycle Your Phone Books
Phone books are 100% recyclable, and they are often used to make new books. Many, however are mixed in with other materials to make the pages stronger.

If you have a curbside pickup, place them there at that date. But if not, check out this site, and enter your zip code.

For example I entered one for San Francisco, and came up with a few results.

Step 62: If it's Yellow, let it mello, if it's brown, flush it down

Picture of If it's Yellow, let it mello, if it's brown, flush it down
It may be a little unsanitary, but if you go pee, leave it be.

If you go #2, flush that floater down.

It just reduces the amount of water being used in your toilet.

Step 63: Refill Your Mugs, no Styrofoam

Picture of Refill Your Mugs, no Styrofoam
Try not to use Styrofoam cups very often. They are often thrown out, and they sit in landfills for a long period of time.

Bring a coffee mug to work or an place that you can refill your drinks. Just limit your use of Styrofoam.

Step 64: Purchase recyclable toys

Picture of Purchase recyclable toys
Thanks Bostonthrifty for this tip:

Instead of buying those plastic pieces of junk, buy recyclable toys, often homemade with wood or other recycled materials.

They are just as fun to play with, and are better for the environment.

You can buy some here.
http://www.streetplay.com/playfulworld/recycledtoys.shtml
http://www.thriftyfun.com/Craft%20Projects_Recycled_Toys_1309_1408_1410.html

Step 65: Don't use bad chemicals on your garden

Picture of Don't use bad chemicals on your garden
These include chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides on your lawn or garden.

The runoff from these toxic chemicals can enter streams, ponds, or our drinking water. Pesticides don't just kill bad insects, it also kills beneficial insects and wildlife, and creates health problems for humans.

Thank you wildspirit

Step 66: Cloth diapers

Use cloth diapers on your babies. These can be reused, and you don't have to continue throwing away those plastic diapers and spending your money on them.

Reusable Diapers are widely sold in super markets and on the internet.

Sorry, I do not own any diapers, so i could not take a picture of one.

Step 67: Snip 6-pack rings

Picture of Snip 6-pack rings
Snip the plastic rings of the 6-packs of sodas, including the inner diamond. The rings can often get wrapped around the necks of wildlife.

Step 68: Clean the lint screen

Picture of Clean the lint screen
Clean the lint screen in your dryer after every load, or every other load. This will increase efficiency.

If you want to be even better, check out #11!

Step 69: Use refillable container

Picture of Use refillable container
Use refillable containers for hand soap, dish soap, sanitizer, and other household products.

Of course if you do not use refillable containers, it is imperative that you recycle the containers when you are finished with them.

Step 70: Close your refridgerator door

Picture of Close your refridgerator door
Close your refrigerator door promptly once you are finished with it. It just uses more energy to re cool, and the cold air is released if you leave the door open too long.

Especially in the summertime when it is really hot outside. We are searching for the iced tea, but don't look too long or your fridge will be wasting energy.

Step 71: Use rechargeable batteries

Picture of Use rechargeable batteries
Batteries contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment when disposed of.

Non-rechargeable batteries must be disposed of often. Using rechargeable batteries saves money on batteries, and doesn't pollute the earth.

Step 72: Donate old clothes to charity

Picture of Donate old clothes to charity
Do not throw out your old clothes. Donate them to Goodwill, or to a local mission. They can easily use them for their own needs even if you have no use.

Step 73: Environmental Friendly Home Colors

Picture of Environmental Friendly Home Colors
Paint your home with climate friendly colors. The color of your home can have a large affect on the cost to heat and cool your home.

Light colors reflect the sun's rays, while dark colors absorb them. For cold climates, paint with dark colors, and hot climates, use light colors.

Step 74: Use a whiteboard/chalk board

You can use a white board or a chalk board for phone messages, notes, homework, and any other note type of writing. It just limits your use of paper.

Or you can also use step 50 for writing your notes down.

Step 75: Toilet paper rolls

Picture of Toilet paper rolls
Recycle the card board tubes from the toilet paper rolls. Just think about it, there are billions of people who use it every day, and the rolls can really tally up quickly.

Do your share to recycle them. You will save landfill space.

Step 76: Buy Organic

Picture of Buy Organic
Buy organic foods, because the processed foods are well...processed. Organic foods do not go through the energy consuming processes and they are healthier for your body.

