320 Ways to Go Green | Green Listed

How to Go Green

In honor of the old Green as a Thistle, here are the changes that Vanessa made during her green year that is still relevant today. I also added my own and made the list universal and not stuff that can be applied in Ontario, Canada only. Use this list to get some ideas to green up your life!

  1. Ban all styrofoam
  2. Switch to a recyclable toothbrush
  3. Turn down the thermostat
  4. No more bottled water
  5. Switch to organic conditioner
  6. Switch from disposable tape-based lint rollers to felt ones
  7. Eat locally
  8. Make all bills electronic
  9. Check tire pressure
  10. Don’t buy a microwave
  11. Switch to natural, biodegradable handwash with a recyclable container
  12. Switch to non-toxic, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent
  13. Run outside only (no treadmill)
  14. Use tote bags, no more plastic bags
  15. Switch to recycled toilet paper
  16. Cancel cable
  17. Switch to corn-based, biodegradable cat litter
  18. Give up disposable tissues, using handkerchiefs
  19. Use only natural, organic body lotions
  20. Permanently get rid of any aerosol cans at home
  21. Change over to natural glass and surface cleaner
  22. Make sure all the lights are turned off before I leave home
  23. Switch to natural body wash
  24. Use chemical-free, reusable cloth static-cling sheets in the dryer
  25. Unplug anything that isn’t in use
  26. No more disposable plastic cutlery or plates
  27. No driving on weekends
  28. Put away humidifier for good
  29. Use a thermos for coffee and tea
  30. No more gift wrap
  31. Change all light bulbs to CFLs (now LED)
  32. Switch to Eco-Dent floss
  33. Only drink fair-trade, organic, locally roasted coffee
  34. Use only beeswax candles; or soy-based, as long as there’s no paraffin
  35. Switch to natural toothpaste
  36. Change over to a natural laundry detergent
  37. Limit meat or go vegan
  38. Don’t buy any more petroleum-based bath poufs and loufas
  39. Be conscientious about how much water is used; only turning on the taps at a “trickle” when washing hands or brushing teeth and keeping showers to five minutes
  40. Use the air-dry function on the dishwasher
  41. No more using paper towels or hand-dryers in public bathrooms
  42. Invest in permanent laser hair removal rather than shaving or waxing forever
  43. Only local and fair-trade chocolate
  44. Pick up litter
  45. Properly dispose of used batteries at a local hazardous waste depot
  46. Switch to eco-friendly dish detergent
  47. Purchase “green” baking soda, incorporating it into household cleaning in place of harsher chemicals like bleach
  48. Only use one glass per day for water/milk/juice, one mug for coffee/tea and one wine glass
  49. Spend part of each day getting educated about environmental issues
  50. Use stainless steel rather than non-stick frying pan (takes less time to heat up)
  51. Don’t buy any more Q-tips
  52. Switch to natural deodorant
  53. Give up gum (especially the over-packaged kind)
  54. Turn my oven off for good
  55. Only buy loose-leaf tea in refillable packets
  56. Switch to natural, organic shampoo
  57. Only fill my kettle with the exact amount of water needed
  58. Shut down the computer every day at work instead of just logging off
  59. Don’t use the air-conditioning in the car
  60. Follow the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…” rule
  61. Use matches instead of lighters
  62. Carbon-offset all air travel
  63. Use only the herbs and spices grown at home
  64. Unplug the whole fridge
  65. Weekly lobbying, letter-writing and petitioning on behalf of various environmental campaigns
  66. Request that in-flight meals be vegetarian/vegan
  67. Don’t buy books from Amazon or Chapters/Indigo; only local, independent bookstores and only when necessary
  68. Purchase all music in mp3 format rather than CDs
  69. Get allergy shots instead of buying packs of antihistamine pills, eye drops and nasal sprays
  70. Make sure there’s always at least one ‘green’ element in the gifts given
  71. Switch to an all-natural acne ointment
  72. No more ordering food by delivery
  73. No more take-out
  74. Always ask for no receipt, unless one is really needed
  75. Refill all possible bottles (toiletries and household cleaning products); bringing own plastic food containers to the bulk bins at the grocery store
