EnviroTips: Planet-friendly ways to live comfortably

Do something every day – something big or something small – to protect our planet.

A good start is simply to remember that every choice you make, everything you do or don’t do, affects the planet. Think about the lifetime environmental impact – from production to packaging to use to disposal – of everything you use or buy.

Here are some things people have done to protect the environment. Do you have an idea that’s not on the list?

Save energy – Turn it down or turn it off!

  • During the summer months, open your windows at night, and close them (and the curtains) during the day.
  • Turn off your computer or television when you’re not using it. It will save energy and extend the life of your product.
  • Turn off the lights and your monitor when you leave the office. Have the office early bird person and the last person to leave turn the printer and other amenities on and off.
  • Keep your house – and office, if you can – a couple of degrees warmer in summer, cooler in winter. You’ll be amazed how quickly you get used to it.
  • Use the stairs if you’re only going up or down a few floors.

Save energy – Make good choices!

  • Resist the temptation to open your oven door to check on your food.
  • Don’t leave your fridge door open for too long. Think about what you need before opening it.
  • Save money and energy with energy-efficient appliances. And keep your appliance filters clean!
  • Reduce air conditioning costs by planting trees to shade your house.
  • Learn to use your programmable thermostat.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water.
  • Insulate, caulk and weather-strip!
  • Do you know what drier lint is? Bits of your clothing! Hang-drying will use less energy and your clothes will last longer!

Save water

  • Don’t run the water while you scrub vegetables, do the dishes or brush your teeth!
  • Get a good low-flow shower head.
  • Repair or replace leaky taps and hoses.
  • Collect rainwater for your lawn and garden.
  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean sidewalks and driveways.

Air quality

  • How do you get to work, school or the movies? Take public transit or carpool or walk or cycle to save money and reduce emissions. Join the commuter challenge.
  • Use potpourri rather than aerosols.
  • Use a push lawn mower – burn calories and protect the atmosphere.  (Did you know that a gasoline-powered lawn mower pollutes three or four times as much per hour as your car?)
  • Have regular tune-ups and check your tire pressure
  • Paper, cardboard, yard waste and construction debris generate smoke loaded with carcinogens and other toxins. Don’t burn!
  • Don’t blow your leaves – rake them.

Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle

  • Say no to single use plastics, like straws and plastic shopping bags.
  • Clothing swaps, garage sales and municipal recycling programs give household goods a second chance at life.
  • Feed the land, not the landfill. If your community doesn’t have a composting program, build or buy your own backyard composter
  • Turn old clothes into cleaning cloths and rags, and buy fewer paper towels.
  • Discarded plastic bags pollute and are a threat to wildlife. Always carry a canvas, cotton, linen or hemp bag.
  • Find recyclers or retailers who will accept your retired electronics.
  • Pack your lunch in reusable containers, instead of foil or cling wrap. Bring a reusable bottle or mug to the office.


  • Join an environmental organization.
  • Organize a clean-up day at a park, schoolyard, or beach, with the help of your school board.
  • Help improve or clean up a municipal, provincial or national park.
  • Create YouTube videos showing ways to protect the environment.
  • Work with schools to sponsor nature walks and talks, and pick up litter as you go along.
  • Involve politicians and the media in your events.
  • Learn about species at risk in your area. Find a way to help.

Be good to the environment

  • Do you hate the smell of mothballs? Try cedar chips!
  • Using commercial cleaners and paper towels on your windows? Why not try 125 ml of vinegar, 4 L of water and a squeegee?
  • Avoid traditional household cleaning products in favour of baking soda, vinegar and water. They’re cheaper, healthier and better for the environment.
  • Use wild flowers, water and a bird feeder to create a wildlife sanctuary in your back yard.
  • Plant trees as part of an organized activity or in your back yard. Every time you plant a tree, register it at The Greenwave.
  • Don’t disturb spawning fish, aquatic plants and invertebrates with powerboats and personal watercraft.
  • Have a trash-free barbeque. Tell your guests to bring their own dinnerware. Hike or picnic in the woods or a meadow or on a mountain.

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