7 Non-Trendy Yet Effective Green Living Tips

7 Non-Trendy Yet Effective Green Living Tips

Going green doesn’t have to be trendy or expensive. Here are 7 affordable and practical tips to make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly without breaking the bank:

1. Drive Less

One of the best things you can do for the environment is drive less. Here are some ways I’ve made this work for me:

  • Walk or bike for short trips and errands whenever possible. This saves gas and is good exercise. I try to walk to the grocery store if I just need a few items.

  • Consolidate trips. Plan ahead and group multiple errands into one trip to cut down on driving time. I often run errands on my way home from work.

  • Use public transportation. Buses, subways, and trains keep individual cars off the road. I take the bus to downtown events to avoid parking hassles.

  • Carpool with family, friends, or coworkers when you have a common destination. My coworker and I carpool twice a week which cuts our gas usage in half.

Driving less has saved me money on gas and maintenance while reducing my carbon footprint. It just takes some extra planning which becomes a habit over time.

2. Conserve Water

It takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat water so conserving water reduces your energy usage too. Here are my top tips:

  • Take shorter showers by installing a water-efficient showerhead. My 5 minute showers use about half the water of long baths.

  • Fix leaks as soon as possible. I fixed a leaky toilet flapper which was wasting 200 gallons per day.

  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. I switched my washing machine to the cold setting which reduces hot water usage.

  • Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth or shaving. This simple habit saves 4-6 gallons per minute.

  • Water plants early or late in the day to reduce evaporation. I water at sunset which is better for my plants too.

With these easy no-cost steps, I’ve cut my indoor water usage by about 20% this year.

3. Change Your Diet

Eating less meat and more plants is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some diet tweaks that worked for me:

  • Have meatless meals once or twice a week. Recipes like veggie chili, pasta primavera, or tofu stir fry are full of flavor.

  • Choose chicken and fish over beef and pork. Red meat has about 10x the carbon footprint of chicken or fish.

  • Eat seasonal produce to reduce transportation emissions. I buy fresh veggies from local farms during summer.

  • Cut food waste by planning meals, storing leftovers properly, and composting scraps. I keep a list on my fridge to use up ingredients.

  • Bring your own containers to restaurants for leftovers rather than using disposable takeout boxes. I always carry reusable containers in my purse or car.

With a few simple substitutions, I’ve reduced the carbon footprint of my diet without feeling deprived. Eating this way has even improved my health.

4. Use Energy Efficient Appliances

Choosing energy efficient appliances saves electricity and money:

  • When appliances like the refrigerator need replacing, look for Energy Star rated models. I chose an Energy Star fridge which uses 40% less energy.

  • Swap out incandescent light bulbs for LEDs. LEDs use at least 75% less energy and last years longer. I changed my most used bulbs first.

  • Wash clothes in cold water and air dry when possible. I installed a retractable clothesline so I can air dry year round.

  • Unplug devices when not in use to avoid phantom load. I plugged my entertainment system into a power strip for easy on/off.

  • Insulate electric outlets on exterior walls to reduce heating and cooling loss. I used $1 foam outlet seals on my south-facing walls.

Replacing my old appliances and making a few upgrades will pay for themselves in energy savings within a couple years.

5. Upcycle and Repurpose

With a little creativity, many items destined for the landfill can be repurposed or upcycled into something new. Here are some ways I give used items new life:

  • Repurpose jars as food storage containers. Sturdy glass jars can store dry goods and leftovers.

  • Use scrap fabric for rags, quilts, doll clothes, or crafty DIY projects. I crafted tote bags from old t-shirts.

  • Refinish or refurbish furniture that needs minor repairs. I sanded and re-stained a bookshelf to refresh it.

  • Donate or sell quality used items you no longer need. I sold kids clothes and toys locally when my daughter outgrew them.

  • Compost food scraps and yard waste to nourish your garden soil. I repurposed last year’s spoiled pumpkins into rich compost.

Finding new uses for unneeded stuff reduces waste and saves money. It also taps into your creativity!

6. Green Your Cleaning

Harsh cleaning products contain chemicals that are bad for you and the environment. Luckily, there are simple green alternatives hiding in your pantry:

  • Clean windows and mirrors with a mix of vinegar and water. This works just as well without toxic fumes.

  • Disinfect surfaces with hydrogen peroxide. I spray counters and toilets to kill germs without chlorine.

  • Make all-purpose cleaner by mixing baking soda and water. This works great on most surfaces.

  • Scrub toilets with a pumice stone to remove stains and build-up naturally. No need for toxic cleaners in the bowl.

  • Unclog drains with a simple baking soda and vinegar treatment. It’s cheaper and safer than chemical drain cleaners.

I avoid exposure to toxic chemicals by using simple homemade cleaners. My house stays clean without creating pollution.

7. Plant a Garden

Growing some of your own food is deeply satisfying while benefiting the environment:

  • Vegetable gardens provide hyper-local food with minimal transportation. I grow tomatoes, zucchini, greens, and herbs in my backyard.

  • Fruit trees and berry bushes can produce abundant harvests year after year. I planted dwarf apple trees suited for my backyard.

  • Herb pots on a sunny porch or windowsill provide fresh seasoning. I grow basil, rosemary, oregano, and mint for cooking.

  • Composting vegetable scraps and yard waste reduces waste while nourishing your soil. I compost all my food prep waste.

  • Rain barrels collect free water for irrigation. I attached rain barrels to my gutters to water my garden beds.

Growing my own produce has slashed my grocery bill while teaching me about nature. I love eating what I grow!

Those are my top 7 affordable, manageable tips for greening your lifestyle. What are your favorite non-trendy ways to live sustainably? Implementing just a few of these will make a difference while saving you money. The planet will thank you!