Earth Day: 50 Sustainability Tips

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. To mark this occasion, our team has created 50 ways you can be more sustainable at home.

  1. Turn off the faucet. You can save up to eight gallons of water a day just by shutting off the faucet when brushing your teeth. You can also conserve a lot of water while washing your hands, something we’re all doing a lot more of these days — but turn off the tap for those 20 seconds you’re scrubbing with soap.
  2. Protect yourself from energy vampires. Unplug appliances you’re not using.  Appliances can waste energy even when they’re not turned on! Instead of leaving things like your coffee makers, toasters, and even your lamps plugged in indefinitely, make the small effort to unplug when you’re not using them or use a smart
  3. Wash laundry in cold water. About 90% of the energy your washing machine uses goes towards heating the water. To save energy, wash your laundry on the cold water setting for at least one load a week.
  4. Turn off the Heat Dry Function on Your Dishwasher. Instead of using the heat dry function on your dishwasher, consider selecting an air-dry cycle to dry your dishes. This will save about 15 percent of your dishwasher’s energy use! If you don’t have this option on your dishwasher, just crack open the door to let your dishes dry once your load has finished washing.
  5. Shop Eco-Friendly Household Products. When it comes to your household products, shopping eco-friendly goes a long way. Instead of single-use, disposable items, look for “green” products that are reusable, sustainably sourced, or made of recycled materials.
  6. Use a Cloth Towel Instead of a Paper Towel. It’s certainly cheaper to hold onto a cloth towel than to buy a new roll of paper towels every week and prevents all those paper towels from going to the landfill.
  7. Stop Drinking out of Plastic Water Bottles. This one’s a simple fix. Replace your regular single use plastic bottles with some of plastic, glass, and stainless steel reusable water bottles.
  8. Turn off Your Lights When You Leave the Room. Turning off your lights when you’re not home, or even not in that room, can significantly cut down how much energy you’re using.  Use LEDs when possible.
  9. Don’t Idle in Your Car. If you’re idling in your car for more than 2 minutes, turn off your engine. That way, your car is only releasing emissions while you’re driving.
  10. Bring a Reusable Cup to Your Coffee Shop. Bring your reusable coffee mug to your regular coffee shop and ask them to put the coffee in there — sometimes they will even give you a discount.
  11. Try Reuseable Batteries instead of constantly purchasing and having to properly dispose of old ones.
  12. Fix Your Leaky Faucet. Those tiny drops of water add up when it comes to your water bill. Tighten up a drippy faucet to cut down on the water you didn’t even realize you were consuming.
  13. Ditch Plastic Straws. Americans use nearly 500 million plastic straws every day. Replace your plastic straws with a set of reusable ones made from stainless steel, silicone, or bamboo — the sea turtles will thank you.
  14. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint. Determining the amount of CO2 you produce through your daily routine is the first step to fixing it. This is one of those things you can’t “un-know” once you know. Warning: The results come with a little side of guilt.
  15. Leave the Car at Home. Organize a carpool with co-workers, use a rideshare app, take public transit, or ride your bike.
  16. Fix Something. Don’t just throw away something that seems broken. Online tutorials and apps like have made it possible to save your products without sending it to the dump, and you’re saving money.
  17. Unsubscribe From Junk Mail. It’s time to save some trees and get your name off that mailing list once and for all.
  18. Go Paperless. Everything is online these days even your utility bill.  Sign up for Paperless billing with all your accounts, even VGS
  19. Power Everything Down At Night. Get into the practice of powering down your electronics overnight. Your devices are wasting energy even when they’re not turned on. The best way to maximize your energy efficiency is to totally unplug and shutdown.
  20. Recycle Old Electronics. Phones and other electronics can’t just be thrown in the trash but can be brought to special centers in your town.
  21. Add Plants to Your Home. Bringing a little greenery into your home can help regulate the temperature through the moisture they release into the air. This also helps reduce the energy required to heat and cool your home.
  22. Start a Garden. Grow your own veggies to save you money and reduce food waste.
  23. Switch to Reusable Bags. Plastic bags are difficult to recycle and most wind up in the landfill. Make all of your shopping outings BYOB (bring your own bag) and reduce the need for plastic.
  24. Get Cooking. Cooking your own meals cuts back on the waste produced by takeout bags, containers, and plastic cutlery.
  25. Go Meatless. It’s estimated that over 1,800 gallons of water are used to produce just a single pound of beef and giving up meat even one day a week can save 1 metric ton of carbon per year.
  26. Compost Food Waste. Food waste and other organic trash doesn’t decompose properly at landfills because it doesn’t get enough air and ends up creating methane gas in the process. Composting requires a little bit of work but has huge benefits for your yard or garden.
  27. Repurpose Jars (and Other Containers). Don’t throw away empty jars and other food containers.  They can be upcycled into drinking glasses or even small serving bowls.
  28. Make Your Own Cleaning Products. You can help the planet and a healthier home by ditching the harmful ingredients found in store-bought cleaning products and just make your own. It’s amazing what some vinegar and baking soda can do.
  29. Clean Dishes by Hand. The average dishwasher uses six gallons of water and a sink faucet usually flows at two gallons a minute.
  30. Let clothes air dry outside. When the weather is nice, let your clothes dry outside and give your dryer a break.    
  31. Purchase Renewable Natural Gas to offset the carbon impact of your natural gas.
  32. Explore Vermont! Best way to appreciate the earth is to explore it.
  33. Participate in Green Up Day or organize your own cleaning event.
  34. Plant a Tree. Billions of trees are cut down every year to create the things that we use every day. Why not give one back?
  35. Look for ENERGY STAR appliances and get rebates from @VGS, @BED or @EVT
  36. Make an Earth Day pledge
  37. Plant bee friendly plants and flowers in your yard
  38. Switch to a low-flow toilet
  39. Take shorter showers. Showers are the third largest water users in most homes at about 20 gallons for a 10 minute shower.  Cutting it down by even a minute can save 2 gallons a day!
  40. Have an Energy Audit done with VGS
  41. Keep your tires inflated to get better gas mileage
  42. Teleconference instead of traveling for meetings
  43. Upcycling is often better than recycling
  44. Replace your old inefficient heating equipment with high efficiency ENERGY STAR rated equipment and get a rebate from VGS
  45. Change your shower head.
  46. Let your grass grow. Let your grass grow longer between cuts to save gas or electricity, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Longer grass is more drought-resistant, too.
  47. Get a loan to improve your home’s efficiency. VGS offers low and no interest loans for qualified customers to weatherize their homes.
  48. Buy Food Locally. Especially here in Vermont, our foodshed is amazing and food will be fresher and traveling much shorter distances, reducing the carbon emissions.
  49. Grow Your Network. Share tools, vegetables, recipes and other items with neighbors and friends to reduce waste or purchasing things for 1-time use.
  50. Use Compostable K-Cups when possible.