First of all, I apologize for not bringing you Smoothie Tuesday yesterday. The Holiday’s have me all out of whack. Even though I was at home all evening, I was too busy relaxing and enjoying the third snow of the winter, which is very unusual for North Texas.
Today I thought I would share you my tips for staying green and reducing your carbon footprint. These green tips are all things I practice myself or will be implementing in the very near future. Feel free to comment and add your own green tips.
- Use less paper products. Did you really need to print out that email? What about that article online you wanted to read? Think twice about printing documents from your computer. Another way of saving paper that I plan on implementing in the new year is using less paper towels. I plan on buying several cheap cloth towels to use instead of paper towels. This will also save money in the long run.
- Stop using plastic grocery store bags. It is now a pet peeve of mine when a store clerk bags up my one or two items I can easily carry out with my own two hands. I almost always catch this now and let them know I don’t need a bag. Canvas bags are great to use when you have a larger load to haul out of the store. I have collected a few over the past year and keep them in my car so I always have them when I go to the store.
- Recycle produce bags. One can not help but use the plastic bags provided in the produce department to carry their lot of apples or bulk salad greens, but there is no reason you have to take a new bag every single time. I save as many of them I can and reuse them until they form holes in the bottom. They also make small reusable canvas bags for produce as well. The only thing I don’t like about them is they weigh more than a plastic bag and you will pay more for your produce or bulk food item.
- Reuse those glass jars and plastic containers. No need to immediately toss every glass jar and container you use. Rinse out those jars and salad containers and reuse them. I have lots of jars saved that I use as smoothie glasses and holding salad dressings. I reuse salad containers for storing things on camping trips. They are very versatile. A friend of mine told me a story about a house she visited and the family only had recycled glass jars to serve drinks in – not a single store bought glass existed in the home.
- Paperless Billing – This goes right along with using less paper products. Most credit card companies offer paperless billing now. I also know that AT&T offers this to cell phone customers. Almost all my bills are electronic now. This is not only better for me in that it reduces my carbon footprint, but I’m less likely to forget to pay the bill since I don’t pay a lot of attention to the mailbox these days.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) in your home. Almost every single light fixture in my house has a compact fluorescent bulb in it, and once the incandescent bulbs go out they will be replaced with a CFL. These bulbs really do cut down on your energy bill, and they last A LOT longer than your standard light bulb.
- Turn out the lights. As a kid my parents were constantly yelling at me to turn out the light in my room when I wasn’t in it. Granted, the main reason was for saving money on the utility bill, having lights turned off in rooms that are not in use reduces your carbon footprint. I am still guilty of leaving them on from time-to-time, but I always strive to follow this rule.
- Wash all your clothing in cold water. For years now I have been using only cold water to wash my clothing – yes, even my whites. This not only saves on your heating bill, but also your water bill because you can now wash your whites and colors at the same time.
- Take a four minute shower. I’m not very good sticking to this one myself, but some friends of mine actually have an hourglass type timer in their shower timed for four minutes. It doesn’t seem like long enough, but it actually is. When sticking to the 4 minute shower limit I have time to soap up really well, wash my hair rinse and still have about a minute left to just enjoy the water pouring over me.
- Recycle. This one is the most obvious, and almost everybody does it these days. When I first started recycling my main reason was to save money. I was throwing large bulky items into the recycle bin and I was buying less trash bags. But later in life as I became more green my reasons for recycling have changed. I also save lots of cardboard boxes as well. I do this so I have boxes to ship things in and store items in future moves.
- Use environmentally friendly soaps. My favorite is Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap. I really love the peppermint scented option. These soaps are all natural, good for your skin and environmentally friendly. I also use a “green” laundry detergent as well. About the only soap I don’t use something environmentally friendly for is dish soap, just because I have found them highly ineffective.
- Go Vegetarian. Not many people draw the connection, but going vegetarian reduces your carbon footprint dramatically. By not eating meat you are dramatically reducing greenhouse gases and helping combat global warming. By eliminating (or reducing) meat from your diet you are being a good steward of the environment.