1. Make Recycling a Mindset

Government and corporate sponsored measures may be what comes to mind when we discuss recycling, but the practice should really begin before your waste touches the bottom of the blue bin. After all, the ubiquitous recycling symbol, created by Gary Anderson on the very first Earth Day, represents three Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle). Diminishing the amount you consume, refraining from packaged goods and finding constructive “after lives” for unwanted goods are some of simplest and most effective ways of showing gratitude to the planet.

2. Use Energy-Saving Bulbs to Lighten Your Cabin Footprint

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) typically consume 75 percent less electricity and last years longer than traditional incandescents, but present new environmental woes due to their mercury content. Concerns that the toxicity of CFLs could seep into the earth via landfills have prompted jurisdictions throughout North America to introduce regulations for the safe disposal of spent bulbs. For a safer, albeit more costly, alternative, opt for even longer-lasting LEDs.

3. Disconnect — And Not Just From Social Media

On average, homes contain close to 40 appliances that are constantly plugged in, expending 10 percent of household power and amassing hidden electricity fees. However, simply unplugging appliances when no longer in use would render things like your pre-programmed espresso maker and alarm clock ineffectual. To reduce phantom power consumption — without having to sacrifice your modern-day conveniences — connect appliances to a power strip that can be easily switched off on your way out for a weekend jaunt.

4. Get Creative With Your Commute

The fume that billows out of your car’s exhaust pipe is as hazardous to your health as it is to the environment. The nitrous oxide emitted while driving contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer; sulfur and nitrogen dioxide combine to create acid rain; and fuel spills contaminate natural water resources. If two-wheeled (or legged) commuting isn’t your thing, give public transport, electric or hybrid vehicles, or local ridesharing programs a try.