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 smart ways to cut waste and save money as well. 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 Naturally love to try them. –Danny Seo
#1 GIVE YOUR CAR SOME SPARK.
If your car has driven 30,000 miles, it’s time to replace the spark plugs. Over time, spark plugs can become covered in carbon deposits, which makes them work harder and decreases your car’s overall fuel efficiency. When your car misfires (when the engine stops for a brief second and keeps on going) it’s a sure sign your spark plugs needs replacing. Misfires increase exhaust emissions and that impacts the environment as well as your car’s overall MPGs.
#2 VOLUNTEER MATCH GAME.
If you want to give time to a worthy cause and find a charity that could use your specific skill, check out volunteermatch.org. They’ve helped millions of people find mutually beneficial places to volunteer by matching them with organizations that can use their specific skills “to create real impact.” Search opportunities in your city and scroll through specific listings based on date, charity type, and what the specific volunteer program entails.
#3 UNTIL NEXT SUMMER.
The active ingredients in sunscreens need to be protected from harsh, hot and bright elements (just like your skin does). Avoid storing bottles of sunscreen in your car, or in your golf or beach bag when not in use. Long term exposure to heat and sun can turn them from a skin protector to a simple moisturizer in no time flat. Instead, when you’re not having fun in the sun, keep them in the fridge. The cool, dark environment preserves them until the next time you need their services.
#4 SAFELY MICROWAVE.
If you choose to reheat leftovers in the microwave, opt for microwave-safe, reusable containers made out of glass or ceramic. Even plastic containers that are labeled “microwave safe” aren’t healthy for you. Rather, it only means they can withstand higher temperatures before they soften and change their shape. Plastic containers can still leach chemicals into food. Plus, microscopic scratches in plastic containers over time can also harbor germs and bacteria.
#5 SMELLY CAR?
Don’t reach for air fresheners to deodorize your ride. All chemical air fresheners do is mask the odor; they don’t neutralize whatever is making the unpleasant scent. One trick used-car dealers use is freshly ground coffee beans. Just leave a bowl of grinds in the car. The coffee acts like a filter, cleaning the air and absorbing the smelly particles right into the coffee grinds. The longer you let it sit, the better it will work.