There's nothing more important in our lives right now than the planet that we live on.

After suffering years of abuse, our planet needs our help more than ever in maintaining its natural flow and keeping it healthy.

Here are a few little ways that each and every one of us can make the effort to take into consideration in order to help our planet.

 

First thing's first...

Try not to preheat the oven! Unless it's absolutely essential, for instance, if you're making bread, the oven doesn't need to be preheated and whatever's being cooked up can go straight in from the get-go.

Turn off your computer overnight.

It may seem like a small thing, but turning off your computer overnight will massively reduce the power used. It has been worked out that an average of $14 can be saved every year by doing this.

Use a clothesline.

I know how convenient a dryer is, but letting your clothes dry naturally in the sunshine is so much better for the environment. Plus, it'll reduce energy usage by a ton!

Use energy efficient lightbulbs.

Energy efficient lightbulbs do exactly what the name says: reduce the amount of energy used. Not only is this good for the planet, it's good for your bank balance, too.

Always recycle glass.

A staggering statistic proved that unrecycled glass can take up to a million years to decompose. Recycling your glass can reduce related water pollution by up to fifty percent and air pollution by up to twenty percent.

Don't pre-rinse the dishes.

For those folk who simply cannot live without their dishwasher - at least cut out the pre-rinse. There are detergents out there that will do a decent job of making your dishes just as clean and sparkly without the need for a pre-rinse.

Have a vegetarian day.

Before anybody protests, this doesn't mean you have to go full veggie. Trying to commit to at least one meat-free day a week can make an unlikely difference. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. Think of all that water saved...

Launder sensibly.

As convenient as half-loads may be, they're not good for the environment, nor are they good for your wallet. It's wise to think about the temperature, too - if every household in America switched from a hot to a warm cycle, it could save the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

Choose diapers wisely.

Wherever possible, choose cloth diapers. This aids the environment and is also kinder to babies' skin. There are also environmentally-friendly disposable diaper brands out there if need be.

Never throw away newspapers.

Make sure to recycle all of those old newspapers - sixty-nine percent (which is 44 million) of newspapers printed in the US are thrown away every day. Even by recycling only 1 a week, half a million trees could be saved. Think about it...

Use all of the paper.

Rather than throwing away sheets and sheets of potential writing space, when you jot down a small note, save the rest of the page for later. American businesses waste 21 million tonnes of paper every year - hence why a lot of businesses are now going paperless.

Don't waste napkins.

Current figures show that, if everyone in the US used one less napkin daily, one billion pounds of space in landfills could be saved. So next time, just take the number of napkins that you actually need...

Plant your own tree.

There are so many benefits to planting your own tree in your back yard. It's overall good for the environment, both for the land and the air, it can shade your home, and, ultimately, cut back on aircon usage. It can even increase the value of your property if you give it enough time...

Personalize gift wrapping.

Wrapping gifts is a major waste of paper and resources. Re-use gift wrap, bows, and ribbons.

Opt for a shower.

Opting for a shower instead of a bath can save a huge amount of water. Baths use approximately double the amount of water than a shower, so having shower doesn't just save water, it saves money too.

Share a shower...

Feeling a bit frisky, or are you just super passionate about saving water? Sharing a shower with a partner uses half the amount of water that would be used between two people. Just saying...

Shorten shower times.

Despite showers being the preferred method of saving water, shortening your shower time to just two minutes can save even more water... if that's possible!

Turn off the tap when brushing.

Turning off the tap whilst brushing your teeth can save 5 gallons of water per day - that's the equivalent of 1.5 gallons of water across the US!

Re-think water consumption.

Rather than buying multiple bottles of water whilst you're on the go, why not stick to one bottle and just refill when you need to? Around ninety percent of plastic water bottles end up decomposing in landfills rather than being recycled.

Use cruise control.

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For all of the drivers out there, if your car has cruise control, use it! You paid for it along with the car anyway, and it will help to improve your mileage by at least fifteen percent, which will help save the environment, gasoline, and your wallet!

Invest in a travel mug.

Having a travel mug actually keeps your coffee/tea hotter for longer, meaning less waste and less boiling of the kettle. Many coffee chains now sell their own reusable mugs to save on plastic usage, and many even offer a discount when you have your own mug.

Adjust the temperature.

Adjusting the temperature in your home by just 1 degree can save you ten percent of energy usage over the year. It's a good idea to set a timer on the heater/cooler to ensure that things aren't left running while you're not at home.

Buy local products.

Buying local produce, including vegetables, fruit, and meat, saves pollution incurred by transporting goods over a long distance.

Buy second hand.

So many things can be sourced second hand. Things that have a short usage period, such as a child's bicycle, can be bought second hand in fantastic condition and for half the price. This also helps to reduce packaging materials.

