I’ve had the great pleasure of become online friends with Cathy from Let’s Be Green Together via Twitter. She is sweet, funny, and a great “greenie”. It only made sense when I was searching for guest bloggers that I ask her to write a post of the easiest ways you can go green. Luckily she obliged. Check out her site, too!
When my friend on Twitter, the Hurried Homemaker, asked me to write a guest post, I said “YES” without hesitation. I am so excited to be here and share my top 5 ways my family lives a “green” lifestyle and how you could, too. First, I will say that I live green because it is better for my family. Sound selfish? Well, then I am selfish. I am not green because I love the planet and hug trees, but because I want the most healthy and non-toxic home for my family. The planet just gets to benefit, too. It’s so lucky, isn’t it?
Okay, let’s get started on what I would consider the easiest ways to green your family’s routine and even save money while doing so.
• Ditch the plastic water bottles! Do you know it can take around 1000 years for plastic to break down in a landfill? They are simply bad for the planet, but they are also expensive. Think of the money you could save if you stop buying plastic water bottles and buy a really cool reusable one? Everyone in my family has their own unique bottle (actually more than one at this point) and we take them with us everywhere we go.
• No Paper Products in the Kitchen! Okay, don’t get all crazy on me. I know you are thinking, “She said these were easy ways to be greener.” This is easy, I promise. It just sounds like it might make you hyperventilate, but it really isn’t that bad! We did it cold turkey. My husband broke out in a cold sweat when I made the announcement, but he survived, and we don’t miss the paper towels or paper napkins at all. Here’s what I did: I scoured for clearance deals on cloth napkins whenever I was out shopping and have now built a fun collection, enough to host a birthday party! For paper towels, I went through some old clothes that weren’t in good enough shape to donate, but that I couldn’t bear to just throw away, either. I tore them into various sizes and put them in an old container under my sink and another in my bathroom. Whenever we need one for a clean-up or to wash dishes, we just grab one, use it, and toss it in the laundry! We have saved so much money by not buying paper towels or paper napkins anymore. If you buy these items, do the math for about a month, and see how great the savings would be.
• Buy a Reusable Coffee Mug! Obviously, this one only applies to you if you are a coffee drinker like my husband and I are. We were going to the drive thru at our local coffee shop many times a week, throwing those awful cups in the trash and spending a lot of money! Then we made the change. I only buy organic and fairly traded coffee and we brew it at home. Honestly, I think it tastes better than what we used to buy. If we leave the house with coffee, we fill our travel mug and head out on our way. It’s just a way of life for us. Even if you don’t want to make your own coffee at home, at least purchase a travel mug and bring it with you to your local coffee shop. Sometimes they actually offer a discount for bringing your own mug. Just ask…. they may surprise you!
• Recycle! Recycling is possibly the simplest green thing that you can do and this one doesn’t cost any money at all. As a matter of fact, it will save you, especially if you pay-per-bag for your trash disposal. More in the recycle bin means less in the garbage. Even in the smallest of spaces, you can recycle. We live in a duplex and have a small area of our kitchen designated for our recycling. Cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, and some plastic are much of what we recycle.
• Shop and Donate at Your Local Thrift Store! I’ll be honest. I used to think only poor people shopped at thrift stores and they smell bad and everything is gross and dirty. Hey, I am confessing, don’t judge me. Now I realize people of many different income levels shop at thrift stores. They do, in fact, smell a bit different to me, but I am used to it. I love finding great deals and my husband even enjoys shopping for new work clothes and his favorite is the electronics corner. I have found clothing that’s barely worn, looks like new, and some that even still had the tags on them. Big score for me! Another important thing for me is to donate, too. I love that my store has a drive-up at their back entrance. I don’t even need to go inside. They come out with a cart to collect my stuff, offer me a receipt for tax purposes (yes, it’s deductible), and take my stuff inside and I drive away feeling pretty great!
I am so happy to have been invited into Hurried Homemaker’s home here on the web and to share with you, her readers, some of my favorite ways to go green without spending a lot of money. If this list seems a bit overwhelming, take it one at a time. Commit to one change each month. A gradual change might make it an easier transition for you and your entire family. On the other side, if you are ready, willing, and able to jump ALL in, then go for it!
Thanks for having me! Stop by my place anytime!