• It's called "the jungle effect," and it's a simple way to create warmer air inside your home with just the power of plants. When you keep a nice collection of houseplants inside your home, they release moisture vapor into the air, which in turn boosts humidity levels in your home. Dry winter air can cause cracked or dry skin and irritated throats, so the extra moisture from houseplants actually can help you look and feel better. And that moisture traps heat, which helps keep your home feeling warmer, too.

• Do you start your car and let it idle when it's freezing cold outside to allow the engine to "warm up"? While there is some valid reasoning around doing this, especially during frigid cold temps, you don't need to do it for more than 30 seconds. Modern cars have improved fuel-injected engines that work perfectly well without idling your car for several minutes before driving. Lessening your idle time will improve your fuel efficiency and also is better for our environment.

• Did you know one of the biggest gas hogs during the winter months is a gas-powered snowblower? The Environmental Protection Agency estimates snowblowers create one pound of carbon monoxide emissions per hour. Additionally, they release other gases and volatile organic compounds into the air. The solution is either to clear your driveway and sidewalk the old-fashioned way, manually with a snow shovel, or opt for an electric snowblower instead.

• Some viral tips are promoting the idea of using cheap commercial fertilizers as ice melt. The reason is the active ingredient, ammonium sulfate, works as a de-icing agent, and the fertilizer can be spread easily over large surfaces. So what's the problem? When temperatures rise, all of that fertilizer will end up in the melted snow and ice, creating a toxic runoff that can affect your municipal water or local waterways. It's best to avoid this tip and stick to more natural de-icing solutions.

• When it comes to choosing packing peanuts for shipping something fragile, the most environmentally friendly choice is biodegradable. But while these eco-friendly mini cushions are easy to find and are made from starch, which instantly degrades in water, they can also be more expensive. If you're on a budget, your next "lighter green" option is to look for polystyrene packing peanuts that are green in color. These reusable peanuts are less expensive and are made with 70% recycled materials.

• Did you know that metal bottle caps are recyclable, but they are often tossed into the trash at recycling facilities? It's because they are too small and often end up as waste as the larger recyclables get sorted. So, what to do? Open and save a steel can (like a soup can) and an aluminum can (from a soda). Fill each with bottle caps made from their respective metals. Not sure how to tell the difference? If a cap sticks to a magnet, it's steel; if not, it's aluminum. When the cans are full, crimp them closed so nothing falls out and recycle in your curbside recycling bin.

• Beauty products can be of service in new and different ways well after they've been used up or expired. A clean mascara brush, for example, can be used to scrub away dirt and debris between stones in jewelry or watch links. Unwanted nail polish (a color not to your liking, say) can be used to "paint" the stems of wineglasses to give them personality and color. And lipstick that broke can be melted in a microwave-safe dish for 20 seconds then poured into a clean tin (like a small mint tin) and applied to the lips with a brush or fingertips.

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