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21 Ways to Make Your Life Greener in 2021

21 Ways to Make Your Life Greener in 2021

At Sandia Area our values are rooted in Permaculture. Permaculture is the belief in caring for the environment, our members, and our communities, through collaborative efforts, minimizing our waste, and positively affecting the environment. Permaculture encourages sustainable living to reduce ones individual impact on the earth and its resources. Today, more and more people are understanding the benefit of being sustainable.

Sandia Area’s green efforts include:

  • Using Docusign to greatly reduce the need for paper
  • Planting a tree for every new eStatement enrollment
  • Increasing online services to reduce the need for travel to a branch to do business
  • Doing business with other environmentally conscious companies
  • Supporting hemp banking and the hemp industry because of its positive environmental (and economic) impact on the state

To learn more about our commitment to community, visit www.sandia.org/community.

Here are 21 small changes you can make to start living a greener, more sustainable life.


  1. Buy more food locally. Small farms create less waste, carbon footprints are decreased with less transportation, and you will support small, local businesses.
  2. Minimize packaging. Buy bulk when possible and bring your own reusable produce and bulk bags when grocery shopping. If packaging is unavoidable, opt for products that use recycled or biodegradable packaging.
  3. Love your leftovers. Have a regular night to eat leftovers, or come up with some creative ways to reuse them. And “food waste” can be utilized, like using vegetable scraps or chicken bones to make broths.
  4. Decrease meat consumption. Eating less meat – even omitting it from a meal one day a week – can positively influence change. When you do eat meat, look for labels that specify free range, organic and hormone and antibiotic free.
  5. Change your shower head. Invest in an aerated shower head to reduce water use while maintaining water pressure.
  6. Do a home energy audit. Evaluate your energy usage, and identify areas of waste, like drafty windows or old appliances. PNM offers in-home and video call Home Energy Checkups that you can sign up for at https://www.pnm.com/checkup.
  7. Lose the disposables. There are reusable options for several frequently used items, like water bottles and drinking straws, and switch from paper towels to cloth (you can cut up old towels or t-shirts to use as cleaning rags). And look into washable bamboo pads to replace cotton balls.
  8. Improve your home’s energy efficiency. Upgrade to solar, install new windows, or just replace all your light bulbs. Need help financing larger improvements? Get a low rate Sandia Area Home Equity Loan or Home Equity Line of Credit.
  9. Take care of your electrical appliances. By regularly cleaning and maintaining your appliances and electronics, you will prolong its life. Many of these items only have parts that can be reused or recycled, so they will just end up in a landfill.
  10. Recycle as much as possible. For anything that you can’t recycle at home (like glass), save and bring them to local drop offs that accept glass. You can also reach out to the local art community as many artists use recycled materials in their projects.
  11. Line dry your laundry. We live in a climate that allows us to do this for a majority of the year. Line drying can make your clothes feel stiffer, so limiting your dryer time to a quick 5 minute tumble will reduce use, and soften clothes.
  12. Encourage bees. Plant bee friendly plants on your property. Bees like to visit only one type of flower in each trip, so planting large clusters of the same flower will help them.
  13. Create a homemade compost bin. These are great to keep your food scraps and yard waste from ending up in a landfill, plus you will have fertilizer to use in your garden.
  14. Plant a Garden. Growing your own vegetables is the best option to get organic, local veggies. Research plants that grow well together, and well in our climate. One fun idea is to plant a salsa garden with tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, onion, and cilantro.
  15. Invest wisely. Invest in funds that are described as ‘responsible’, ‘SRI’ (socially responsible investment), ‘ethical’ or ‘dark green’. These have the strictest criteria and avoid investing in any company that may have a poor record on environmental, human rights, or other ethical grounds.
  16. Pay bills online. Not only will you save paper, but it protects your personal information and makes it easier to keep track of bills. While you’re at it, opt-out of junk mailing lists.
  17. Research companies. Look for companies that have sustainable practices and use green materials to give your business to.
  18. Give old items new life. Before buying anything new, check thrift stores, or online for the item. It can also be a fun project to fix up an old piece of furniture. If you buy new items, look for ones that are made with green materials.
  19. Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores. This allows you to recycle usable items you no longer want, and it helps support your local economy.
  20. Learn how to sew on a button. And how to make other basic mends to your clothes. This will also save you money by allowing your clothes to last longer. There are always helpful videos online to walk you through.
  21. Support local businesses that use local products. Like farm to table restaurants and local wineries.

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