  76. Switch to eco-friendly dry cleaners
  77. Use a PVC-free shower curtain liner
  78. Turn off air-conditioning during the summer
  79. Recycle anything and everything that can be recycled — no excuses
  80. Switch to a natural bar soap
  81. Sleep naked
  82. Use a natural, mineral-based suntan lotion
  83. No more baths
  84. Let hair air dry
  85. Get rid of face wash and makeup remover, use bar soap instead
  86. Order smaller, more eco-friendly business cards
  87. Don’t use nail polish (or nail polish remover)
  88. Only water plants with greywater
  89. Only go to eco-friendly spas
  90. Pick weeds (in mom’s garden) by hand rather than with pesticide
  91. Use gauze instead of band-aids for minor cuts
  92. Switch to natural cat food
  93. Limit use of elevators
  94. Use cloths instead of paper towels for household cleaning
  95. Switch to natural hair dyes
  96. Rais environmental awareness through stickers, blogs and other media
  97. Use GoodSearch instead of Google
  98. Natural healing of sunburns (no more after-sun lotions)
  99. Only rent cars from companies that offer hybrids
  100. Sell the car!
  101. Handwash all dishes
  102. Buy tokens for public transit rather than tickets
  103. Only buy cereal in bulk
  104. Use plastic-free, eco-friendly photo albums
  105. Limit ironing time/heat
  106. Don’t use hair-straightening iron anymore
  107. Compost
  108. Keep the light in the bathroom off each morning while showering and brushing teeth
  109. Use the same fork or spoon stirred with to eat
  110. Don’t use any more straws
  111. Cut hair and keep it short (so less product is needed)
  112. Buy an all-natural kitchen/bathroom cleaner
  113. Use biodegradable pens
  114. Digital photos only
  115. No more Swiffer products
  116. No more tabloids or trashy magazines
  117. Only stay at eco-friendly hotels
  118. Only buy sustainable and/or local clothing
  119. No drinking any more canned beverages
  120. No drinking anymore bottled beverages
  121. Purchase only fair-trade and if possible local flowers
  122. Give regularly to a green cause
  123. No more recreational driving/boating/etc
  124. No more gyms, all exercise must be outdoors
  125. Eat food straight from the pot or pan
  126. Fix something if it’s broken rather than getting a new one
  127. Bring own headphones for the plane
  128. Use corn-based BioBags for the garbage bins
  129. Volunteer regularly with a green organization
  130. Invest in eco-friendly cat litter tray liners
  131. Switch to a natural toilet bowl cleaner
  132. No more smoking whatsoever
  133. Buy organic cotton or bamboo bedsheets
  134. Enforce the shoes-off-at-the-door policy
  135. Use hand-held fans instead of electric ones
  136. Don’t buy any leather
  137. Make sure my house sitter agrees to the green rules
  138. Only buy eco-friendly jewellery
  139. Wash all my clothes in cold water
  140. Feed cat natural treats
  141. Shower in lukewarm, rather than hot, water
  142. No more gift cards unless they’re homemade from scrap paper
  143. Print on both sides of the page
  144. No more Wite-Out
  145. Buy all my spices in bulk
  146. Put a bottle of water in the toilet tank to reduce the amount used per flush
  147. Only buy eco-friendly shoes
  148. Use a hand-held bicycle pump rather than CO2 cylinders
  149. Use biodegradable soy-based peanuts or popcorn when sending packages in the mail
  150. Don’t wear a gown at the doctor’s office
  151. Buy and donate clothes to Goodwill and other thrift stores
  152. Don’t use staples
  153. Use wind-up or solar-powered flashlights
  154. Get indoor plants
  155. Only use natural perfume
  156. Only get hand massages rather than using massage chairs or gadgets
  157. Use electronic tickets
  158. Eat only organic tubers (squash, eggplant, etc.)
  159. Green dating through GreenSingles.com or Green Drinks
  160. No more paper napkins
  161. Preserve jams and can fruits
  162. Only buy used sports equipment
  163. Groom cat more often to prevent hairballs (and thus use less paper towel and water to clean them up)
  164. Use coconut oil instead of K-Y jelly
  165. Wear items of clothing twice or more, as long as they’re not dirty or smelly
  166. Take smaller notes and using both sides of the page during interviews
  167. Don’t use toilet paper for peeing
  168. Natural bug extermination, ie. drowning fruit flies in wine or syrup
  169. Switch to a natural mouthwash
  170. Don’t use the Internet after dinner
