22 April 2011

My three favorite “green” household habits

green(-adjective): environmentally sound or beneficial

1. Reuse and Recycle.
Plastic and glass: I have a cupboard full of plastic (butter, yogurt, cottage cheese) and glass containers (pasta sauce, salsa, vinegar bottles) that I use to store and organize.  When I buy bulk food, I can put it in a plastic container to keep it fresh and keep my pantry organized.  This also helps save money because I don’t have to buy pre-packaged food (bulk is almost always cheaper) and I don’t have to buy fancy, expensive containers to store the food.

Paper: Flip paper over and use the backside for notes, grocery lists, or doodle sheets for your kids. Newspapers and magazines can be reused to wrap gifts (like these) or for collage materials for kids.

Clothing: Clothing is something that I never throw out, and for several reasons.  The first is that there is always someone else who could use it. I usually donate my old clothes.  However, some clothes I keep for sewing projects.  There are many quilt patterns that use old shirts (something I’ve yet to do). And I love turning quirky old t-shirts into throw pillows or reusable bags.    

What you can’t reuse most likely can be recycled.  If you make a goal of only filling one kitchen trash bag per week (for your entire household), you’ll be amazed at how conscious you are of what you throw away. 

2. Buy Locally Grown Food.
Not only does locally grown food taste better and is usually healthier (less pesticides), but it is also great for the environment and local economy.  Locally grown food benefits the environment because transportation is reduced between the field and the store.  The lesser the travel distance, the lesser the carbon output. 

The local economy benefits as well.  When you buy locally grown food, you’re keeping your neighboring farmers in business.

3. Compost.
Don’t throw away your food scraps. Make compost out of them. Natural compost is free potting soil, healthy for your plants and garden, and reduces the amount of waste generated from everyday life. 

Many farm, home, and garden stores sell composters that rotate, but you don’t have to spend any money.  If space permits, start a compost pile in your backyard.  Make sure to turn it and keep it moist, and after a few months you’ll have beautiful “dirt”. 

Some things I compost include used coffee grounds (including the filter), egg shells (washed and rinsed), fruit and vegetable peels and stems, grass clippings, shredded egg cartons and newspapers, peanut (and other nut) shells, and leaves.  For more ideas, see this great post on 163 compostable materials. 

These are just three ideas of many.  I chose to list these because they are free.  Many green tips involve buying new products which have a tendency to turn people off.  While compact florescent bulbs, hybrid cars, and eco-friendly packages are great, you don’t have to spend money to be green and you don’t have to dive in head first. Start small.  Take steps as you feel comfortable.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

I want to hear from you! Leave a comment, say hello, offer a suggestion, or write a little poem--whatever suits your fancy.