Saturday, October 15, 2011
64 small ways to be Greener
Like nearly every Saturday since June, I went to the farmer's market this morning.
Walking back, I couldn't help but think how funny I must have looked. A girl. A dog. 3 bags- 2 saddle bags, hanging from one shoulder and resting on my right hip, one after the other, and a Whole Foods reusable grocery bag, overflowing with vegetables.
I felt good though. I had done 4 good, green things: I walked to the farmer's market instead of drove; I used a reusable grocery bag and rejected all the plastic bags the farmers tried to put my produce in; I bought local produce as opposed to the supermarket produce; I bought a bag (which is why I had three of them walking bag) from a garage sale I stopped at, doing an easy-green action that put an old, unwanted (and really cool) bag to good use (it carried the jicama I bought).
On top of all that, my dog and I both went on a nice walk. The whole thing took almost an hour and a half- a good way to get in exercise.
It also made me think about what small things we all can do to lessen our impact on the Earth. Walking to the farmer's market hardly seemed like anything. In fact, it was rather pleasant, with the crisp October air blowing the turning leaves.
Buying local produce is always great, since it tastes so good and is cheaper than store-bought organic produce, and using a reusable bag is so much more convenient than using plastic bags.
As far as buying the bag from the garage sale goes, it's just like purchasing something nice from a store, only much cheaper, and the money paid goes to a person rather than a business that runs on very non-environmental practices. It puts an old item to good use, rather than having it thrown out to rot in a landfill.
So I compiled a list. 64 green ideas so far. All are easy and fun to follow, and all make our footprints just a little less. Doing all would be incredible, but we're all human, and it's not always possible to do so. But the more the merrier!
1. Buy Organic (most important produce: peaches, apples, grapes, peppers, potatoes, pears, winter squash, green beans, strawberries, spinach)
2. Use reusable grocery bags, preferably cloth ones made from natural fibers.
3. Eat seasonal, local food as much as possible.
4. Eat whole foods, and buy foods as raw and unrefined as possible.
5. Avoid GMOs.
6. Avoid food colorings in foods.
7. Buy in bulk.
8. Eat a variety.
9. Eat lower on the food chain.
10. Can your own food! Such as tomato sauce, apple sauce, apple butter, etc. Buy tons of the produce when it’s in season, and can for the Winter!
11. Avoid products containing palm oils.
12. If consuming animal products, source from a local, ethical ranch.
13. Support local bakers: store-bought bread, with its packaging, shipment, and long list of ingredients is much less eco-friendly than bread (or any baked good) made locally.
14. Avoid processed foods.
16. Use reusable napkins, silverware, glasses, and ceramic plates instead of paper, plastic, or polystyrene products.
17. Install an aerator and save water.
18. Use biodegradable garbage bags.
19. Use reusable bottles instead of plastic.
20. Avoid plastic whenever possible.
21. Store things in glass instead of plastic.
24. Use simpler cooking appliances, like a slow-cooker or toaster oven instead of oven.
25. Unplug appliances when not in use.
26. Use power strips and unplug when not needed.
27. Use rechargeable batteries.
28. Avoid toxic cleaning products.
29. Don’t use disinfectant chlorine bleach (use straight vinegar).
30. Hand wash what you can (never twist or ring animal fibers, use cold water).
31. Hang dry as much as possible.
32. Use cold water only to wash clothes.
33. Move to natural fibers, cotton, linen, organic wool, for clothing, curtains, bedding and other fabrics.
34. Buy well-made, long-lasting products, even if more expensive.
35. Buy secondhand- thrift stores, yard sales, etc.
36. Get rid of old items by garage sale, online, donations, etc.
37. Live simply and without clutter.
38. Grow many house plants!
39. Use paperless invites, or recycled paper.
40. Use eco-gift wrapping.
41. Buy building products as natural as you can buy (No VOC- volatile organic chemicals, or formaldehyde).
42. Up the heat And down the AC (Just 2 degrees closer to air temp year round can save 2000 lbs CO2/yr).
43. Switch to a laptop.
44. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and use 60% less energy(300 lbs CO2 per bulb a year!)
45. Keep tires inflated well to maximize gas mileage.
46. Rake, don’t leaf blow.
47. Collect rain water to water plants.
48. Shovel snow instead of snow blowers.
49. Avoid plastic deck furniture. Try to get bamboo.
50. Avoid paraffin- based candles. Opt for non-GMO soy or beeswax.
51. Use matches instead of lighters.
52. Repel garden pests naturally.
53. Use natural moth balls.
54. Repel ticks naturally with rose germanium.
55. If it’s yellow, let it mellow… if it’s brown, flush it down…
56. Buy unbleached toilet paper. (Or, for the daring, switch to reusable rags...)
57. Use bikes, legs, or public transportation whenever possible
58. Use herbal remedies, aromatherapy, or other alternative healing remedies before conventional medicine.
59. Embrace natural beauty: Forgo the wasteful make-ups and go natural!
60. Take quicker showers.
61. Take cooler showers- not necessarily cold... just not as hot! ☺
62. Be crafty- turning old clothing unsuitable for donations or other items into new clothing, artwork, etc. is a great way to enjoy crafting and prevent landfill trash!
63. Embrace body hair. It may seem 'gross', but it’s natural. If women were to stop shaving, it would reduce incredible amounts of water and oil for the production, packaging, and shipment of razors, and reduce a great volume of waste in landfills.♀
64. Bring Tupperware containers or reusable coffee mugs when going out to eat or to a cafe instead of using Styrofoam or other disposable containers or cups.
What small things do you do to be just a pinch greener? ☻