Magic Tape

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 Magic Tape

Butterflies are important pollinators, so anything you can do to help them thrive in your garden is a step in the right direction. If you ever see a butterfly that is slow moving or helpless due to a torn wing, you can actu- ally help. A tiny piece of transparent tape can help repair a torn wing, enough to mend it and let it fly again. This will add a few valuable extra days to its lifespan, which could be enough for it to reproduce.

#2 Rock On

It may seem harmless, but it’s actually illegal to take rocks out of national parks. Millions of people visit our parks, so if everyone took a natural souvenir home—even a small one—it could have a devastating effect on the park. If caught, you have committed a federal crime that can result in a hefty fee. Even stacking rocks in parks is frowned upon; it disrupts the natural biodiversity and creates an eyesore. After all, the truest art is what Mother Nature has already created.

#3 Dirty Towels

Here’s one more reason to avoid using wasteful paper towels: They can harbor germs. A study by Laval University in Québec City showed that bacteria might thrive—even on unused towels! The pulping process at factories that make the towels often can be contaminated, spreading germs such as bacillus spores. While no illness has been linked to paper towels, why go with single-use towels when reusable ones are just fine?

#4 Power Off

Do you keep items plugged into your car’s USB ports overnight? This might include personal electronics like GPS devices or a cord to sync your phone to your car’s system. The thing is, even when you turn your car off, often these devices, cables, and cords can still draw a trickle amount of energy out of your car’s battery. Over time, this can drain the battery and—worst-case scenario—cause it to die. Plus, personal electronics that are left plugged in can also decrease their lifespan. Make a habit of unplugging the devices and cords when you’re not driving.

#5 Second Time Around

Buying secondhand clothes at thrift stores or consignment shops isn’t just good on the wallet, it’s also 95 percent more efficient than buying new. The amount of energy used to make new clothes vs. reselling clothes is significantly less. Here’s a bonus: When shopping at a consignment store and you find clothing that fits you perfectly, ask if they will hold items from that seller—or alert you—the next time they bring in clothes to sell. The seller is a match to your body size, so future items should fit you, too.