Everyday, I pen a syndicated column called Do Just One Thing that appears in newspapers across the country. Over the past several years, I’ve accumulated thousands of tips that not only help people to live a little bit greener each day, but are also smart ways to cut waste and save money. In each issue of Naturally, I’ll round up my all-time favorite tips that are clever, fun and simple enough that I think you’ll love to try them. –Danny Seo
Every little bit counts when it comes to saving energy. Here’s a simple Do Just One Thing: Turn off the stove a few minutes before your spaghetti is done cooking. When making pasta, bring a pot of water to a boil and then add pasta. Turn off the heat and put a lid on top of the pot. Add about five more minutes to the suggested cook time and you’ll get perfectly cooked al dente pasta every single time, while saving energy and money. And remember—cooled (unsalted) pasta water is a nutrient-rich drink your outdoor plants will love.
A BRIGHT IDEA
Want to brighten clothes and remove stains without using any harsh chemicals in your laundry machine? Grab salt from your pantry and add it to your laundry routine. The natural chloride in salt works as a brightener, protector and stain remover all in one. Just add a 1⁄2-cup of salt to your laundry (in addition to your detergent) to give it a natural boost. You can also soak stubborn stains or dull fabrics in a salt-water solution overnight and then wash as normal. You’ll notice a considerable difference.
AN OILY SITUATION
One of the worst enemies of good oils, such as olive, grapeseed and avocado oils, is ultraviolet light. When light from the sun’s rays hit your kitchen counter of clear oils, it begins to deteriorate the contents of the bottles. When shopping for oils, look for opaque containers instead. The dark containers block the UV light and help keep your oils fresher longer. And don’t store them near your kitchen stove: the heat from cooking can also break down oils.
READ (AND RECYCLE) ALL ABOUT IT!
Glossy paper can be hard to recycle, but not all shiny paper is necessarily a non-recyclable. Magazines and catalogs are recyclable because the paper stock is coated with a white clay that makes the pages appear more brilliant. That shiny surface from the clay does not interfere with the recycling process. According to Waste Management, about 45% of all magazines and catalogs are recycled today, which means more than half are still being tossed into the trash. Let’s get that number up to 100%!
CHARGE FOR CHARITY
With over one million nonprofit partners, the American Express “Members Give” program can be a win-win scenario for everyone. You can choose your favorite charity to receive a cash donation when you use your Amex credit card. Your donation is fully tax-deductible and you still earn membership reward points for yourself. Plus, when it’s time to do your taxes, you have an easy way to track your donations so you can deduct them from your tax returns.