What comes to mind when you think about “going green”? Far more energy than you’re willing to expend? Time and money wasted? There are many myths about recycling that are commonly accepted (check out Popular Mechanic’s article Recycling Myths: PM Debunks 5 Half Truths about Recycling). The truth is that being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be a grueling process. Check out these 10 cheap and very doable ways to go green!
- Be a Friend to Farmers — Want the best prices on organic produce? You don’t have to look too far, just to your local farmers’ market. Organic is the best option for your body, the planet and, when you buy locally, your wallet too. Not only do you save money when you buy directly from the organic producers, but you also support local food production.
- Cleaning for Under a Buck — Looking for an alternative to harsh household cleaners? Fun fact: you can clean most of your house with a non-toxic cleaner for (usually) less than a dollar! The secret? Baking soda. A little water and baking soda makes the perfect paste for cleaning tubs, sinks, stoves, and other surfaces. It has a whitening effect that is perfect for cleaning grout. Adding a handful to your whites in the wash can even brighten your clothes. It’s also a great deodorizer and won’t irritate your lungs.
- Veg Out — Try eating less meat, particularly red meat. Cows require a lot of feed or grass to survive, pollute water with their waste, and produce a large amount of greenhouse gases. For you and your family eating a lot of meat can be strenuous on your digestive system and disagreeable for your overall health. Since you have to shop for food and make meals anyway, why not change it up and eat vegetarian a few times a week. It’s all about habit.
- Fertilizing with Garbage — At-home composts make brilliant use of food scraps. Instead of stinking up your kitchen garbage, the scraps go into your compost and create a rich fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Compost is organic, non-toxic, and extremely healthy for plants and the soil. Now doesn’t it feel good to give back to the planet with minimal effort?
- Solar Savings — Open those blinds and curtains and turn off the lights. Sunlight is free and completely renewable. Not only does sunlight save you electricity, but it’s also good for your body. The sun’s rays are just the right brightness and spectrum to give you more energy, better regulate your sleep patterns, and improve your mood. Sun equals smiles.
- Well-contained Lunches — Be sure to utilize reusable containers for lunches whenever possible. You have a one-time investment on the containers that can save you mucho money. Throwaway baggies and individually packaged lunch items (juice boxes and applesauce cups, for example) are far more expensive than if you filled up reusable containers at home with juice, fruit, and a sandwich. That means that less goes to the landfill too.
- Slow Your Flow — While it’s great to encourage family members not to waste water, a nearly effortless way to improve on those results and also help your bottom line is to install low-flow fixtures and low-flow toilets. You can easily exchange your showerhead for a water-saving variety that saves a gallon of water a minute. A faucet aerator for the kitchen or bathroom is a cheap replacement and can immediately cut water consumption in half. Low-flow toilets too expensive? Try filling a plastic bottle with water and placing it in the tank of your toilet. This will lower the amount of water used on each flush.
- Old News is Good News — Have a package to send? Avoid the expense and waste of bubble wrap. Instead, reach for yesterday’s newspaper as packing material. To add extra flare, circle interesting or cute articles.
- Money in the Miles — Put on your thinking cap next time you plan errands and schedule them together on a miles-saving route. By strategically combining errands and avoiding unplanned trips to the store, you’ll save gas and keep your wallet a little fatter. Plus, you’ll be spewing less pollution into the air from your car.
- These Boots Are Made for Walking — Are you used to jumping in the car just to pick up milk from the corner store? Before the next time you grab your keys, consider walking instead – to run errands, to get exercise, to go to the park for recreation. Take your children with you. Walking is free, saves energy, produces no emissions (unless you count the production of the clothes and shoes you wear), and keeps you healthy. Viva la green!
Image Credit: Mom Goes Green