Thursday, September 9, 2010

20 Small Steps to Living Green

Lately I have been looking into different ways that we can "live greener" in our home. Some of these ideas I have been doing for years, others I just started to implement within the recent months. Although at times it doesn't seem like much, I know that just small changes can make a huge impact. So here are some ways that I have implemented a greener lifestyle in our home.
  1. Unplugging my cell phone charger when not in use. I try to unplug most things that aren't being used on going.
  2. Recycle everything! When we first moved into our house 5 years ago we only were able to recycle plastics with a 1 or 2 on it in addition to all the other obvious items (paper, cartons, cardboard, glass, cans, etc). I just recently received a guide to recycling in our area that stated we can recycle everything from 1-7! This is huge! I am wondering if this just went into effect or if I have been missing out on this for awhile now. Check with your local recycling program to see if it has changed in your area.
  3. Recycle at hubs office. Hubby doesn't have recycling services in his office building. So, he bought a bin especially to house recycling items (paper mostly) and is bringing it home once the bin gets full so that we can put it in our recycling bins.
  4. Reuse as much as we can. Plastic shopping bags, gift bags, wrapping paper/ribbons, write on the back of used paper, wash out old containers, etc, etc, etc. The possibilities are endless.
  5. Shave my legs in the bathtub rather than the shower. I don't always do this for lack of time, but when I can I just fill the bath with a tiny bit of water and use that to shave my legs rather than standing the the shower letting the water run and run and run and run.
  6. Turn off the water when brushing my teeth, washing hands and doing dishes. Water in my community is EXPENSIVE, so whenever we can save on water we are helping our world and our bank account!
  7. Stopped buying bottled water. For the past 6 months or so we have been using a refillable water jug each day. I just fill mine up each evening and put it in the refrigerator to grab and go for the following day. Not only has this saved us from throwing away plastic bottles but it has saved us $$ from buying them!
  8. Forgo plastic shopping bags. When I am out shopping and pick up only a thing or two that is easily carried ask them not to give me a shopping bag. Many times when I shop for clothes and hit a bunch of stores at once I throw everything I purchase into one bag. No need to get a bag at each store that I go to for just one or two items! What a waste! I have even carried things out in my hands when I can.
  9. Eat organic.
  10. Make my own beauty products and cleaning products. I am still in process of making these changes. I still have some store bought "ungreen" products to use up before I make the switch, but I have been researching recipes and have even bought a few things that I need to get started once I get to that point.
  11. Hang laundry. I have been hanging my laundry for YEARS. I have a laundry rack in my laundry room and would say I hang 80-90% of my items. Most of hubs items and the kids stuff I do dry, but I prefer to hang most of my clothing.
  12. Don't flush the toilet after every use. I know, I know. Alert! Alert! TMI! A lot of the time, when at home, I don't flush the toilet after every single time we go. We have done this for awhile now (especially in the middle of the night as to not wake the other person from flushing the toilet) but I recently read a "green" blog that put it ever-so-cleverly. "If it's yellow, let it mellow. When it's brown, flush it down!"
  13. Using canvas bags when I do my grocery shopping.
  14. Use old rags/wash cloths for cleaning, wiping noses/dirty faces, and washing dishes rather than paper towels. This way I can throw them in a load of full laundry whenever I need.
  15. Pay our bills online or with "auto pay."
  16. Opted out of magazines. I called all the stores that send me magazines (i.e. Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, etc.) and cancelled them. If I want to look at what they have, I'll look online.
  17. Called credit bureau's automated system the to hopefully stop getting "junk mail." Call 1-888-567-8688 to get your name taken off the list to receive pre-approved credit card offers for 5 years. There are many other sites that can help get you off lists for junk mail that I plan on looking into.
  18. Washing out old glass bottles and using them for storage in my pantry. I also have an idea for using them for Christmas gifts this year. More on that to come!
  19. Washing my fruits and veggies in a bowl with a small amount of water instead of running the water at the sink for a long amount of time.
  20. Stopped (or significantly reduced) using plastic utensils and paper plates. I make hubs lunch most days. At one time I was using plastic spoons or forks to put in his (reusable, of course) lunch bag when I packed things like yogurt or salads, etc. Lately I have just been putting a regular utensil in his bag for him to bring home at the end of the day. I even have been using regualr utensils, plates and cups when we have guests over.
A few more things I would like to start implementing:
  1. Change all lights to fluorescent bulbs. We seriously have only changed a handful of bulbs since we moved into our house 5 years ago. I don't know if we have some sort of mutant light bulbs in our home, but they seem to never burn out. Once they do, though, I will switch them over.
  2. Have hubs take his shirts to a "green" dry cleaner. This might take a little more convincing since it is a bit more expensive, but, oh my goodness, the chemicals in dry cleaning! Ahhhh!
  3. Carry old rags/washcloths in my diaper bag for cleaning faces and hands, etc. when we are out and about instead of paper towels.

See all simple ways that you can start living greener that don't take much effort? Do what you can! It does make a difference!

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