The non-organic foods have pesticides and other potentially harmful preservatives. So, eat organic, be healthy, and save energy.

Step 77: Buy eggs in cardboard flats

Picture of Buy eggs in cardboard flats
When you go to purchase eggs, purchase the eggs that are in the cardboard flats. They are made from recycled newspaper, and they are quick to biodegrade. Unlike Styrofoam, which takes an incredibly long time to biodegrade.

The cardboard flats do not produce harmful byproducts, another benefit over Styrofoam.

Step 78: Chop by hand

Picture of Chop by hand
Instead of using expensive, loud, energy consuming choppers, use a knife to chop your fruits and vegetables.

The machines used to chop take up space, as well as energy that could be used elsewhere.

Get an arm-workout, chop ye' veggies.

Step 79: Recycle used deoderant containers

Picture of Recycle used deoderant containers
Contrary to popular belief, your deodorant containers can be recycled. Use them to the bit, and recycle them.

Save our drinking supply and recycle these buggers.

Step 80: Reuse Your Chopsticks

Picture of Reuse Your Chopsticks
Chinese/Japanese/Vietnamese restaurants give out chop sticks for free, and they are used to be disposable.

Reuse these chopsticks by a simple cleaning. That way you don't waste trees by taking chopsticks.

You can also buy permanent ones with cool designs.

Step 81: Reusable Coffee Filters

Picture of Reusable Coffee Filters
Use reusable coffee filters instead of the paper ones. You can buy mesh filters that last quite a long time, rather than throwing out paper filters each day.

Also, the French Press and theromos are great ways to limit the use of a coffee filter! French press is absolutely delicious!

Here is a froogle search of some:

http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=poZ&q=reusable+coffee+filter&um=1&ie=UTF-8

Step 82: Refill Your Lighters

Picture of Refill Your Lighters
Try not purchase refillable lighters. Zippos are refillable with Butane, and instead of throwing your empty lighters out, refill them.

There are usually some stores in the mall that can refill your lighters. Zippo does not only use butane(They only use butane in Zippo Blu's), the more known Zippo uses Synthetic Isoparaffinic Hydrocarbon Fuel. Thanks CVJX for that tip!

Lighter fluid is not very expensive

Here is a tutorial on how to refill your lighter by yourself

Step 83: Rent an environment friendly car

Rent yourself an environmental friendly vehicle. Actually, don't rent one, buy one! Companies are coming out with more and more environment friendly vehicles, that hopefully will make the combustion engine vehicles obsolete.

Step 84: Recycle AC coolent

When your car goes in for service, recycle your air conditioner coolant. Recycling is the environmentally friendly alternative because it keeps ethylene glycol and all the nasty stuff it picks up inside the cooling system out of the environment.

Only 15% is currently recycled. Lets make get that percentage higher!

This site gives good steps on how to recycle your coolant

Step 85: Work at home

Picture of Work at home
When you can, work from home. If you have a day off, but you need to get something done, work from home.

Take client calls from home, do computer work at home, and all that jazz.

Take home your materials the day before, and plan ahead. But don't take home a laptop with your clients personal information....that usually turns out bad.

Step 86: Limit the cars you own

Picture of Limit the cars you own
Try to become a 1 car household. Of course this is hard with multiple children and working parents. But for a couple that may be living near the jobs. Trade off with the car a couple days of the week. Have the other walk to school or work.


Step 87: Recycle Your Ink Jet Cartridges

Picture of Recycle Your Ink Jet Cartridges
Recycle your ink jet cartridges when you are finished using them. Throwing them out increases the risk of water pollution, and they are definitely not biodegradable if they sit in a landfall for a large amount of years.

Take them to a recycling center, or any other office supply store.

Staples gives you rebates on the cartridges you return.

Step 88: Hotel linens/towels

Picture of Hotel linens/towels
Are you staying in a hotel for a week or so? Request that your towels and linens be washed every other day. If they are going to be used twice a day, why should they be cleaned every single day? You certainly don't do the same at home, so why have the housemaids do it at a hotel?

It wastes lots of water and electricity to power the washer machines, so request your linens to be washed every other day. Better yet, every three days.

Step 89: Clean up after your pets

Picture of Clean up after your pets
When you go out walking with your pet, clean up after them. First of all, it is disgusting for a passerby, and second, it can contaminate the local water supply.

