• Did you know over a billion tons of food goes to waste every single year? And much of it is from restaurants and grocery stores that have perfectly edible and delicious food but no one to buy or enjoy it. The makers of the app YourLocal want to stop food waste and help you save money, too. When a local purveyor has extra food — for example, pastries at your local coffee shop — they list it for sale at a significantly reduced price on the app. You can search the app, find surplus food and buy it at a discount. It's that simple.


• Have you ever seen a squirrel run into the middle of the road in front of your car, then zigzag back and forth quickly as if it's trying to get hit? It's not a suicidal tendency at all; it's actually the squirrel's natural instinctive attempt to survive. This same zigzag maneuver is what they use to stay out of the grasp of hawks looking to swoop in for a meal. To avoid hitting a squirrel, slow down and allow it to safely cross the road or retreat back to where it came from. Swerving will actually likely result in its death, or worse, you could collide with another car.


• Did you know it's important to rinse rice before you cook it? Rinsing removes surface starch so the rice comes out fluffier, more consistent and tastier. But don't dump the cloudy water that's left over down the drain! It's loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids that can be used as a skin care treatment. The mixture has organic materials that help soothe and heal skin, so it can be used as a toner, cleanser and salve. Just allow the rice water to cool, then apply.


• Think twice about keeping decorative pillows on your bed. If you're in the habit of tossing them onto the bedroom floor each night before drifting off, you may actually be making your bed unhealthier and dirtier over time. Pillows that rest on the floor can collect dirt, bacteria, dust mites and other creepy crawlies. When you make the bed in the morning, you're bringing those unwanted microorganisms right onto it. Instead, just keep the pillows you actually sleep with on your bed, or place the decorative pillows on a chair or side table each night.


• Bird feeders are a nice way to get close to birds and also help them find a source of food when survival is tough, during harsh winter months. According to the National Wildlife Federation, feeders should be placed at least 10 feet away from shrubs, brush piles and places where cats may lurk. The NWF also advises that the seed mixture should always stay dry. Wet seed can develop mold that sickens birds, so if yours gets wet, dump the old mixture into a compost pile, clean the feeder and start fresh with dry seeds.


• If you've bought a bunch of flowers or a gift basket wrapped in cellophane, you might wonder: Is this clear, plasticlike material recyclable? While it looks like plastic, the good news is, it isn't: Cellophane is actually made from wood pulp and not from petroleum. But that doesn't make it eco-friendly, per se; the Sierra Club reports that "cellophane production requires toxic carbon disulfide." But unlike plastic, it will biodegrade, and it is also compostable.


• When it's freezing cold outside, that doesn't mean you need to crank up the thermostat, use natural resources and waste money to stay warm inside. If it's sunny outside, open the shades and drapes to let the bright sunshine inside. The sun's rays will have a greenhouse effect and create real warmth inside your home. At night, do the opposite: Shut the blinds and close the drapes to maximize the energy efficiency of your windows.


Danny Seo is an environmental lifestyle expert. His creative ideas have made him America’s leading authority on modern, eco-friendly living.