Do just one thing


When you have a choice in beverage containers, is aluminum the most sustainable choice, or is it glass? The answer is aluminum. Aluminum as a recyclable material has more value than glass and is easier to recycle back into metal containers. Glass, while recyclable, has a greater chance of being contaminated during the recycling process; it also retains less value, is heavier and is far more fragile. Opt for aluminum over glass whenever you can.


It may seem harmless, but you should avoid taking seashells when you’re visiting the seashore. With beach-bound tourism on the rise, visitors taking home shell souvenirs can wreak havoc on natural ecosystems that depend on the shells, which are a vital material resource for nearly every type of aquatic wildlife. Birds use them for nests; fish hide inside them; hermit crabs use them for shelter and even microorganisms need them to survive. And even broken shells are vital, so leave them as well.


If you’re in the market to buy a new mattress, don’t fall into the trap of buying a matching box spring or foundation support if you don’t need it. Ask if your existing foundation support is in good enough condition to not void the warranty if you put a new mattress on top. If it is, you’ll not only save a few hundred dollars from not having to buy one, but it’s also one less thing that gets tossed to the curb when you replace your bed. Less waste and more savings!


They may look pretty when they light up in the sky, but fireworks small and large can be a huge detriment for your pets. In addition to the loud noises that can cause anxiety and stress in your furry friends, they are also very poisonous if ingested. Fireworks contain flammable chemicals like potassium nitrate, sulfur and the coloring agents that create those spectacular displays but also can make your pet very sick. Even sparklers and noisemakers can be dangerous when pets lick remnants that may be left behind. Avoid them if possible and leave the displays to the pros.


Another reason why investing in a hybrid car is a smart choice: It gives you more free time. A recent study by the Ford Motor Co. showed that investing in a fuel-efficient hybrid car significantly reduces the number of trips you need to make to the gas station to refuel. Over the course of just one year, the average hybrid car owner saved about 10 hours of time from refueling. Which begs the question: What would you do with 10 hours of extra time per year?


Today, many new cars contain smart glass: car windshields and windows that have integrated SPF to help block the sun’s harmful rays. But many older cars do not have this feature, which means people who spend a significant amount of time in those cars can get sunburned or worse from the sun’s rays permeating the cars’ glass. Instead of replacing it with costly new glass, you can invest in clear sheets that cling to the inside of the window and effectively block 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays while helping to reduce glare. They’re a cinch to install and nearly invisible once they’re in place.


Do you use three-ring binders to keep paperwork neatly organized at home? While the typical binder is made from plastic, there are more durable and fully recyclable binders you should consider instead. Binders made entirely from aluminum are strong, modern and chic-looking, and if they ever need to be replaced, they can be tossed in the recycling bin. While they cost a bit more than traditional binders, the long-term usage pretty much evens out the cost. You can find them online and in stores.