15 Sustainable Living Tips for 2018 That Will Make You Green
The new year is here and it’s a great time to go over some simple sustainable living tips for 2018. We’ve put together a list of some easy things you can do to decrease your environmental footprint in your day to day life and make for a greener 2018. Nothing earth shattering here, just some little tweaks you can add into your daily routine. So, without further ado: My Green Marketplace’s ten sustainable living tips for 2018.
1. Collect and Save Water
This one is certainly familiar to those of you living in California where there have been some massive droughts in recent years. Amazingly, everyone talks about saving water during the droughts but seems to forget all about it after they end. All you have to do to start saving water now is to make a few simple changes. Try keeping a bucket in your shower and let it fill as you wash, then pour it into the plants when it gets full. This is about as easy as it gets – your writer can speak from experience – and makes for a good conversation starter with your neighbors.
Here’s another one: take shorter showers. Now I know for some of you this is a tough ask because that shower feels sooo good. But if you can shorten it just a bit, or at least shorten your average showering time, you can make a big difference over the long run. Make it fun. Try timing yourself, or have your significant other do so and serve as each other’s shower police. You’ll get a nice little treat when you get your water bill as well. (Then you can spend that money at My Green Marketplace.)
Interested in water issues? You should check out Water.Org. They are doing some really cool international development work involving water. Or, take a look at the Soil and Water Conservation Society. They are doing neat things right here at home.
2. Turn Down the Water Temperature
A good general rule is to make sure that your water heater is set between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 48 – 54 degrees Celsius if you aren’t in the U.S. Doing so will both reduce energy usage and save you some money. You can also turn down the heat of your shower or bath water. (Difficult, I know.) And, try to avoid doing loads of laundry using the ‘hot’ cycle when you can. Lastly, if you are heating your pool, consider shaving off a degree or two. All of these things together can make a real difference.
3. Avoid Bottled Water
Obviously My Green Marketplace wants you to remain supremely hydrated at all times. Doing so has a ton of health benefits and we want you to be healthy. That having been said, try to avoid drinking bottled water. It is terribly inefficient. Just think of the environmental cost of making and shipping all those millions of bottles of water each year. Not too mention throwing them away or recycling them. This one is a no brainer. Get a reusable water bottle and just keep filling it. They have high tech versions which can stay cold or hot for hours, and are a good way to track your daily intake.
4. Cut Out the Spam
All of that useless junk mail takes a toll on the planet. It has to be created, printed, shipped, and then quickly transported to the local dump. Cut yourself out of the equation by contacting companies sending you useless information to ask to be taken off of their list. In some places you can also alert the post office that you don’t accept junk mail and they can filter out certain postal waste on your behalf. The planet will thank you, and so will your postman.
5. Change Your Light Bulbs to More Efficient CFLs and LEDs
Try switching to CFL bulbs or LED lighting instead of traditional incandescent lights. Traditional light bulbs are incredibly inefficient and only convert around ten percent of the energy they use into light – the rest is lost as heat. They also don’t last very long and have to be constantly replaced. By switching to more modern and efficient choices you can substantially decrease your energy usage while throwing fewer bulbs in the trash. This will help both the planet and your wallet. (And possibly your eyes.)
Oh yes, and remember to turn off the lights. It sounds simple, but its amazing how much energy is lost because people just forget to turn off the lights or leave them on for too long. Consider using motion detecting lights if this is an issue for you.
6. Dress for Warmth
Everyone loves a cozy feeling house in the winter time, but if all of us turned our thermostat down just a couple of degrees we could make a serious dent in our energy consumption. When the cold winds of winter start blowing in a couple of months try tweaking your normal house temperature by two degrees and make up for it by getting more use out of that cozy sweater you got from Aunt Edith and those lovely bunny slippers you have been hiding in your closet.
To learn more about managing thermostat usage, take a look at some great information provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. To learn more about bunny slippers, please see the picture to the right. To finish our sustainable living tips for 2018, just read on, with or without your slippers.
7. Be More Efficient with the Air Conditioner
The air conditioner is a massive energy hog. In the long term, insulating your roof and/or windows can be a great way to decrease your cooling needs. Day to day, some simple tips can help you become more efficient. (And, as is the case with many of these
tips, help you to save some money.) Close all of your doors before turning on the air conditioner. That will make the cooling process a bit more efficient. Window shades and blinds can be helpful by limiting the heat that comes in via sunlight. And if you don’t have one, consider buying a fan, or fans. They can do a great job cooling you off. Finally, when you do turn on the AC, try to get in the habit of increasing the temperature by a degree or two from your usual setting. Together, these steps can make a big difference.
