It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by ocean pollution, air quality, and natural catastrophes. You may wonder how a few recycled cans could make a difference in such a big world with so much going on. That being said, small changes can make a BIG eco-impact.

For those interested in living an eco-friendly lifestyle, here’s how to begin.

1. Don’t Rely on Your Thermostat

Southern California summers can be brutal, making it tempting to turn down the thermostat to what seems like freezing temperatures. Instead of relying solely on the AC, the Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 78 degrees (or a few degrees cooler) and using fans to cool your house. On cooler nights, open your windows to let in some fresh, chill air.

2. Save Energy by Washing Clothes on Cold

According to the EPA, washing your clothes in hot water accounts for 90 percent of the energy your washing machine uses per load. Knowing that, turn the knob to warm, or better yet, cold. The colder, the better! In addition to not using hot water, make the most use out of your washing machine by washing full loads only—never half!

3. Invest in Canvas Bags

How many times have you paid 10 extra cents for a plastic bag at the grocery store and then tossed that bag in the trash once you were home? Canvas bags are a great alternative to plastic bags. They are studier, can hold more, and are, of course, reusable. Store a few in your car for your next grocery shopping haul.

4. Opt for Showers, Not Baths

The average bath uses 36 gallons of water, while the average shower uses five gallons of water per minute. If you are planning on taking your sweet time showering, you might as well take a bath. Taking short showers and even turning off the water while you shampoo your hair and shave will save water.

5. Install Energy-Efficient LED Light Bulbs

LED lights cost more than fluorescent. However, they also use less energy than fluorescent lights and last longer. Sounds like a win-win for the planet and your wallet!

Help reduce waste and improve the planet by beginning with the tips above. Little changes can go a long way! The best part is that as you live a more eco-friendly life, you can teach others what you know and urge them to join.