  171. Don’t buy any more DVDs or CDs
  172. Decrease the margins on my Word documents
  173. Don’t go back on the birth control pill
  174. Sign up with a CSA for weekly delivery of local, organic produce
  175. Only purchase ceramics from potters who recycle their clay
  176. Reuse envelopes
  177. Use towels a minimum of five times before washing them
  178. Cut the end off the toothpaste tube when it’s almost done to scrape the last little bit out
  179. Hang the Do Not Disturb sign on hotel room doors so housekeeping doesn’t need to vacuum, change linens, replace toilettries, etc.
  180. Use incense or candles instead of artificial room fresheners
  181. Use chalkboards instead of whiteboards or flip charts
  182. Water outdoor plants at night instead of during the day
  183. Cook at a gentle boil instead of a rolling boil
  184. Use only sustainably made cutting boards
  185. Use water or homemade saline solution instead of synthetic eye drops
  186. Use Lunapads rather than disposable pads
  187. Get ice cream in a cone instead of a disposable cup
  188. Stick to designated paths while hiking
  189. Work from home at least two days a week
  190. Towel off in the shower before stepping onto the bathmat
  191. Smile at one person you don’t know every day
  192. Use parchment paper or cheesecloth instead of cling wrap
  193. Only buy wooden hangers, preferably used
  194. Swim in natural bodies of water, not public pools
  195. Pull the shower curtain open when finished so it dries properly and requires less cleaning
  196. Turn down the temperature on my water heater
  197. Get cooking smells off fingers with used green tea leaves rather than soap
  198. Vote for the Green Party
  199. Make sure I don’t pour grease down the drain
  200. Borrow and share
  201. Soak dishes overnight so less water is needed to clean the tough stuff off
  202. Navy showers
  203. Let clothes air-dry on a rack, not in the dryer
  204. Don’t take anymore supplements, vitamins, detox shakes, etc.
  205. Use scouring pads made from recycled plastic
  206. Only buy organic cotton underwear
  207. Make sure to use every last bit of shampoo/ketchup/etc in the bottle, using the “hit and swish” technique with some water
  208. Consume every part of the pumpkin carved for Halloween
  209. Go by the 10-second rule whenever food is dropped on the floor
  210. Share living space with a roommate whenever possible
  211. Use the Diva Cup instead of tampons
  212. Bring own reusable bib to the dentist’s
  213. Eat apple cores (and pear cores, etc) to waste less food
  214. Only buy and play eco-friendly games
  215. Chop food up extra small before putting it in the food processor
  216. Don’t anymore hand sanitizer
  217. Make a Halloween costume/decorations from clothes I already have
  218. Don’t use Post-It notes; scrap paper instead
  219. Empty lint traps, cleaning filters on a regular basis
  220. Natural aloe-coated condoms instead of Trojan or Durex
  221. Don’t use any toothpicks
  222. Don’t buyany more cheap umbrellas; using a sturdy big one and sharing it whenever possible
  223. Get others to do green stuff that you can’t
  224. Drink green tea instead of prescription drugs when having a nervous breakdown
  225. Enforce quiet time (no radio, stereo or other music)
  226. Use old socks and T-shirts for dish rags
  227. Switch to a natural carpet cleaner
  228. Don’t use the fan in my bathroom
  229. Properly dispose of electrical waste like old computers and cell phones
  230. Back up work with a USB stick rather than CDs
  231. Don’t bother with any rubber charity wristbands or ribbon campaigns
  232. Reuse old floppy discs as coasters
  233. Drive the speed limit when I rent a Zipcar
  234. Drink straight from the bottle
  235. Don’t fruit and veggie wash or rinsing things for more than a second
  236. Knit scarves instead of buying them
  237. Hold hair up with a pen, chopstick or rubber band from my newspaper instead of buying more elastic bands or other hair accessories
  238. Polish silverware with baking soda
  239. Cancel magazine subscriptions, donating extras to the doctor’s office
  240. Buy used furniture and recover it rather than getting new stuff
  241. Learn to sew and mend my own clothes
  242. Reuse a fake Christmas tree from last year, not buying ornaments
  243. Ask that others only buy me eco-friendly gifts
  244. Keep my addresses on my computer rather than buying a paper notebook
