12 Easy Ways to be Green!
There are tons of websites online that offer green tips but I thought I’d share some that I use, personally, and how I go about doing so. If I can stick to these routines, trust me, so can you! Happy Earth Day!
1) Recycle – I know this one has been around for awhile but I’m still always disturbed by the amount of people who don’t do this. In small towns and rural places, like where I moved in 2011, there isn’t free curbside recycle pick up so it’s really easy to be lazy and make excuses but I can’t get behind that. So I asked for a recycle bin that Christmas and when it’s full, I load it into my car and take it to the dump. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, it’s dirty and stinky but I always leave the dump feeling better about my efforts, all of which took about 15 minutes out of my day. I’m pretty obsessed with recycling. I often go during the middle of the day and see old people (like 80 year olds) recycling and that makes me really happy, if they can do it, so can you!
2) Compost – I eat a lot of produce (ideally local and organic, too, but that’s a whole different post) and I have my scrap bin on the counter and whenever it’s full, I take it down to my compact composter and spin, spin, spin. It’s fun and on the plus side, I rarely have to take the trash out. After awhile, the composted ingredients turn into soil which I can then use to plant plants in, which will probably end up dying, since I’m not the greenest thumb
Here is the indoor, counter top scrap bin that I use:
with these biodegradable bags:
and the composter:
There are many other options but since I don’t have a yard, I opted for a small one.
3) Make your own soaps, cleaning supplies and more! This is another fun way to make less of an impact by using non-toxic ingredients, which also produces significantly less waste, since you aren’t throwing away plastic containers all the time. The favorite item I’ve made, so far, is powdered laundry detergent! I added some essential oils and scented Castile soap, to make my own personalized scent. I actually makes me enjoy doing laundry, sorta… While you’re at it, wash clothes in cold water whenever possible; as much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
Click on the photo for one of many online sites, with recipes for homemade cleaners:
4) Switch all of your old light bulbs out with energy-saving, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) not only will you use a lot less energy, you will save money on your electric bill. And don’t forget to turn off lights, when you leave the room. My Grandma used to do this obsessively and we all made fun of her but she was onto something; I’m starting to follow in her footsteps and I’m okay with that!
5) Eat less meat! I could talk about this subject for quite awhile but I will keep it simple: Raising, feeding and transporting meat into your grocery store has a huge environmental impact (not to mention, depending on what meat you’re eating, it’s not so great for your health). If you love meat, try a “meatless” day, once a week, and find ways to incorporate more veggies and fruits into your diet! Your waistline will also thank you. Also try buying locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy, whenever you can. Not only will everything be fresh, purchasing from local farmers also keeps money in the local economy and there is less travel, leading to less emissions from transportation.
Click on the pic to see how eating just a little bit less meat, can have a positive impact the Earth:
6) Skip the bottled water.
Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates an extremely large amount of container waste. Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
7) Borrow instead of buying.
I am a fan of reading and I am also a fan of buying new books but the bottom line is: it’s expensive and wasteful. I enjoy going to thrift shops or borrowing books from the library, instead, this saves a lot of money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
8) Use reusable bags but more importantly, DON’T FORGET TO BRING THEM WITH YOU!!
Not a new concept but again, I’m always amazed at how many people I see carrying plastic bags, out of the grocery store. Sometimes you don’t plan ahead, I totally get that, but you can leave them in the car or, if you carry a purse, get a compact one and leave it in there, for any last minute shopping sprees… here is one that I always carry with me:
If you forget to bring your reusable bags, don’t just throw the plastic bags away, after you’re done with them! You can recycle them or at least reuse them as little trash bags.
9) Unplug unused chargers and appliances when they’re not in use (blender, toaster, microwave etc) When you’re done using it, just make the final step unplugging it…. easy habit to change.
10) Use cloth napkins or rags instead of napkins and paper towels
I rarely have to buy paper towels or napkins. I use dish towels, cloth napkins or when I have old t-shirts, curtains (anything cloth), I cut them up and use them as cleaning rags.
11) Reuse Water.
I don’t have a yard, so I cannot have a rain barrel to collect rain water for watering grass, plants or washing your car (dog) etc. but I do reuse water, all the time. Sometimes there is some leftover in my reusable water bottles, that I’m not going to drink, so I water my plants with whatever is remaining. I also water my plants from Max’s water bowl, when it’s time to give him fresh water. The plants do not mind the dog slobber mixed in, trust me.
12) Use timers for electronics. I like to fall asleep to both a TV and a fan, the TV has a sleep timer but the fan used to run all night, wasting a lot of energy. I bought a simple timer that I plug my fan into, and it now only runs long enough for me to fall asleep which is about six hours less than it used to!
So, that’s my main list of the small changes I’ve made at home, that when added up have big environmental impacts. My only hope is that if you made it this far and are still reading this, that you a)agreed with what you read and already do all of these things b) it made you think about doing even just one or two of them or c) it made you want to do ALL of them!
Like I said, if I can do it, so can you
want even more ideas? check out some of these sites: