When you think of doing your part to save the environment, you probably think of switching out your light bulbs for LEDs and programming your thermostat. Unfortunately, these are only drops in the bucket. The real problem is the stuff we consume.

The surprising truth is the up to 80 percent of the negative impact we have on the planet comes from household consumption. That means we have to stop thinking about ways to go green at home, and instead, find ways to go green at the store.

Manage Your Money Electronically

The first thing humanity started doing to lessen its impact on the environment is to reduce the amount of paper used. It’s still the best strategy to start with today, especially when it comes to managing your money.

There are tons of ways you can reduce paper usage when managing your money like:

  • Receiving bills electronically
  • Receiving an electronic bank statement
  • Enrolling in automatic payments
  • Receiving quarterly and annual statements in your inbox

Sending money electronically can reduce your environmental impact too. From sending money to a family member using Remitly, or paying back a friend with Zelle, you can stop writing checks and using cash, which all takes resources to print.

Follow the 48-Hour Rule

One of the best things you can do to reduce your environmental impact is to simply purchase less. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Whether it’s an abundance of cheap stuff or expensive handbags, it all costs the planet resources to make.

Instead of buying that thing right away, think it over for 48-hours. If you still think you want it, go and get it! But, chances are, you’ll realize that you can live without it. Not only will you save money, you’ll also lessen your impact on the environment.

Choose Brands Wisely

You can’t get away with buying nothing forever. Eventually, you’re going to have to replace an appliance or an old pair of jeans.

Make sure you choose brands wisely. Look for high-quality electronics and appliances that are built to last so they don’t have to be replaced often.

Be careful about where you buy your clothing. Look for brands that pay their workers fair wages, and look for clothing that is made out of recycled materials.

Shop for jewelry that is ethically sourced, eggs that come from free-range chickens, and makeup that isn’t tested on animals.

Recycle and Donate Whenever You Can

Donating clothing is a no-brainer, but did you know there are items that should be recycled to lessen their environmental impact? They include:

  • Paint
  • Batteries
  • Motor oil
  • Light bulbs
  • Smoke detectors

Electronics definitely need to be recycled. They contain valuable gold that can be reclaimed and reused in new electronic devices.

Don’t let the things you buy every day destroy the environment. Lessen your impact by getting wiser about the choices you make as a consumer and you can do your part to protect the planet.