Try not to let your pets urinate or poop in streams or rivers either. This is even more unsanitary. Especially during the summers where children might be swimming.

Step 90: Cremation instead of a burial

As hard as it may be to cremate your loved relatives, and pets, cremation uses less energy than a burial. Burials use backhoes, and digger trucks, and gasoline.

Modern cremation utilizes air filtration and produces little in terms of air pollution as compared with excavation equipment.

Thanks GoodHumanGuidlines!!

Sorry I do not have a picture. You wouldn't want a picture would you?

Step 91: Pick up Litter

Picture of Pick up Litter
For your own feeling of satisfaction, as well as the environment's approval, pick up litter and dispose of it properly.

Who knows, maybe if you pick up litter candid camera will pay you $50. (I saw an episode where they did that)

Step 92: Teach others

Picture of Teach others
Teach your acquaintances about environmental friendly ways. Make sure they fix their mistakes if you see them litter, or if they don't recycle.

Tell them the impact that they can make by simple changes, and ways to help the environment.

Encourage them to share the same tips to their acquaintances.

Step 93: Join a club

Picture of Join a club
Join an environmental friendly club, such as Habitat for Humanity, or your school's Earth Club.

Sign up for your area's Freecycle, which organizes people in your area, and they trade items that they have no use for, but others do. It limits the amount of waste that people produce from home devices, furniture, electronics, etc...

Step 94: Support local environment legislation

Picture of Support local environment legislation
If you care a lot about the environment, vote YES in your community's environment votes. Encourage others to do the same.

Support local, state, as well as national voting junctures that are about helping the environment.

Step 95: Contact elected officials

Picture of Contact elected officials
If you have an opinion on an issue in your community...contact your local representative. They have lots of power over your community, and voice your opinions to them.

Step 96: Don't have recycling?

Do you not have curbside recycling? Lobby for it in your community. Recycling is one of the single most important duties of a community, and if your community does not have it, encourage a program to do so.

Step 97: Educate YOURSELF

Picture of Educate YOURSELF
You can't spread information if you do not know it. Research renewable energy sources in your library, read books about solar, wind, geothermal, and all forms of energy.

Your local library is bound to have numerous articles, magazines, and books on suggested topics about environmental sciences.

Read and inform.

Here are books about the environment. Look for these in your library.

Step 98: Upgrade your computer

Picture of Upgrade your computer
Upgrade your current computer, instead of going all out and purchasing a completely new one. Load it with new software and anti virus, graphic cards, and sound cards, and you are on your way.

However, this should be used for the computer savvy people. Unless you want to take your computer to a shop and have them upgrade it for you. It will be less expensive than having to purchase a whole new system. Including a monitor and mouse and keyboard.

You already have them, why buy a new one?

Here, I already did a Google search for you!

Step 99: Email instead of snail mail

Picture of Email instead of snail mail
Try to use your email as often as possible, and reduce the amount of snail mail you use. Letters which are already on the computer should be sent via email, rather than printing them out and sending them.

Obviously it reduces the amount of paper, and the amount of mail that your mail carrier has to carry.

Step 100: Mechanical Pencils

Picture of Mechanical Pencils
Instead of using #2 pencils that are used in a week to two weeks, use a mechanical pencil.

Thats way, you can refill your mechanical pencils, and not have to continually waste wooden pencils.
1-40 of 623Next »
Gilan6 months ago

thanks This helped me get my environmental science merit badge in boyscouts

6581william.7 months ago

I think the funeral homes are responsible for mandating the vaults. Very stupid idea. If you want one, that is your decision but not one the state should force on you because the funeral home groups lobbied to get vaults mandated. Done. Thank you for reading.

