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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Living Green and Saving Green

A frugal greenie is not an oxymoron. With the green movement and our struggling economy, people often wonder if it's possible to be frugal while living green. I'm all about living green and saving green and I'd like to share some tips that I use around my home. I made small changes over the past few years and I believe that even small changes can make a huge difference on both our world and your checkbook.

Buy all-natural and organic personal products - natural and organic products last longer so you won't have to buy as often and it's saves the waste of bottles and packaging products that just end up in landfills. A natural or organic bar of soap lasts twice as long because it's an actual bar of soap. Synthetic chemicals are so bad for the environment and for your body. Your skin absorbs these chemicals and your lungs are filled with nasty fumes. Eeuw!

Buy all-natural and organic household products - I am so over single-use cleaners! Simplify and save. Natural and organic household cleaners and laundry products last longer than supermarket brands, they are better for the enviroment and better for you.

Stop buying paper towel - use a chamois style cloth or newspaper (that's likely already made from recycled paper) in place of paper towel. You could save as much as $500 per year!

Save more - conserve energy, save water, save product, save money. I came up with a way to load my dishwasher until the dishes were just about falling out. Come up with a loading system so you don't have to run the dishwasher as often. If you load them just right, you can fit twice as many in. I run 3 less loads per week and that's saves a lot of green!

Save even more -conserve energy, save water, save product, save money. Who wouldn't love to cut back on their laundry?! Are you one who uses one towel for your body, one towel for your hair, and then you throw them both into the laundry hamper? Naughty, naughty! Use only one towel, hang it to dry, and use it for the week. This alone will cut down on your laundry. Get a few wears out of your clothes rather than just one. Wash only linens and whites in warm water. I've found that adding 1 cup of white vinegar to each load helps the detergent work best in cold water washes. Vinegar is also great as a fabric softener and it's way cheaper than buying fabric softener! Hang your clothes on the line during warmer months of the year. You'll benefit from the energy savings and your clothes will smell fresh and sun-kissed.

Stop buying packaged bottled water - I know it's not always possible when you want filtered water but here are a few tips to get started. Buy a filtration system for your sink or faucet. There are numerous studies out there comparing filtered tap water to bottled water and each person has to come to their own conclusion. I personally use a cheaper carbon filter on the faucet and I feel good about that. Also, buy a safe, reusable container to take water with you when you're on the go. Doing this will save you money and prevent even more plastic bottles ending up in the landfills.

Green gift wrap solution - Let's start a new trend! Millions of tons of wrapping paper end up in landfills each year. Stop buying wrapping paper and start using newspaper (that's likely already made from recycled paper). Use comics for kids or the sports section for guys. Save an engagement announcement and use it to wrap the couples wedding gift. Use shredded paper for packaging or in place of tissue paper when reusing gift bags. Have some fun with it. Save greeting cards (fronts only) that others send to you and reuse them as gift tags with you own message. Save $5-10 per gift!

Pack lunches - you can save in so many ways! I invested in reusable containers so I can buy snack items in bulk. This saves money as well as packaging waste. Packing lunches is so much healthier for you and far cheaper than eating out!

Don't pitch it - donate clothing items, furniture, household items, toys, etc. before throwing them away. Pass them along to someone you know or donate them to Goodwill or your local shelter. List larger items on Craigslist in the "free" section for pick up. You'll be helping someone else save money, these items will be used again before making it to their final resting place (in the landfill), and you can reap some tax benefits too.

There must be thousands of ways you can find to reuse, save waste, save energy and save water - all while saving some green. Even the smallest steps can make a huge difference. You 'll feel good about doing it and it's even better if we can teach the next generation to do the same. Get your kids involved too. You might be surprised what their little imaginations can come up with.


Erica said...

Hi "Mommy!"

Thanks for your post on saving money and reducing waste by drinking tap water instead of bottled. My organization, Food & Water Watch, has a campaign called Take Back the Tap devoted to doing just that, and on our website, www.foodandwaterwatch.org, you can find tons of tips and background info. You can also follow us on Twitter: foodandwater. Thanks for your work on this important cause!

Mary Q Contrarie said...

I'ld like to add that you can air dry your clothes year round if you have a good clothes drying rack