10 Simple Ways to Be More Green

That don’t involve extra money, time, or even effort

Sure, it would be great if you could plant a garden or ride your bike to work every day. But there are plenty of easy things you can do to be more green in your cooking and eating habits without adopting major new hobbies or lifestyle changes. These are basic, simple adjustments—not revolutionary—and you may have heard them before. But they need to be sung from the rooftops until they’re common practice.

1. Buy only what you know you’ll consume in a week, to avoid throwing away stuff you don’t end up using. (Steer clear of the “stockin’ up!” Costco mentality.)

2. Don’t use the plastic bags for fruits and vegetables in grocery stores. Bring your own that you’ve saved at home from when you were less green, or don’t bag at all. Wash and reuse saran wrap—just dry it on the drying rack.

3. Think before you open the oven and fridge so you don’t waste electricity. Don’t stand in front of the open refrigerator eating jam with your fingers. (The first is green; the second is gross.)

4. Don’t ditch beet tops, turnip tops, or radish tops—sauté them and eat them! Save scraps of meat and vegetables in the freezer and make stock when you have enough.

5. Buy stuff from the bulk section to avoid packaging. (Most markets will let you bring any kind of container you want—Mason jar, gym sock, what have you—just weigh it empty first and record the weight somewhere on the container for the checker.)

6. Shop at local, independent grocery stores, bakeries, and other purveyors, as well as at farmers’ markets. Fewer goods will have traveled thousands of miles to get to the shelves.

7. Try some baking soda or coarse salt to remove caked-on food from a pan or oven before you resort to oven cleaner. That stuff is toxic.

8. No bottled water. Ever.

9. Use cold water to wash all but your greasiest of dishes. Hot water heaters use energy.

10. Learn to cook. Eat the Michael Pollan way: mostly plants. Grow your own herbs. Feed your friendsstaying in is the new going out.

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