Sleeping Beauty

Danny Seo’s favorite Earth-happy, money-saving ideas

Every day, 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 live a little bit greener each day, but are smart ways to cut waste and save money as well. In each issue of this magazine, I’ll round up my all-time favorite tips. They’re clever, fun, and simple enough that I think you’ll Naturally love to try them. –DANNY SEO

#1 Sleeping Beauty

A mattress can be a pricey investment. One way to help maintain the quality and lifespan of a bed is to make sure it wears out evenly. A very simple trick is to rotate the bed on a regular basis so that the entire surface area wears out evenly. Doing this helps prevent indentations that cause the bed to feel lumpy or have the cave-in feel. But how can you remember when to rotate? When you change the clocks to fall back or spring forward, rotate the mattress.

#2 Picky Eaters

Are your kids’ lunches coming home half eaten every day? They may not be avoiding certain foods, but simply have too much food to eat. The reality is, there are appropriate food portions for kids of different ages. To find the right portion size, click to the website choosemyplate.gov. It helps provide information on the correct portion sizes for kids of every age. This will help you lessen food waste and save you money in the long run.

#3 Keep It Clean

Microfiber cleaning towels have become popular as a cleaning tool. They grip dirt and bacteria, can be used on a variety of surfaces, and are seemingly infinitely reusable. But new studies have shown that washing microfiber cloths in the washing machine leads to small strands of synthetic fiberswashing down the drain and going into our aquatic ecosystems.To avoid this and still disinfect microfiber towels, microwave them. Simply place a damp cloth in the microwave on high for a minute to clean and disinfect them. Our waterways will benefit from this simple switch.

#4 30 Day Trial

Curbside trash service almost makes it too easy to mindlessly fill up a trash can and not wonder where it goes. A new movement of homeowners has them taking the One Month Challenge, where they temporarily cancel their trash pickup service for 30 days to see if they can consciously reduce their trash output. This can force a family to evaluate how much waste they create, how much they consume and bring into a home, and how they can cut back. Plus, you’ll save a little money not paying for trash pickup for one month.

#5 Fast (Waste-Free) Food

Did you know it’s possible to eat at a fast-food restaurant without generating any waste? Subway is the one fast-food chain that actually wraps their sandwiches in paper that is fully compostable. If you look closely at the paper, it actually lists the words “Please Compost” on the side. The trick is to order a sandwich and to ask for no plastic bag, napkins, and—while you’re at it— no receipt. Then you can enjoy your sandwich and compost the paper to create a zero-waste, fast-food experience when you’re on the go.