Solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and riding a bike to work instead of driving are all pretty dramatic lifestyle changes for “going green.” Here are five simple ways to Go Green in 2013 that do not cost much extra money or time. If you are doing a few of these, maybe this is the time to challenge yourself to try the others on the list as well. Be patient with yourself as you change your habits.
1. Switch to Green Cleaning Products: You have to buy cleaning products (or make them) anyway, so choose “green.” Your health will benefit and you will probably need fewer items from the store. To make an easy transition, start by changing one product at a time. An easy one to try is distilled white vinegar, which can be diluted with water and used to clean glass, floors, mirrors, tile and more.
2. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag): Keep a stack of re-useable bags in your car and use them at the market, office supply store, and for any errands you have. If you are in a store and realize that you left the bags in the car, ask someone to watch your basket while you run and get it. Take some of the small mesh bags with you to the farmer’s market for your produce. Find a couple of re-useable bags that fold up into a tiny balls and take them with you when you travel. Soon, you will discover the efficiency of bringing your own shopping bags. You also save your energy by eliminating the clutter of organizing and storing bags.
3. Unplug when not recharging: Save energy by unplugging the chargers to your electrical devices when they are not in use – specifically, the laptop and smart phone items. It is so easy to leave the chargers plugged into the wall so it is quick to charge our laptop when we need it. But, this drains quite a bit of energy. Keep a storage box next to the outlet. When the gadgets are charged unplug the cables, coil them up and place them in the box. If you are motivated to explore more energy saving tips, you might explore purchasing a solar laptop charger.
4. Recycle, recycle, recycle: Paper, glass, electronics, etc. If you do not have one of the blue bins for recycling at your residence, contact the city and request one. Did your cell phone or laptop get replaced? Take the old one to an electronics recycling location. Our neighborhood market has an electronics recycling day once a month. You can pile those items up and just drop’em off! Organize your kitchen with a small bin for the garbage and a large bin for recycling. If you are ambitious, you might explore composting as a way to use the leftover food items that could instead nourish our soil.
Clean your floor often: Mop and vacuum your floor often to pick up some of the chemicals in your home environment. Harmful chemicals are used as the fire retardants in the foam that is used for upholstered furniture and even some baby products such as nursing pillows and changing pads. These potentially harmful chemicals quickly escape into the air and later settle as dust on the floor. Research is showing the negative effects of these chemicals, especially on the development of babies. If you have a baby at home it is highly recommended to clean your floor often since a lot of time is spent rolling and crawling during baby’s first year. It is also beneficial to develop a habit of taking your shoes off once you enter your home. The chemicals we pick up while walking around are then left outside the home.
What steps are you taking to save money, time, and energy this year? Link up your frugal living and money saving posts below!