upior2 years ago
Thank you for the list. You have many very valuable tips however I'm very surprised that within 100 ways to reduce your impact you forgot about one the most important to stop eating animal products. This can have the greatest positive impact on Earth. Please read "The livestock long shadows" by FAO in UN. I would add it as the first position
upior2 years ago
Phloem in Wester Europe it's called elimination communication and it's great. I used it with my daughter since she was 2 weeks old. I wasn't always successful because it needs a lot of attention but I had a cloth nappy as a back up. When my daughter was 1,5 years old I stopped using the back up because she was showing us when she wanted to go to the toilet.
We did however used also disposable nappies when we were outside but we used Beaming Baby biodegradable nappies
upior2 years ago
Read What’s feeding our food? The environmental and social impacts of the livestock sector by Friends of the Earth or "livestock long shadows" by UN and you will know that the biggest benefit you can do for the Earth is to go on plant based diet.
iya7 years ago
Hey, good work on the Instructables....but microwaves kill vital enzymes and vitamins that help you digest your food and just live in general, so you're best throw them out and get a toaster oven!!! thanks!
belkorin iya6 years ago
There is no conclusive evidence of this that I have ever seen. If there is, please post links to the information.
Just taste the food!!! We happen to have a rather sensitive sensor in our mouths to tell us the quality of the food we're eating. There is a reason microwaved food doesn't taste as good as conventionally cooked food. I haven't used a microwave in years and do not miss it at all!! I do love my pressure cooker though! I don't know why society needs a doctor to tell them something that common sense tells them. I don't need a stupid link, I know that microwaved food is bad because it doesn't taste right. I know that organic food is better because I no longer get heartburn 3 or 4 times a week. When I do get it it is because I ate at a restaurant that didn't use it. Doctors don't learn about nutrition, they learn how to prescribe drugs, and perform surgeries. Instead of listening to a brainwashed doctor, listen to your own body.
upior ronmaggi2 years ago
very true
upior2 years ago
Using microwaves will not help in the wrong run because it's unhealthy therefore people using them will use much more energy later to heal themselves
diyluke2 years ago
Hey peeps complaining about "food poisoning dangers". Wash them as you would a wooden cutting board, then coat them in a food-safe finish someone who makes wooden utensils/cutting boards/etc. uses on their wares.

soma003 years ago
you could use a whiteboard marker to write the contents on the fridge on the door or have a notepad, chalkboard or whatever nearby and write down the contents of the fridge. It would help you make up your mind before you open the door and rummage. Also a good way to mark the date you bought your produce etc. which will help minimise wastage.
I share my car with three other people who live in my building. I almost never use it, because I commute by bike and buses. Sharing it between three people cuts the registration and insurance costs to a third, and everyone pays for their own petrol (I keep a clip board in the car for a mileage log, and excel calculates km/L and charges back accordingly). We use a shared Google Calendar layer to book the car when we are going somewhere or have some need of it; if no-one's booked it you just take it when you want it.
Try turning off your computer instead. Stand-by and hibernate store the last state (of the computer) on the HDD.
Bottle caps are made from #5 plastic. You can recycle them at a gimme 5 location. http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/gimme5.html
triska5 years ago
I've been fascinated with dehumidifiers this entire summer. My air conditioner is not very good and the humidity level in my house is about 57%. The temp max in the house peaks at around 84% but I think if I reduce the humidity, and with the use of fans, my comfort level would be greatly enhanced. Also, I saw an exciting product last year that looks like a big dehumidifier, with the addition of a water purifier module. Then the outputs are 2 spigots with drinkable water, hot and cold! Bad thing, to me, is the cost is over $2,000. My cheapo solution to this is would be to use the dehumidifier water, like some of the other commenters mentioned, other non-drinkable uses in the home and garden. For example: Use it for the washing machine for the initial washing cycle. Also, for watering the garden, washing the car, etc. I remember years ago, a problem with dehumidifier water was mildew. How about adding a little vinegar or a little bleach to the water tank. Would that help, do you think? As for the drinking of distilled water discussion: I've been drinking distilled water for over 30 years and my teeth are great, hair healthy, skin clear and I feel pretty good. I do use a good multi-vitamin supplement and a calcium pill daily. Thanks for the stimulating post and the helpful comments.
Nyxius triska3 years ago
using a dehumidifier to lower the apparent temperature is a really effective strategy. Water has one of the highest specific heats of any substance known to man (which is why is is used everywhere for thermal management). Dropping your humidity by 1/2 would give the effect of dropping the apparent temperature by about 20 degrees (depending on actual temp). The actual temperature would stay the same, but sweat can now easily evaporate from your skin thereby cooling your skin.
However, you should only pursue this strategy if you can prevent the humidity in your house from rising again. If you can do this your house will stay "cool", if no you will have about as high of an energy bill as if you were using an air conditioner.
Generally it is easier to seal a house from moisture than to keep heat out, so overall I would recommend dehumidifiers.
gbaughma6 years ago
Using the water for such things as watering plants, or filling your clothes iron is great. But I wouldn't drink that water. The water that a dehumidifier generates is DISTILLED water. Not good for drinking.
From my understanding of distillation, that water is not distilled, it is condensed. Agreed that this water is not good for drinking because a dehumidifier is not a food service certified product and is likely to leach heavy metals and other nasties. and What makes distilled water bad to drink? Distilled alcohol is generally fine to drink.
In biology, I was shown that distilled water "over-inflates" cells (I know that's not the correct term)... but I actually saw cells burst... something about the distilled water gets over-absorbed into cells, causing cells to burst. Now granted, in a human, there's a lot more cells... but that's the demonstration my biology teacher gave me for the reason NOT to drink distilled water.
If I'm not mistaken, it has something to do with osmotic pressure.
Nyxius belkorin5 years ago
This is correct, the real danger here is that ion content of the blood drops causing brain cells to absorb water & swell.  This causes a rise in pressure in the skull and can lead to organ failure. The medical term for the condition is called "Hyponatremia".  This can lead to a very painful death.

