Going green when you're too lazy to bother

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | June 29, 2015

Many people have the best of intentions when it comes to helping the environment, but their plans often come to a screeching halt when going green starts to seem too complicated.

Fortunately, there are some great ways to go green, help the environment, and even put money back into your pocket -- and you barely have to lift a finger to do so. Here are some ways that the laziest among us can go green without breaking a sweat.

Change the way you shop

We might not often think about the things we purchase off the shelf, but more earth-friendly choices are just as easy to make. Choose to buy local produce and meats from the farmer's market -- or even better, have them delivered straight to your door. There are few things as lazy as having your food brought to you! Either way, you're supporting your local economy and saving the earth the cost of shipping things around the world.

In addition, make more eco-friendly decisions when it comes to your online ordering practices. Instead of purchasing a few things at a time, make a list of what you need from your favorite online store and make a once-a-month order. This will save on the fuel it takes to get those items to you. While you're at it, carefully choose items that are better for the world around you, such as those made with sustainable fibers.

Choose to recycle

Throwing things into a trash bin isn't difficult. Dividing things into two separate trash bins, sitting side by side…isn't any more difficult. Really. Plan on recycling as much as you can, and use that second bin to make your plans a reality. Cardboard, paper, plastic, glass, and much more can be recycled, assuming your area has the facilities to do so. In most areas, recycling is as easy as pulling a second bin to the curb for pickup.

While you're at it, look for recycled or refurbished products when you're shopping. They usually cost the same, if not less, than the "brand new" item and they are better for the environment.

Use less energy the easy way

How can you use less on a day-to-day basis? By simply being more aware! Create a goal of taking a shower that is one minute less today than it was yesterday. Got a nice garden? Put a bucket in your shower to catch the water as it is heating up -- that's water you're not using that could instead water your plants tomorrow.

Invest in a smart power strip that will turn everything off with one flick of a switch. Run your dishwasher only when it is full. Love your air conditioning? Make it work smarter by installing a Nest thermostat. It takes only a few minutes, and if you want to be truly lazy, you can add it to that once-a-month online order. Nest will even support your desire to do as little as possible by remembering what temperatures you like things and when, so you never need to get up and adjust it.

Create a compost pile

All those trimmings and edges of food that you throw away can go to good use. The tough ends of celery or broccoli, potato peels, coffee grounds, the trimmings from vegetables, and even shredded newspaper can be turned into awesome compost. Simply choose an area of the yard that gets good sunlight, dump scraps in a dedicated pile, and let nature do its work. Turn the compost every so often with a pitchfork to get proper airflow. Just remember to never include meat scarps, dairy products, fatty foods, bones, oils, or fish.

Get a new source for water

Are you one of those people who goes through a case of water bottles every few weeks? Squelch that habit and use less plastic by investing in a water pitcher with a great filter -- or for the truly lazy among us, a filter that fits directly on the faucet. Choose a durable, long-lasting, and large water bottle, and fill that up each day. In addition to being great for the environment, your investment in that filter and bottle will save you money in the long run. Plus, now you don't have to lug packs of water bottles from the car to the house.

Turn to a professional

Are you truly lazy but you have plenty of money to burn? You could be one of the lucky few who hire an eco-concierge -- yes, there is such a thing. These experts in going green can do everything from choose organic groceries to offer green remodel ideas to help you purchase carbon offsets for your peace of mind. The idea is that they will make the heavy lifestyle changes for you and allow you to slowly adjust, so that going green is easier than you ever dreamed it would be.

Still feeling lazy? That's okay -- now that you know how to go green without breaking a sweat, you can look forward to helping the environment (and even your bottom line) while sitting on the couch. Win-win!

Photo credit to Myryah Shea

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.