  245. Use an all-natural shoe polish, like coconut oil
  246. Make my own soup broth instead of buying it
  247. No more tape
  248. Don’t shaving legs anymore
  249. Don’t consume anything that contains or is manufactured with genetically modified corn (ie. high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, ethanol, corn-fed beef, etc)
  250. Only buy my beans dry, in bulk
  251. Have a regular “inside day”, staying at home and not buying anything
  252. Add an eco-friendly tip to my email signature
  253. Only drink fair-trade tea
  254. Don’t buy any individually wrapped food
  255. Only take cabs fueled by natural gas
  256. Let my dishes dry in the dishwasher rack with my houseplants beneath to collect the excess water dripping off
  257. Only buy organic, unbleached cotton towels
  258. Use up my change at the cash register
  259. Use a broom and dustpan instead of a vacuum
  260. Pack carry-on rather than check-in luggage
  261. No more paper towels
  262. Use scrap paper as bookmarks instead of buying new ones
  263. Use manual tools rather than electric or battery-powered ones
  264. Organize my stuff so I don’t lose things (and therefore don’t need to repurchase them)
  265. No more highlighters
  266. Make my own cosmetics and beauty products
  267. Use old books and shoe boxes as storage containers
  268. Only purchase used kitchenware and appliances
  269. Restrict to cold water only for washing hands, face and dishes
  270. Use biodegradable chain lube for my bike
  271. Don’t buy anymore plastic whatsoever
  272. Use a soap dish made from reclaimed chopsticks
  273. Opt for a green-minded real estate company when buying/selling my house
  274. Only eat at restaurants that serve local and/or organic food, and offer eco-friendly take-out options
  275. Use Coccoina, an all-natural glue
  276. Get used boxes for moving day
  277. Use organic cotton produce bags and bulk-bin sacks
  278. Frame art with reclaimed barn board and recycled glass
  279. Go to an eco-conscious bike repair shop
  280. Shop at green malls
  281. Only use the small burners on my stove
  282. Send out electronic invites rather than paper ones
  283. Make fenders for my bike from old water bottles
  284. Have a green moving party — using cargo bikes, trolleys. man power and other carbon-free alternatives to vans and trucks
  285. Eat all my skins (potato, carrot, cucumber, etc)
  286. Switch to an eco-conscious accountant for tax season
  287. Only buy handmade, bamboo or organic cotton blankets
  288. Comment on other people’s decisions that aren’t very green, educate them about why it’s important to consider alternatives
  289. Learn shorthand, so I take smaller notes and thus save paper
  290. Squeegee shower tiles each day to prevent mildew and mold
  291. Only consume organic maple syrup
  292. Buy a used mattress and boxspring
  293. Screen my future tenants to ensure green practices throughout the household
  294. Use a natural pumice stone to remove pilly fluff from sweaters instead of sending them to the drycleaners
  295. Plan out my routes, double-checking maps and directions to avoid getting lost on road trips (and thus preventing excess CO2 being emitted by the car)
  296. Shovel snow and using sand instead of corrosive salt or antifreeze
  297. Install a dual-flush toilet
  298. Buy low-VOC paints
  299. Set up a rain barrel to collect water for plants, etc.
  300. Don’t wear any more makeup
  301. Use real, leftover wood for fires instead of artificial firelogs
  302. Don’t run lots of applications on my computer at once
  303. Use rechargeable batteries
  304. Close curtains at night to insulate the house
  305. Only buy recycled glass
  306. Take the most direct flight instead of cheaper ones with stopovers
  307. Use natural, homemade furniture polish
  308. Tuck pants into boots/socks to prevent them from getting dirty
  309. Use a service like Green Map when touring a city
  310. Go skinny dipping
  311. Help push stuck cars out of the snow
  312. Cover holes in the wall with pictures instead of buying plaster
  313. Write an eco-friendly funeral into my will
  314. Make my own stamps, or using lickable ones instead of stickers
  315. Write poetry in haiku form only
  316. Recycle my old running shoes
  317. Delete all spam and stale emails from my Gmail inbox
  318. Only buy fair-trade vanilla products
  319. Fix other people’s green mistakes
  320. Sleep more

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