4 Ways to Up Your Karma

Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Lynn Andriani

Whether your conservation efforts are superstar-level (hello, composters) or minimal (someone's got to save those brown bananas from the trash and turn them into banana bread), we all can probably do a little more for the environment. Here are four small things to rethink when it comes to your own kitchen.

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Paper towels. You can reuse and wash Bambooee towels up to 20 times in the washing machine. It'll take you as long to use up one roll ($12.99) as it would go to through 60 rolls of regular paper towels. You can use them for everything from drying fruits and vegetables to mopping up spills.

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Leftover food storage. If you're uncertain about microwaving your lunch in a plastic container, switch to Fridgex Silicone, which is free of PVC and BPA (a recent study found plastic food packaging is a major source of these potentially harmful chemicals). Fridgex's products are heat-resistant up to 430 degrees, and the 8-piece mini storage set ($24.99) is so eye-catching, it'll make yesterday's dinner look even better than it did last night.

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Seafood buying. Fish is good for you, but not so great for the environment if you're eating species that are either overfished or caught in a way that harms other animals. If you can, buy seafood from stores that use the increasingly popular color-system, and choose green and yellow-rated fishes. Avoid red--which will be easy to do at Whole Foods as of this Sunday, when the natural and organic supermarket chain will no longer stock wild-caught seafood that's red-rated.

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Wine cork policy. Harvesting cork keeps the world's relatively small population of cork oak trees, which can live for hundreds of years, alive. You could let the cork's life end when you pop open a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, or you could turn your corks into a trivet to use as a hot plate, memo board or plant stand. This DIY cork trivet kit ($17) includes a hardwood frame made of sustainable cherry and maple wood, plus instructions--you provide the corks and the design.

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