Common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal mental status
    • Confusion
    • Decreased consciousness
    • Hallucinations
    • Possible coma
  • Convulsions
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
This is why I don't recommend drinking distilled water.
sbarton2 Nyxius3 years ago
Regardless of anything you are all saying, there are now commercially available dehumidifier/water coolers which have been purchased at my work and I haven't seen anyone dropping dead from over inflated cells...
http://www.konia.com.au/water_from_air.html
Nyxius sbarton23 years ago
a 150 lb person would have to drink about 2 gallons of distilled water over one or two hours in order for hyponatremia to be a medical threat. That or eat nothing and drink nothing else other than distilled water for more than a day. In the second case I'd believe you'd experience other symptoms before low salt content was an issue.
Even tapwater will almost surely have the same effect on raw cells.

There is a MASSIVE difference between drinking a substance and taking cells from your body and immersing them in that substance. The human body has all sorts of regulatory mechanisms (think urination) for keeping the osmotic pressure of our blood within certain limits.

Tapwater and distilled water are going to have negligible differences if they enter the body in a normal manner (drinking). The only real difference will be that proper distilled water will have zero minerals and will taste funny (plus a certain level of certain minerals in water can be good for you.)

In the case of dehumidifier water, it will be indistinguishable from distilled water EXCEPT that it was distilled using a non-food-grade device. I wouldn't drink it due to the possibility of contaminants from the dehumidifier.
nDR01d3 years ago
Actually there are PLENTY of Linux distributions that are specifically designed for older computers that have slow specs. As with all linux OS's, you don't need ANY antivirus software and new software updates alerts are (generally) normal practise. One click, one password and its done. PLUS, it's all free.
see w w w en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux for more detail etc.
nDR01d3 years ago
2.9Kg (weight of petroleum, rounded up) x 0.87 = 2.5Kg of carbon.
2.5Kg x 3.7 = 9.3Kg of CO2.
nDR01d3 years ago
378.54 litres = 100 gallons, 757 litres for 200 gallons. We live in a metric world. Only 3 countries don't use it.
nDR01d3 years ago
For everyone else who are not living in Burma, Liberia or the USA, 78F is about 25C and 68F is 20C.
Or you could use them for confining explosives, but that's not as eco friendly. Recycling's pretty kool.
OK this one got me to sign up and leave a comment. Simple test: Take a zippo style lighter, a bic style lighter and 2 metal plates. Support the plates above the lighters (in the flame) and keep the lighters lit for 20-30 seconds. Now examine the surface where the flames were touching. You will find a much larger black area over the zippo lighter. That is pollution you are looking at. I am not a representative of any lighter company, but I will say that Bic lighters will last a non smoker for years as long as the child lock is not removed. if the lock is removed, the gas begins to leak out. I have found that other types of refillable lighters tend to tear up, and develop leaks also. Now I'll throw this one in here too: those of you who insist on re-fillable lighters should ask a friend who uses non-refillable lighters to save them for you when they quit working. They are easily disassembled, for flint removal which can be re-used in your re-fillable lighters. Users of Zippo Brand re-fillable lighters should avoid flints out of Bic lighters because Bic uses a larger flint that will get stuck in the chamber.
Um, just for anyone glancing at this, I would love to rant on this guy.

