Here are a few steps I came across that can make a big difference:
1. Clean your refrigerator coils every 6 months to use less energy and save money (going home to do that tonight. Pretty sure they’ve never been cleaned, unless you count moving)
2. Unplug TVs, DVD players, and computers when not in use. Even when turned off their standby consumption is about equal to a light bulb left on continuously.
3. Switch to fluorescent bulbs. You can save up to $60 in energy bills over the lifetime of the bulb.
4. Reduce flush water waste by switching to a low-flow toilet or flush mechanism. Put a brick or milk jug filled with pebbles to reduce the amount of water needed. Approximately 40% of the water used in your home goes down the toilet!
5. Fix drips and leaks. A slow, steady drip can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day. Replacing faucets and showerheads with low-flow versions can help a family of 4 save 20,000 gallons of water in a year!
6. Use your dishwasher. Today’s dishwashers can save up to 20 gallons of water a day by waiting until it is full vs. washing by hand. You can save more by letting the dishes air dry. Most likely you don’t need to use the prerinse if you scrape off most of the food before loading (saves another 20 gallons!).
7. Washing clothes in cold water eliminates 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions (EcoMom Alliance).
8. Cleaning the lint trap before every load reduces energy use by 30%.
9. Turning the thermostat up 2 degrees saves a lot of energy and money. Recommended settings are 68 in winter and 72 in summer.
10. Keeping your tires properly inflated saves gasoline and reduces emissions.
11. Walk instead of drive whenever possible.
12. By avoiding sudden breaking and acceleration you can increase your fuel efficiency as much as 40%. The recommended highway cruising speed is 55-60 mph (oops!)
13. Use cloth baby wipes. Most baby wipes can take several hundred years to break down. Each baby needs about 5000 wipes. If you need disposable wipes, rip in half. Cloth wipes are much more efficient at cleaning up messes and make sense if you’re already cloth diapering.
14. Bring your own reusable shopping bag.
15. Use a BPA free, stainless steel, or glass water bottle. Bottled water is usually not any better. About ¼ of bottled water comes from the tap.
16. Buy recycled paper. Reuse and recycle.
17. Recycle. 69% of Americans still do not recycle.
18. Have a kid swap party. No, not the kids…the toys!!!
19. Grow a garden.
20. Write a letter about environmental issues to your senator or representative.
Adapted from: 1. http://www.babycenter.com/0_20-small-steps-that-make-a-big-difference_1682233.bc?page=3