Ten Ways to Add Green to Your Routine

Home Recycling

Here at TreePeople, we believe that everyone is a bit of a tree person at heart. We understand that not everyone has time to regularly plant or care for trees, let alone dedicate a career to the environment! However, a busy schedule doesn’t doom a tree person to an environmentally-oblivious life. We’ve provided ten ways that you can fit the environment into your daily life—no extra time needed!

1. Don’t store food in plastic bags.
Instead, use containers (we prefer glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic). Think “re-use;” you can use a container again, while a plastic bag gets thrown away as soon as you’re done with it. It takes the same amount of time to pack a lunch in containers—plus, a container provides handy portion control.

2. Bring your own bags.
What do you do with the paper bags you bring home from the supermarket? Cut down on that extraneous waste by bringing your own reusable bags when you shop. Bonus: no ripped bag handles on the way to the car! (And if you live in Los Angeles, you are no doubt getting used to it, thanks to the recent plastic bag ban.)

3. Unplug your chargers and appliances when you’re not using them.
It’s a simple, yet often overlooked piece of advice. Plugged-in appliances are still drawing power—this power is wasted unless you’re actively charging a phone or computer.

4. Turn off the water until you need it.
Picture this: there’s a pesky stain on a dirty dish that’s going to take some major scrubbing. Don’t leave the water running as you scrub; it’s just going down the drain. Ditto for washing your face and brushing your teeth.

5. Print double-sided.
This one is just math. If you print double-sided, you use half as much paper.

6. Use a reusable water bottle.
We repeat this over and over, but it’s one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your impact. It completely eliminates the waste from disposable water bottles. Bonus benefit: get a reusable water bottle that showcases your style!

7. Turn your computer off—or put it to sleep—when you’re not using it.
Just like your charger, if your computer is on and you’re not using it, it still draws power. Why not turn it off (to draw zero power) or put it to sleep (to use less power) when you’re not using it?

8. Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
An energy-efficient bulb uses 75 percent less energy than a normal one, and it also lasts six times as long. This saves both money and energy.

9. Look before you throw away.
Don’t just blindly throw away your trash; look to see if it can be recycled first. It’s not just paper that can be recycled. Did you know that some plastics can be recycled as well? You can tell by a symbol on the plastic. The most common plastic (used for drink, salad and other common containers) is labeled with a “1” and can be recycled!

10. Turn the lights off when not in use.
If you leave a room, simply turn off the light when you exit. You’ll save energy and money—your light bulbs will last longer if you only use them when you need them.

Emma Schiffer has been a TreePerson since third grade; she got involved when her class sold popcorn to raise money for Treepeople. Although she wasn't selected to bear the symbolic giant check to Treepeople's headquarters, she harbored no grudges and continued to volunteer with them throughout high school. She currently attends UC Berkeley and is working as Treepeople's storytelling and photography management intern during the summer.