Think people! Who cares about the soot! Soot is a speck of carbon! But the plastic lighters do matter.
A Zippo is made from almost entirely metal, hence being completely recyclable. Bic and other crack lighters, however, tend to be made out of plastic.
A smoker might go through over 500 Bic lighters in 10 ( YES TEN ) years. That's $50 a year.
Disposable Bic lighters are $1.
A Zippo has a guaranteed lifetime warranty and I'm sure that any emissions from the Zippo (shipping and mail courier gasoline that it takes when it is time to get it fixed) emits a tenth of the emissions that 500 disposable lighters will take to make, process, ship, and be lost, only to sit in a landfill once found and thrown away.
A Zippo's fuel will last for 10-14 days, with moderate to severe use. A bottle of Ronsonol (Zippo fluid) is $5 for a 12 ounces. A fill up ranges from 0.1 to 0.3 ounces, lasting about 40 refills for the 12 ounce bottle.
Do the math (12/.3=40*10days) equals 400 DAYS FOR $5 for severe use.
That is over a year's worth of fluid for $5! ( I used to lose a disposable lighter once a week. )
TOTAL SAVINGS PER YEAR = more than $33 for the first year ( Cheapest Zippo is $10 ) and every year after that you will save more than $43 with a Zippo over disposable lighters.
BTW, I said $33 and $43 because a flint will last for a good month or so, and I used to go through 6-10 flints a year. ($1 per 6 pack of Zippo flints.)
Also, a wick will last a moderately filled and properly maintained Zippo for a good five to ten years, adding cents per year, but the savings and lessened carbon emissions are MUCH greater than a disposable lighter will cause in it's lifetime.

Thank you,
Aaron
I am a smoker, and I use a Bic Lighter for up too 3 months at a time.

Simple fact is that fuel for Zippo lighters comes in a plastic container. It lasts the typical smoker about a month, then they throw the container away. The user of zippo lighters also has to have a can of fuel for the light around at all times.

If you drop a Zippo lighter while it's lit, it will not go out. Drop a Bic lighter, and it self extinguishes before it is out of your hand. Work for a major construction company sometime. Most of them have banned the use of Zippo lighters on the job because it wont go out.

Cost wise...I pay $1 or $2 per bic lighter. use maybe 4 a year. That's $8 a year. How the heck do you get that and I quote "TOTAL SAVINGS PER YEAR = more than $33 for the first year" When I only spend $8 a year anyway? Are you going to pay me the other $25 a year to use a zippo in which you provide wicks, flints, and fluid for?

What's this about a maintained Zippo? More work for me to do besides filling it, changing flints and changing wicks? There is no maintenance on a Bic lighter.

Under heavy use, a BIC will not last 3 months... A bottle of zippo fluid will last far more than a month. What do you mean by "The user of zippo lighters also has to have a can of fuel for the light around at all times."??

The self extinguishing has nothing to do with environmental protection, that is just a safety precaution, so that nothing catches fire by accident.

Properly maintained means not lighting it empty, not overfilling it. Flints are cheap and easy to replace. Saying that BICs are more environmentally friendly because they are easier to use doesn't make any sense at all...

For an equivalent amount of use, zippos are cheaper than BICs. Not easier, but cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.
kyriaap3 years ago
drive easy and not sporty like on a circuit (i know... its hard ;) ). try to shift gears up between 2000 and 2500 rpm and maintain that amount of rpm. will save you a lot of fuel.

imagine: here in the NL 1 Liter (yes, is really states Liter NOT Gallon) is around 1.70 Euro (!!!). saving some fuel is definately worth it!
hasen't it been made pretty clear that the single action your average person could take to reduce their impact is to stop eating animal products? i think its been shown pretty conclusively that that would lower your impact more then almost any 90 of the other ways you mention put together. why neglect what is clearly the # 1 greatest way to "be green"?
mlybbert3 years ago
what kind of pencil is that?
tinkerist4 years ago
our policy is that my wife controls the thermostat in the summer (and i walk around wearing little to nothing). i get to control it in the winter (while she's wearing 2 of everything, plus a robe). saves quite a bit!
Sketch984 years ago
Use LED light bulbs they use 7 watts instead of 60 and last for 9 years.
Sketch984 years ago
Actually if you don't live in a place where it is easy to grow the foods you are wasting more energy growing the food than it takes to transport them.
1-40 of 623Next »