Garden manually.

It's the little things - rather than use a hosepipe, use a watering can instead. Try to water before the sun comes up to reduce water wastage in evaporation. Use vinegar on weeds instead of harsher chemicals in de-weeders. Simple!

Use picnic parkers.

Ideally, use reusable cups, cutlery, and plates on your next outing.

Turn off the lights when you aren't in a room.

It isn't necessary to light up a room that nobody is using. Save energy and money by getting into the habit of switching off the lights when you leave the room.

Do errand batches.

Instead of doing each errand at a separate time, why not do them in batches? This will not only save you time, it will reduce your fuel costs, too.

Recycle cell phones.

With the average American replacing their cell phones once every eighteen months, 130 million cell phones are being disposed of each year. If these go into landfill sites, the toxins from the cell battery leak into the soil and pollute the ground, so use a recycling program!

Recycle unwanted wire hangers.

Wire hangers are not recyclable in the typical sense as they are generally made of steel, but many dry cleaners will gladly take these off your hands to reuse.

Regularly maintain vehicles.

If your vehicle's engine is running correctly, the tyres are correctly inflated, and the filters are clean, your vehicle will be much more efficient on fuel, which reduces pollution and saves you money.

Recycle glass and aluminum.

Every ton of glass that's recycled saves nine gallons of the oil used for fuel to produce new glass. And it's possible to make twenty recycled cans with the same amount of energy that it takes to make a new one.

Reduce junk mail.

A ridiculous amount of paper is wasted in America every year thanks to junk mail. The average American receives forty pounds of junk mail per year. So why not register for services that reduce the amount of paper junk mail that you receive? It's super beneficial to the environment and, let's face it, who even wants junk mail anyway?!

Work from home.

Yep, you heard that right! This saves gasoline, which will reduce air pollution and save you money. So try to convince your boss to give you a few days a week to work from home... it's worth a shot!

Use matches instead of a lighter.

A total of 1.5 billion disposable lighters end up in landfills every year. They are also made from plastic, which is not environmentally friendly at all.

Keep the fireplace damper closed.

If the fireplace isn't being used, keep the damper shut. Having it open is similar to leaving a forty-eight-inch window open at all times! Hundreds of dollars are getting sucked up the chimney, so keep it shut.

Don't throw it away...

Don't be going throwing away perfectly good things just because you no longer want them. Donate things to a thrift shop or sell things online. You can even make a little money out of your unwanted items.

Don't use plastic bags.

Plastic carrier bags are not biodegradable, nor can they be recycled. Use a stronger, reusable bag for your shopping, instead.

Use online directories.

Everything that you could ever want to know is now online. So why waste paper with paper telephone directories when it's all online? These can account for up to 10% of trash in landfill sites. If you do still use a paper directory, don’t forget to recycle the old one.

Use professional car wash services.

Car wash services have been making conscious efforts to reduce costs and maximize profits, therefore, they have the optimal amount of water for a thorough clean down to a fine art. Using these services will guarantee minimal water wastage.

Download software.

It is usually cheaper to download software than to buy discs and it also reduces plastic used in packaging.

Use E-Tickets.

Using an E-Ticket saves an absolute ton of paper and it also saves $9 per flight. Interesting...

Don't use coffee stirrers.

138 billion straws and stirrers are thrown away every year in the US. Stirrers are wasteful and bad for the environment, so use a reusable spoon instead.

Don't use an answering machine.

Having an external answering machine just uses up and wastes power. Make sure that you're using the voice mail feature on your cell or landline instead.

Use paper-based cotton buds.

Using paper-based cotton buds rather than plastic-based ones could save over 150,000 gallons of gasoline that go into the production.

Pay bills online.

Paying online is quick, convenient, and saves a huge amount of paper every year. If every US household went to paperless bills, we could save 18.5 million trees, 2.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste every year.

Cancel your paper bank statements.

If every US household opted to receive online statements rather than paper statements, we would save enough money to send 17,000 college graduates to university each year. Now that is some food for thought...

Use non-chemical de-icers.

It's frustrating when you're in a rush to get to work and your car is completely frozen over. Ice melters are quick and convenient, but they contain harmful chemicals and most definitely should be avoided. The salt content in these melters can be toxic to cats and dogs, too. Always look for pet-safe and non-chemical de-icer.

Use rechargeable batteries.

The corrosive acid in throw-away batteries is extremely damaging to the soil when they end up in landfills. Long term, using rechargeable batteries will save you money and will help the environment.

One final thing...

Spread the word! When people damage the environment, it's usually because they don't have knowledge of what is affecting our earth and what isn't. Share this list with your friends; even the smallest change can make the biggest difference. It's time to show our Earth just how much we love it!