Consumption costs us money and the more simply we choose to live the more money we can save. The thing is, no matter how eco-friendly the products that we buy may be, they still come with packaging, they still take energy to make, and they are nearly always still trucked from somewhere. My biggest/most obvious eco-friendly tip of the year is consuming less (energy, water, "stuff,") is better for the planet.
Easy ways to cut your consumption:
1. Bring a reusable bag wherever you go. Excess bags just add to the landfill and you don't need them in the first place. There's no reason not to do this. Try an easy Chico bag you can carry with you.
2. Ditch the processed food. It takes unnecessary energy to produce it, as well as tons of packaging.
3. Make your own cleaning products. Cleaning products (even eco-friendly varieties) often come in plastic bottles and they are trucked in from who knows where wasting tons of fossil fuels.
4. Calculate your water footprint. How can you know where you need to cut water usage if you don't know how much you're using and where you're using it?
5. Don't drink milk. Livestock consumes much of the land on the planet, whether for meat or dairy, and creates literally tons and tons of pollution, estimates are in the 1/5th of all greenhouse gases range.
7. Drink less bottled water, try to drink none. The U.S. sends two million tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottled water packaging to the landfill each year. Just drink the tap.
8. Wash your clothes in cold water. About 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water. 9. Pass up the fast food joint, bring your own grub. Let me count the reasons why. There's the immense shipping programs emitting harmful gases, the millions of tons of waste generated annually, and not to mention the total lack of nutritional value in fast food restaurant's most popular menu items. 10. Skip Starbucks and brew your own coffee. Once we factor in the cost of the gourmet coffee and the cost of driving there, each time we brew a cup at home, we save about the equivalent of a gallon of gas. 11. Shut down your PC. If every American worker remembers to turn off their computer at night, the nation's companies would prevent the release of 39,452 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions, save $4.7 million in utility costs, and reduce energy consumption by 54.3 million kilowatt-hours per day. 12. Skip the store bought cereal and make your own granola instead. Cereal usually comes in a plastic bag within a cardboard box that all gets thrown away at least once a week if not more. 13. Become a weekday vegetarian. By cutting meat out of your diet entirely you save 5,000 lbs of carbon emissions per year, so even reducing your meat intake to two out of seven days will still make a big difference. 14. Grow some of your own food. This way you don't have to buy it and it's about as local as possible. 15. Add insulation to your attic. The Rocky Mountain Institute estimates it will save you 2,142 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions--through the heat your home retains in winter and doesn't gain in the summer--and hundreds of dollars in lower energy bills.