• Did you know more than 552 million plastic bottles that once held shampoo end up in landfills every year? Even with recycling, over half a billion end up thrown away, and it all could be prevented with one simple switch: a shampoo bar. Like a bar of body soap, a shampoo bar uses the same moisturizing and cleansing ingredients found in shampoo, but without the addition of water. You lather up with a shampoo bar in the shower and it magically turns into shampoo. By switching to a bar, you can cut out plastic bottles altogether.
• Dog owners, listen up: Be sure to give your dog the right haircut for its breed. You may be burning up in the hot summer months, but trimming your dog's fur too short to help them cool off can actually do more harm than good. The naturally long, thick fur on some dogs has a purpose; it helps block harmful UV rays, preventing overheating and sunburns. In the winter months, letting the coat get too long can actually cause your dog to overheat, even if the temperatures outside would suggest otherwise. A good rule of thumb: Ask for a groomer's advice to make sure your best friend is comfortable and protected.
• Did you know that buying a used kitchen knife from a resell site like eBay can save as much as 90% of the energy costs needed to make a new knife? You can sanitize a used knife in seconds at home. If the knife does not have a plastic handle, place it in boiling water for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and let the knife sit in the hot water, then slowly pour the boiling water out; allow it to cool to room temperature. If the knife has a plastic handle, fill a pot with the hottest water that comes out of the tap and let it soak for 15 seconds. Remove with tongs and scrub with an old toothbrush to remove any debris.
• Ever wonder what to do with the shells of walnuts, pecans and pistachios? One idea is to save the shells and scatter them as beneficial mulch in the garden. If there is any residual salt on the shells, they will help deter slugs from attacking your plants. One other idea is to use them for indoor houseplants. Soak them in water first to remove any salt, then line the bottom of a planter with shells and fill with soil. It will help provide drainage for the plant and eventually will decompose into beneficial mulch.
• One of the biggest contributors to landfill waste is used furniture, and a lot of it is cheaply made, low-priced stuff that was not designed to last. But what do you do if you want quality furniture and you're on a budget? New furniture resell sites offer high-end, lightly used furniture at a fraction of the price. One resell site, Kaiyo.com, lists used furniture that's refurbished and cleaned, sold at a discount and delivered to your home. Since they started, over 1.5 million pounds of furniture have already been diverted from landfills.
• Tired of unwanted birthday gifts every year? Why not use your special day as a way to raise money for your favorite charity? Facebook's "birthday fundraiser" feature lets you host a fundraiser with your friends and followers. On your birthday, it'll announce a special fundraiser for your chosen charity to celebrate your day. Billions of dollars have been raised for nonprofits like the ASPCA and American Cancer Society, and it's easy to set up. You can even customize the post with a video to inspire your friends to give.
• Not only is pre-shredded cheese from the supermarket expensive, but it also comes packaged in hard-to-recycle plastic packaging. One way to go green and save money is to buy blocks of cheese from the deli counter and shred them yourself. To save time, shred the entire block of cheese at once and store the shredded cheese in a large freezer bag or reusable airtight container. To prevent the shredded cheese from sticking together, add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the bag and shake. It will lightly coat the cheese to prevent sticking and help keep it fresh longer. Store it in the freezer and use the cheese as needed.
Danny Seo is an environmental lifestyle expert. His creative ideas have made him America’s leading authority on modern, eco-friendly living.