Friday, April 23, 2010

40 Ways to Go Greener at Home (Besides Just Recycling)

I didn't realize just how "green" I am until I read this list posted on

40 Easy Ways to Go Greener at Home – Besides Recycling
1. Plant an herb garden. It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates.
I have two totally black thumbs so I can't imagine my family eating something I grew myself. Great idea in theory though. I can imagine how much money it saves though.

2. Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).
Haven't done this yet. I think they spoil the look of a nice light fixture.

3. Create a homemade compost bin for $15.
Ewww! Stinky, spider infested garbage! And, refering to my answer to #1 what would I do with it?

4. Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).
Done! Washer, dryer and stove (I think) are Energy Star.

5. Stop using disposable bags – order some reusable bags, or make your own. My favorites are Envirosax and Flip & Tumble.
This I have cut down considerably. Bonus points at the grocery store for using reusable bags. I do use disposable for meats however.

6. Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles. Then watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena.
When I do have bottled water, I will reuse it a dozen times before recycling. I have a couple different reusable bottles but they all have a plasticky taste.

7. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
Been doing this for years.

8. Turn off lights when you leave the room.
Again, this fits in the most/some times catagory.

9. Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can — open your curtains and enjoy natural light.
Try to do this. Hubby, however, would have flourescents everywhere if I'd let him.

10. Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
Also, try to do this.

11. Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.

12. Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.
As much as possible, better yet get veggies from father-in-law's garden. Yummy!

13. Turn off your computer completely at night.
I admit I do not do this as often as I should. I have been more conscious of doing this since reading this list.

14. Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.
Not an option.

15. Pay as many bills as possible online.
Is there any other way? I also get my bills emailed to me.

16. Put a stop to unsolicited mail — sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.
I tried doing the first part but apparently it's only available in the US. I do subscribe to the "do not call" list. Love it!

17. Reuse scrap paper. Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
Another thing I do all the time. I hate wasting paper.

18. Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
Did this a few years ago and have made quite a few adjustments like replacing insulation in the attic and putting "baby-proof" plugs in outlets not in use (note: they may be baby-proof, however, they are NOT 3 year old proof!) and filters under the faceplates.

19. Subscribe to good eco-friendly blogs. My favorites are The Daily Green, TreeHugger, and Keeper of the Home. Of course, you gotta subscribe to Simple Organic.
I haven't done this because I really thought I wasn't that "granola", although I still think I'm more cheap than granola.

20. Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle.
We do do this and list unwanted things as well.

21. Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.
We don't eat out often enough I think to really make a difference here. Something to consider though.

22. Fix leaky faucets.
Done. I just hate the sound of dripping water.

23. Make your own household cleaners. I’ve got quite a few recipes in my e-book.
In process of converting.

24. Line dry your laundry.
Much to lazy for this, plus the fact that our weather is so crappy and when it's nice out it's also too windy for laundry. I have better things to do with my one day off in the week.

25. Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.
Note to self: do this!

26. Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.
And this.

28. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.

29. Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
If our chargers aren't plugged in, who knows where they will be when needed. I can't say I have any appliances that aren't used at least on a daily basis. Coffee maker maybe and it's usually unplugged. If it's not used often, it's in the cupboard.

30. Repurpose something – turn one of your well-worn t-shirts into basic play pants for your baby. Or save egg cartons for paint wells, seed starters, treasure boxes, or a myriad of other crafts.
If only there were an extra day every week to devote to such things...

31. Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.
Again refer to #1. There are no houseplants or garden.

32. Switch to cloth diapers – or at least do a combination with disposables.
Thinking of doing this when/if #2 happens.

33. Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label.
Another thing that for the amount we consume would make very little difference to our daily lives.

34. Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles.
I did some research on this and I haven't yet quite gotten over the "eew" factor.

35. Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Be frugal, and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.
Another thing I do just because I'm more cheap than green.

36. Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.
On my shopping list.

37. Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and open your eyes to the way conventional food is processed. Watch Food, Inc. while you’re at it.
On my to do list.

38. Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage, especially in the kitchen.
Done this for years!

39. Five-minute showers – make it a goal for yourself.
My mother shocked me when she timed my shower - 18 minutes! I've been trying to cut back ever since. I think I have it down to 10 now.

40. Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores such as Goodwill. You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.
We have several charitable organizations who call on a regular basis and will pick up most household items from clothes to knick-knacks. And we shop there.

SimpleMom asked: Which of these do you already do? Which ones are you going to focus on this next year? And what can you add to the list?
I actually surprised myself when I started crossing off the ones I do already all/most/some of the time. Since I started this post (about 3 weeks ago) I've consciously made an effort to do the "some of the time" things more often and try new ones.

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