With Earth Day being this week, it got me thinking about how J and I live environmentally. It can seem daunting, going an extra step in already busy lives; but when I looked at how we are “green” I realized it isn’t that much more effort. Since we moved, I’ve been in major simplify mode. De-cluttering, giving away clothes I haven’t worn in a year, throwing away old papers, etc. I’ve noticed, also, that with the simplify mode comes a desire to frugal, to be more environmentally-thoughtful with our every day choices. Here are my top 5 ways to be thoughtful of the environment, to ‘go green’ as they say…
1. Keep a garden. J and I are super excited to plan and grow an herb garden [mint, cilantro, basil, etc] in our backyard. I’ve also been brainstorming other vegetables we could grow in our space — tomatoes? Do you have a garden? What do you grow?
2. Limit the amount of plastic bags you use for grocery store produce. J doesn’t like to use the plastic produce bags used for things like apples, lemons, avocados, etc, and I like that. They just get thrown away the second the produce goes into the refrigerator, so why waste it?
3. Don’t let the faucet run unnecessarily. I think of this when I’m brushing my teeth or doing dishes. When I don’t have my toothbrush under the faucet, I turn the water off. And when we have a lot of dishes to do, we fill up one side of our sink with soapy water, only using the faucet to rinse off the soap. It may not seem like a huge change, but when done daily, I think it adds up for the better.
4. Do what you can online. Many of our bills are paperless, meaning we pay as much as we can online, to eliminate the extra use of envelopes that will always end up in the trash. This also can save money on postage! According to a study by Carnegie Melon’s Green Institute, shopping online reduced carbon emissions by 35 percent.
5. Invest in a nice water bottle. Over 80 percent of plastic water bottles are tossed—not recycled—yielding 1.5 tons of waste per year, according to Mother Nature Network. I have a Nalgene I like to use, and of course my 24oz Tervis gets a lot of use.
6. Recycle. The more obvious one probably. We have a big plastic container we put with our trash can that’s picked up each week. This is easy and convenient for us, and we’ve tried to stay on top of it. The company I work for does a great job with this also, providing two different trash cans for plastic and metal cans.