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When it comes to environmental sustainability, options for action are generally easy to come by — you can use less electricity, shorten your showers, and increase your emphasis on recycling, just to name a few. However, going green is not always as obvious as these broad actions may imply. The reality is that there are countless ways that you can aid the environment — sometimes in seemingly minuscule or surprising ways.

Here are five unexpected ways you can help the environment right now.


Combine errands

The next time you have an intimidating list of errands building up, do not feel as if you have to take each errand on as its own trip — not only for your sanity, but for the sake of the environment. If you must take a car out on errands, try your best to combine tasks so that you will drive less. For example, if you are driving to an area where several stores are within walking distance of each other, go to several locations by foot rather than driving across the parking lot. This approach will also get you some added exercise.


Utilize telecommuting

If your job allows you to take periodic work-from-home days, try to use them as much as you can (without getting in trouble, obviously) — again, not just for your sanity, but for the sake of the environment. Assuming you lead a sustainable homelife, you will be able to regularly eliminate energy spent on fuel and on electronic appliance use within your company’s office.


Buy different skin cleansers

The next time you see a skin cleanser or body wash that promises “exfoliating microbeads,” avoid it at all costs. These cleansers contain tiny plastic bits (the “exfoliating” element described on the packaging) that eventually end up in the water supply and can harm fish and wildlife. Settle instead on a normal skin cleanser — the extra scrubbing is a small price to pay.


Wash your hair less

Speaking of bathroom sustainability — particularly that associated with cleanliness — you can be more eco-friendly by reducing time spent washing your hair. Shampoos and other PPCPs (Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Pollutants) are never absorbed by the body during a bath or shower, causing them to run off in wastewater and ultimately harm the environment once they have entered the main water supply.


Keep a travel log

Keeping a record of your trips is surprisingly a great way to instill a sustainable mindset. By logging trips, you will be able to reference where you went, how far the trip was, and most importantly how much you wasted along the way. A record of fuel use and gas emissions alone will give you valuable insight to ensure you do not make the same mistake twice.