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Easy Tips for Sustainable Living

Below are suggestions for ways to live more sustainably. In some instances, these are one-time changes that can make an impact. In other cases, they are habits that we can all work to build collectively. In every case, these tips will help you do more than just save the planet--they will also help you save money or improve your health!

1. Dial Back Your Thermostat

Approximately one-fifth of all the energy used in this country is used to heat, cool, and light our homes and operate home appliances! Try a free home energy audit to start saving energy and money!

2. Plant a Tree!

Not only do trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but they lower heating and cooling bills, provide privacy, and build habitat for local birds!

3. Reduce Your Food Waste

Plan your meals and a detailed list of the ingredients they require before going to the grocery store. Having a list to stick to will help save you money! And learn about fun and creative ways to get the most out of your food through canning, pickling, and cooking!

4. Try Meatless Mondays

The manufacture of meat is one of the most environmentally damaging processes on our planet. By opting to switch to a vegetarian diet just one day a week, that would be the equivalent of not driving for five weeks! Learn about how far your impact can go just by changing your diet.

5. Remember your Reusables

Go beyond reusable water bottles by bringing your own cutlery, lunch boxes, and reusable bags whenever you dine or shop out! An easy way to help you remember them is by keeping them in your car, or leaving them next to your phone, wallet, and keys each night.

6. Get Thrifty!

The textile industry is one of the highest-polluting industries globally! Whenever possible, try to do your shopping at local thrift shops, buy from used vendors, or even arrange clothing swaps among your friends and communities! Embrace the reuse of materials beyond clothing by shopping for home goods at used furniture and consignment stores. And instead of throwing out your old belongings, sell or donate whatever is usable!

7. Drive with the Planet in Mind

By accelerating and decelerating more gradually and maintaining a speed close to 55 mph whenever safely possible, you maximize your car's fuel efficiency! If you're stopped, turn your car off (idling for longer than 30 seconds wastes more gas than turning your car on and off). Remembering to keep your tires well pumped, your car exterior clean, and your cargo light will ensure that you are operating at peak efficiency--reducing emissions and saving you money!

8. Greening your Cleaning

This is as simple as changing your washer setting to use cold water and using the beautiful Bay Area climate to dry your laundry on a clothing line! Around the house, use old rags or cut-up towels as a substitute for paper towels, and purchase non-toxic or environmentally safe cleaning solutions. These habits reduce your energy bill and can keep your home free of harmful toxins.

9. Vocalize your Preferences When Shopping and Dining...

Request no lid or straw for your drink. Ask for no plastic bags with your to-go containers or that there be no unnecessary packaging for your purchases. Ask what kinds of vegan options are available. Ask if there are more sustainable product alternatives. You may feel a bit demanding by asking these questions, but businesses change their practices when they see that customers are looking for change! Be confident that asking these questions helps usher in a new norm for shopping and dining!

10. ...And When You're With Friends and Family!

Many people are understandably apprehensive about "preaching" their sustainable lifestyles to others. But changes are most inspired by those closest to us! Try to positively encourage your friends and family to take on these changes with you. Explain how making certain changes has improved your health or saved you money! Take on challenges together and commit to holding each other accountable for one meatless meal a week or one week without plastics! It can make the whole experience more enjoyable.