Last year, we shared 5 Ways to Go Green in 2013. How did you do with that challenge? Here are five more tips toward living a more simple, healthy, and environmentally friendly life on a day to day basis. Start with the ones that are simple and require little money and effort. Take time to purchase a few of the pieces of equipment that will enhance your health. Investing in your well-being is a great way to begin the new year!
1. Hang the Laundry. We all know that hanging laundry to dry reduces the consumption of energy because we are not using the dryer. What you may not know is that you also reduce your energy expenditure in the process. Yes, it is work to hang the clothes to dry. But the overall time spent doing laundry diminishes when you hang one or two loads out of a three-load laundry day. For example, when I wash three loads of clothes and hang two loads to dry, I finish my laundry in 105 minutes. If I put all three loads in the dryer, I finish my laundry in 165 minutes (30 minutes for the wash cycle and 45 minutes for each dry cycle). Ultimately, hanging laundry to dry gives me a free hour. The time spent folding and putting away is essentially the same whether you put the clothes in the dryer or hang them up; you just have to put them away the next day if you hang them to dry. I use folding racks and dry the laundry inside my apartment, so a yard and clothes line are not necessary. I usually dry sheets and towels in the dryer.
2. Remove Your Name and Address from Mailing Lists. Create a file in your file cabinet called “Catalogs,” so when you need to order something you can reference it and go online. Then, go crazy unsubscribing. Not only does this reduce the amount of paper wasted, but it saves time to not have to sort through so much mail. If you purchase something online, make sure they delete you immediately from their mailing list, which they may sell. This prevents you from receiving catalogs from other people you are not interested in. If you purchase theater/music/dance tickets, ask to be deleted from the mailing list and instead go online to check the schedules. If you subscribe to a magazine, ask to be taken off of the mailing list. I can let my mail pile up for about a week now, and then it takes 10 minutes to go through.
3. Clean The Air You Breathe: There are a few ways to do this. The first method does not cost anything: Open Up. By opening up the windows of your home, you allow the chemicals in the air from fabrics, etc., to escape your home and allow oxygen to come in. If you have allergy or asthma issues in the home, you may want to invest in the second method: an air filter to remove dust particles and/or animal dander from the air. HEPA air filters are highly recommended by many physicians and have an excellent reputation. The outer charcoal filters on these units can also remove odors and chemicals from the air for the times when you are painting a room in your home or under construction. Finally, are you a green thumb? Buy some houseplants that grow fresh air. Read “How To Grow Fresh Air” for guidance.
4. Clean the Water You Drink and Bathe In: This may cost a little bit of money, but the results are worth it. Purchase a filter for your shower head to filter the chlorine out of your water. You skin and hair often feels much softer with filtered water. Once the filter is attached, you can just replace the inner cartridge from time to time. One of the most reputable and cost-effective ones is the Rainshower shower head. They also make a bath ball that can be swished around in your bath water. There is no shortage of water purification or filtration systems on the market. The choices can be overwhelming. The important thing to do is to ask around and then choose one. You might choose one that is not too expensive to see how you like it. The Aqua-Sauna is one that is highly recommended for it’s filtration capacity and low price. It also has an inner filter that needs to be changed annually or bi-annually depending on how many people live in the home.
5. BYOB (Bring your own box): When ordering food to go, try asking the restaurant to prepare the food on a plate “for here.” When you arrive you can slide it into a to-go box. Some containers cost much more than others. On the high end is a Sigg box that works well for this purpose. Glass Lock is a brand of oven safe glass containers that are more cost effective and also work well for storing and heating food. I recommend trying this with a restaurant that you may order from on a somewhat regular basis so they will become familiar with your request. After finishing your food at home you will be surprised at home much easier your evening will be without rinsing the to-go plates for the recycling bin and getting rid of the extraneous packaging. When I tried this tip that I learned from my friend Deborah Eden Tull, sustainability coach, I was surprised at how much easier my evening was. To-go packaging also quickly fills up the recycling bin so you then need to take it out side to the larger bin. Restaurants are not quite used to this request yet, but in time they may receive as many requests from people to use their own boxes as they to use their own to-go mugs. This change in consciousness begins with you! And yes, bring your own bag with your own box.
How are you going green in 2014?