You have set a goal, you have taken the pledge, and now it's time to make changes.
Prioritize your changes
Making those changes to go green is much easier than you think. Start with the little things you can do every day and prioritize the larger investments. You can immediately reduce greenhouse gases and make a less harmful impact on the environment.
1 Recycle as much as possible. This is particularly true with the plastic and paper products that you use. Paper accounts for about 40 percent of all municipal waste.
- Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough energy to power the average American home for five months.
- Recycled paper can be made into paper towels, notebook paper, envelopes, copy paper and other paper products, not to mention, boxes, hydro-mulch, molded packaging, compost, and even kitty litter.
- Plastic bags are commonly recycled at the many collection programs offered through major grocery stores.
2 Use water wisely. Pay attention to how you use water, turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth, wash clothes in cold water, fix leaking toilets and faucets, install rain barrels. A leaking toilet could waste 200 gallons of water a day. (Source: EPA)
3 Reduce your energy use. Make sure your home is properly insulated. Keep your heating and cooling systems properly maintained, and switch to reusable filters when possible. You can save money right now by taking small steps, like switching to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, or unplugging chargers while not in use. Just changing out five incandescent 60-watt bulbs with the equivalent CFLs can save you up to $33 per year or even more by replacing with LED bulbs.
4 Reduce fuel use. Schedule a tune up for your car and check the tire pressure. Start reducing those unnecessary car trips. Consider purchasing a hybrid or more energy efficient car. Better yet, take public transportation or carpool with a fellow worker.
Create a checklist
Write down the changes that you intend to make, create a timeframe to get them done, and review them with each season. Keep a checklist to keep on track, and watch your savings add up!