8. Commit to using Reusable Bags
By now most of us are getting familiar with using reusable bags. But a lot of us (your author included) are still struggling to improve our use rate. Try really committing to using them all of the time in 2018, whether you are going to the grocery store, the hardware store, or to buy a new pair of blue jeans. Here’s a tip to make it easier to remember: if you are driving just keep them in your trunk. That way they are ready for you whenever you make an impulse stop for some ice cream…
9. Use Energy Star Appliances & Electronics
When it comes time to replace your appliances and electronics buy Energy Star versions. The Energy Star is a government-back symbol indicating a given product satisfies a minimum level of energy efficiency. Since 1992 Energy Star and its corporate partners have saved Americans an estimated 3.5 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity and $450 billion, all while substantially decreasing emissions.
If you are interested in learning more about energy efficiency, be sure to check out the Energy Star website. In addition to products, the Energy Star is used with homes, businesses, and local governments.
10. Use Cloth Instead of Paper Towels & Napkins
Substituting cloth for paper can be a great way to decrease your waste output. Single use paper towels are not a very green way to clean your home. Instead of using paper towels you can repurpose old t-shirts or boxers into reusable cleaning rags. Obviously, you will have to occasionally clean the homemade rags, just don’t do so too often, use cold water, and if you are using a washing machine be sure to wait until you have a full load. (What better use for a Grateful Dead 1996 Summer Tour shirt than greening the planet?) Also, be sure to buy your green laundry detergent from My Green Marketplace. Tell them Bryan sent you and you might get a great deal.
Don’t stop there. Replacing disposable napkins with reusable ones is also a great move. Or, if you really want to commit to a green lifestyle just use old t-shirts or boxers as napkins. (At the very least, using boxers as napkins will serve as a great conversation starter.)
11. Creatively UpCycle
Upcycling is taking old things that are usually thrown away and coming up with creative ways of using them again. (Basically what we were talking about when we recommended you clean spills with your old boxer shorts.) Just don’t stop there. Need a new pencil holder? Try using an old glass jar. Need some boxes to organize your stuff? Try using the boxes from your last shopping spree. You get the idea.
A great company doing awesome things with upcycling is Upcycle That. Founded by Judy Rom and Jacques Karsten, they are simply awesome. Be sure to check them out.
12. Get the Little Ones to Go Green
Have some kids running around the house? Reading them classic books like Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax and explaining to them the importance of protecting the environment can help to create a whole team of environmentalists. Some family friends of My Green Marketplace did just this and not only did the kids stop letting the water run while brushing their teeth, they began catching things that mom and dad might miss. Sometimes you are just too busy to remember to turn off the lights or may accidentally throw away something recyclable. Having the kids serve as the last line of defense is a great way to cut down on ‘errors’.
13. Start Composting
Food scraps and yard waster account for 20 – 30% of the waste that we throw away. That is a lot. Composting is a great way to decrease the amount of waste going to our landfills, decrease our methane production, and create some great all natural soil. It’s actually quite easy. One option is to get a home composting kit (the top brands are reviewed here). Or, if you prefer you can set up your own composting pit in your backyard. Either way it is one of the truly great ways to go green in 2018. A great place to start learning about composting is on the EPA’s website here. They have all kinds of great information to get you going.
14. Set Green Reminders for Yourself
This one might seem a bit crazy, but it’s just some basic psychology. If you set yourself reminders to act more green, for example on your calendar, you will be much more likely to make the changes that you are hoping to make. Better yet, set reminders to come back and reread our blog post. Just kidding…Not really…
15. Shop at My Green Marketplace
Last but not least, do your best to use green products and to support the producers of green products. What better way to do this than to shop with us at My Green Marketplace. When you shop with us, not only are you getting great green products at a great price, your purchases help to support wind farms, clean water projects, recycling plants, and other great green projects.
Sustainable Living Tips for 2018 – Summarized
So there you have it. 15 simple sustainable living tips for 2018: collect and save water, turn down the water temperature, avoid bottled water, cut out the spam, change your light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs, dress warmer at home, be more efficient with the air conditioner, commit to using reusable bags, use Energy Star appliances and electronics, use cloth instead of paper towels or napkins, creatively upcycle, get the little ones to go green, start composting, set yourself reminders, and shop at My Green Marketplace.
Be sure to check back with us frequently. We will be posting all kinds of great green living tips and information on a regular basis. And if you haven’t done so, check out our green marketplace where everything you buy helps to support cutting edge green projects. Best of luck on having a green 2018. And remember, a lot of small changes can make a big difference.
Want to learn about another company doing great things for the environment in 2018? (Besides My Green Marketplace of course.) Read up on Salty Girl Seafood, a company started by two California girls looking to create a greener seafood industry. Do you think you would like kelp jerky? If so check out our blog post on the great new company trying to bring it to you.
Have some other great green living tips. Leave us a comment below! Have an idea for My Green Marketplace, reach out to us!