With Earth Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to reassess our habits and look for ways to be more eco-friendly by cutting back on waste and energy consumption. And what better place to start than in our homes? Take these simple pledges to lessen your carbon footprint.

Pledge 1: Save Energy By Washing Your Laundry in Cold Water Only
Almost all of the energy used by a washing machine goes towards heating the water, so by simply turning down the temperature, you can really make a dramatic impact on energy use. In fact, washing in cold water costs 5 to 10 times less than using warmer settings. Learn how to green your laundry from start to finish.

Pledge 2: Save Water By Using As Little Water Possible To Wash Your Dishes
If you have a newer dishwasher, chances are it uses less water than you would hand-washing. Modern dishwashers use only about 3 to 10 gallons of water per load. Some easy tips for your dishwasher: scrape plates instead of pre-rinsing, use energy-saving options when you can, and wash only full loads.

If, however, you don’t have a dishwasher or would rather wash by hand, try to assess how much water you’re currently using and see if there’s any way to cut back. If you wash by filling up the sink or wash bins, figure out how much water they hold and how many times per day you wash. Or, if you just wash under the running faucet, keep in mind that faucets use about 2 gallons per minute. Get more tips on washing dishes more efficiently.

Pledge 3: Save Waste and Water By Switching From Bottled to Filtered Water
The bottled water industry is extremely wasteful. It involves millions of barrels of oil each year and the process actually wastes water. Since bottled water is often consumed on the go, most bottles do not actually end up getting recycled. Fortunately, for most of us reading this article, water flows directly into our homes — an amazing gift when you consider all of the places in the world where that is not the case. So why not get yourself a filter and a reusable bottle and fill up from the cheapest and most convenient place — your faucet.

Pledge 4: Save Energy and Waste By Switching from Regular Batteries to Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries embody one of our favorite principles: reuse. While traditional batteries can only be used once, rechargeable batteries, as the name implies, can be used again and again. By using the same batteries over and over again, you cut back on the waste created by disposable batteries. When your rechargeable batteries are eventually used up, though, it is important to recycle them.

Pledge 5: Save Waste By Buying in Bulk
Packaging has gotten a bit out of control these days. More and more we’re seeing items that are wrapped with layer upon layer of unnecessary materials. One way to combat that problem is to buy necessities in bulk. If it’s something you use a lot, it’s worth it to upgrade to a larger size or multi-pack. This tip isn’t just relegated to wholesale stores either, although that’s a good place to start. Bring your own containers to stores like Whole Foods, where you can buy items like beans and grains in bulk–and skip the packaging all together

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