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5 Green Living Tips & Tools for Everyday Life

Green is a process, not a status...
- Daniel Goleman, Ecological Intelligence

Sometimes it's the mundane things we live with day in, day out that sneak up and bite us -- personally, mentally, locally, globally, environmentally, financially...  

But take heart, these are also some of the simplest things we can change to positively impact our own life, the lives of others and the natural world. 

For example, take junk mail. We know junk mail is a pain and a drain, but do we really get just how BIG that drain and pain is?! According to ForestEthics Climate Report, American households receive more than 100 billion pieces of junk mail annually which takes more than 100 million trees to produce and creates 51,548,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases. And a whopping 44% of junk mail ends up in landfills, unopened, which contributes greatly to the hundreds of millions of dollars our state and local governments spend to remove it. Whoa! Those are crazy big consequences for an already personal nuisance that poses the more serious risk of identity theft to boot. Now that we know, we can take action -- get started with these simple tools below.

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Habit-changing practices for quick, constructive simplifying and minimizing that's all about sparking JOY!

The What, Why, How & Wow of Greening the Daily Grind

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.
Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.
- Kofi Annan

Many times, simply bringing awareness to the far-flung impacts of our individual actions (or inactions) provides the insight and impetus to want to try another way. We've rounded up some super simple options that help us better understand those impacts and some favorite green living tips and tools to try things differently in our daily lives.

5 Simple Green Living Tips & Tools

  1. Shop Smarter
    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is our trusted "go-to" for answers about the environmental impacts of anything and everything we might come across in our daily lives -- from milk to cell phones and talc to Teflon. EWG provides solid information for the things we need to know to make better decisions for how we live and what we live with. They make the "scary" of pollutants, toxins and chemicals into information we can use and act on, as conveniently demonstrated with their Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics & Personal Care Products, Healthy Cleaning Guide, and last but far from least Food Scores by nutrition, ingredient and processing concerns. And check out Mavenjoy's favorite shopping picks for cool companies doing business differently + our roundup of the best organic food coupons.

  2. Recycle Fancy Gadgets + Everything Else
    Gazelle pays you for your used Apple products and a select group of other smartphones and tablets. Its super simple interactive process gives you a cash back offer with free packaging and shipping. How much is your device worth? ** Update ** Now Gazelle offers certified pre-owned devices too (no contracts + 30-day, risk-free returns) A win win way to reuse, recycle and save on our ubiquitous gadgets...green indeed!

    How 'bout that old video game console or smart watch? Try Guzu, they'll pay you and plant a tree for every order processed. Schools can earn a 10% donation bonus based on the value of the items recycled with its Cash for Education program and Guzu offers FREE nationwide pick up service for small to mid-size businesses, state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions with a comprehensive turnkey electronics recycling solution.

    And for practically everything else there's Earth911 locate a recycler for all of your disposable needs! And we do mean all, so be sure and check them out before tossing out -- metal coat hangers, paint, batteries, computers, medicines, carpet, corks...

  3. Conserve Energy at Home
    National Geographic is an oldie but a goodie for good reason! It has mastered the art of "show and tell" to inspire and educate us about environmental, social and historical preservation, and does so with unparalleled excellence in content and format. Now, it's super simplifying things we can do around the house to conserve energy and money with its Energy Diet: A Step by Step Approach for monitoring and tempering personal energy use (including your personal water footprint calculator and energy meter) and even mini energy calculators for appliances and daily chores! Plus there's its essential Energy Efficient Buying Guides for what to consider when buying just about anything. 
  1. Green Your Car Habit
    Carpooling like you never knew it! Cut your auto and transportation costs plus greenhouse gases by sharing rides with fellow travelers. Whether for your work commute, a cross-country road trip or ride to the airport, rediscover the possibilities of carpooling for your lifestyle. Try Eridesharea free service connecting commuters and travelers headed in the same direction including to events and longer distances too. They also offer a carpooling service with additional features for large employers. Or check out Zimride, another car sharing program but with focus on university and corporate communities that builds on social networks to connect with classmates and coworkers.

    Better World Club is America's only eco-friendly auto club providing 24/7 roadside assistance and much more for cars, motorcycles, RVs and even bikes. As an affiliate for BWC, we can pass along 25% off your membership here

    Don't have a car? Zipcar to the rescue -- membership gives you access to your very own hybrid or MINI, to name a few, only when you need it and includes gas and insurance. Zipcar is available in 50+ cities in the US, Canada and UK.

  2. Stop Junk Mail!
    As we noted above, junk mail is one of those pesky annoyances we've come to live with, but really shouldn't and don't have to either. ForestEthics campaign and Catalog Choice teamed up to provide TrustedID, a robust tool to stop junk mail. As one of THE largest direct mail providers, DirectMail.com's National Do Not Mail List provides a free online process to add and remove your mailing address from various mailing lists. And to opt out of those relentless credit card and insurance offers that can also carry the risk of identity theft, visit OptOutPresscreen.com, the official consumer credit reporting industry's website to process your opt-out request. Mavenjoy TipWhen you place an order online or over the phone, specifically request that the company flags your account to not send you its promotional materials via mail and does not provide your information to other companies.

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