“Spring Cleaning” for Your Bad Environmental Habits

spring cleaning

Crack the windows and break out the vinegar—it’s spring and time to clean!

Besides brushing up mothballs and sweeping away spiderwebs, we can also look at the top 5 ways we pollute the Earth, and choose to “clean up” our actions by reforming a heavy environmental impact.


1. How to reduce your industrial impact

garage sale

  • Don’t upgrade tech products more than necessary
  • Support local clothing designers and manufacturers
  • Research a company’s sustainability efforts before buying
  • Buy secondhand, used or consignment
  • Sell your used stuff before trashing it
  • Learn to do your own repairs
  • Check out garage sales and community markets
  • If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!


2. How to reduce your transportation impact


  • Walk, take public transport or bicycle
  • Carpool or share a vehicle by using car-share services
  • Travel by air only when necessary
  • Keep your car maintained to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize emissions
  • Telecommute if it’s an option
  • Lobby your local government to spend on sidewalks and bike lanes


3. How to reduce your food impact

compost bin


4. How to reduce your energy impact


  • Inch your thermostat a few degrees lower
  • Choose energy-saving light bulbs
  • Unplug appliances, phones and computers when not in use
  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible
  • Use a drying rack or clothesline instead of the machine
  • Buy low-flow shower heads and commodes, and energy-efficient appliances
Related:   Eco Inspired Design: Stephen Shaheen's MetroCard Bench


5. How to reduce your trash impact

recycle reuse bag

  • Recycle and compost
  • Donate items or hold swaps
  • Repurpose or upcycle items
  • Refuse to use items that are disposable or single use
  • Buy bulk and avoid items in heavy packaging
  • Wash and re-use produce, Ziploc and plastic bags
  • Print & photocopy on both sides
  • Sign up for electronic bill statements
  • Create a newspaper, magazine and book exchange in your community or workplace


This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.