Save energy by avoiding these pitfalls, plus more fresh tips for greener living

A photograph of the author, Molly Mitchell.

By Molly Mitchell

July 17, 2019

Save energy by avoiding these pitfalls, plus more fresh tips for greener living

In This Article

  • Great news! Your dishwasher is more energy and water efficient than you!
  • It's better to not use plastic in the first place than recycle it. Try making one space, like your bathroom, plastic-free.
  • Our eco-friendly alcohol guide will make happy hour even happier.
  • Plus: how to get the most out of your staycation.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there on how to save energy. We’ve busted a few myths to make your planet-saving endeavors a little less overwhelming:

  • Idling your car saves energy. Nope! If you’re going to be away from your car more than 10 seconds, shut off your engine.
  • Leaving a fan on in a room keeps it cool. Not so much—turn it off when you’re not in there.
  • Setting your thermostat higher heats up your house faster. False. You’ll just have a boiling house and waste energy cooling it down again.
  • Handwashing dishes saves energy. Rejoice, because this isn’t true! If your dishwasher is newer than 15 years old, it’s more efficient than you!

 Keeping your bathroom clean and green

Turns out, recycling plastic is a mixed bag for the environment. It’s best not to use it in the first place. Plastic is so ubiquitous in our lives that surviving without it can seem overwhelming.

Try focusing on one baby step, like reducing plastic in your bathroom. Check out these eco-friendly alternatives, like switching to shampoo bars or using a sugar scrub instead of a scrub that’s full of plastic microbeads. 

Two campers cheers in front of a canyon vista.
Photo via Unsplash

Cheers to Mother Earth

Make your happy hours even happier by using our eco-friendly alcohol guide. Beer and wine are generally better bets than tequila or rum, because they require less energy to make and produce significantly less waste. Plus, buying local is always best because it reduces the carbon footprint involved with transportation.

Painless mother-daughter bonding

A lot of us remember tragically awkward attempts by our parents to bond. If you’re looking to reach out in a way that’s fun for everyone, we’ve got we've got some ideas – from baby steps to big leaps. For me, watching Downton Abbey with my mom has been an easy way to spend quality time together. It’s definitely worth it.

Books for adventurers

In a reading rut? Outside magazine has a great list of recommended reads for travelers, outdoorsmen and free spirits of all kinds.

Staycation Station

How many times have you told people you need a vacation from your vacation? Consider a staycation to actually get some R&R – from getting your house cleaned like you would in a hotel to camping out in your own backyard.