Going Green Series: Choose your first step and save money.

Going green for many people means expensive food, expensive hybrid cars, expensive organic cotton, basically an expense that most can’t afford. Those things can be part of some families’ choices to have less of an impact onGoing Green Series the environment, but truthfully the best options to go green are really those that save us money and resources while saving the planet.

Anything that will be healthier for your family, the environment, and your wallet all at the same time is what I would suggest as a first step toward a greener lifestyle on the whole. The hard part will be to narrow it down. Hopefully you have already been thinking about what is most important to you from yesterday’s post and you are ready!

TOP TEN FIRST STEPS FOR GOING GREEN:

  1. Save Energy. Take a good look at your home and your lifestyle. Where can there be energy savings? Surely you will be able to find something. Start by turning off anything not in use and go from there.
  2. Walk, Bike, or Ride More. Drive Less. Whenever possible, eliminate extra trips in the car. Depending on the situation choose to walk, bike, or take public transportation instead. It may require planning, but is healthier for all.
  3. Conserve Water. Amazingly to some, clean and drinkable water is becoming a scarce resource and will continue to become scarcer in the hot, dry regions unless we all commit to conservation. Think of any time when water is running unnecessarily and turn off the faucets!
  4. Ditch the Bottled Water. The bottled water industry makes billions of dollars every year by selling what is essentially tap water (although tap water is actually subject to stricter standards for safety) in varying sizes of plastic bottles. Bottled water is not healthier and requires an enormous amount of energy, fuel, and resources to support the industry.
  5. Green Your Clean. You spend a lot of time in your home and if you have kids or pets, they spend a lot of time exploring with hands, feet, and mouths. The last thing you want is for them (or you) to be exposed to toxic chemicals through your cleaning products.
  6. Reduce Consumption. Simply put, buy less. At that basic level, this may sound easy, yet when put into practice it can be exceedingly difficult (especially in our consumer-based society). There are numerous reasons that buying unnecessary things can be harmful to the environment, but considering that most Americans don’t save enough money as it is may be an equally persuasive argument.
  7. Buy Safe Personal Care Products. From shampoo to lotion to makeup, the personal care industry has everything we think we need to make ourselves smell, look, and feel good. However most conventional products contain ingredients that are linked to cancer and other major health problems. Learning about what ingredients are safe and which are not takes practice and patience, but is well worth it in the end!
  8. Recycle More. Hopefully everyone recycles the basics, but if not then this is a great time to start. Luckily more and more cities are offering curbside recycling to make this easier. For those items that can’t be recycled curbside, look at what facilities your area has to be able to make sure they don’t end up in a landfill.
  9. Compost. This is really just another way to recycle, but you get to reap the rewards! Turn your kitchen scraps, newspaper, and yard debris into the best soil for your yard and garden.
  10. Choose Organic, Local, and Sustainable Food. When starting out it may seem that you must buy everything organic. While that may be ideal, it is certainly not practical or necessary for every family. Sometimes it may be just as healthy and cheaper to buy locally grown and/or sustainable, even if it doesn’t have that organic label. Perhaps even grown in your own backyard without toxic pesticides! When shopping for fresh produce, learn about the Dirty Dozen and choose to shop conscientiously.

Choose one and start with the obvious changes, then watch for new Going Green Series posts that go into more detail for each.

Which will you tackle first? If you are more seasoned, which would you suggest others to work on first?


Comments

Going Green Series: Choose your first step and save money. — 24 Comments

  1. Great post! You got all the big ones I swear by — #6 pretty much sums it up. I think of going green as an attitude adjustment, sometimes a fairly drastic one, to consider all of our actions in the light of their environmental impact. Once that becomes habit, it leads to all sorts of other questions and (eventually) better choices. I’ve made one very modest resolution so far: no more tea bags with their boxes, tags, and bags. I’m switching to loose leaf tea, bought in bulk, for good.
    Jennifer @noteasy2begreen recently posted..San Jose Bans Plastic Bags

    • I agree that #6 would be wonderful if everyone could just consume less – simple! I think that if we can consume less while reducing the waste even from that minimal amount it would be even better. Waste from transporting goods halfway around the world, waste from packaging, toxic waste from unnecessary pesticides and other chemicals… that would truly be a great thing to see.

  2. I liked that you posted about the concern over using toxic chemicals when cleaning… I made the really stupid and obvious mistake of using bleach cleaner to clean my shower and tub yesterday without the fan on, without gloves on, and with gregarious amounts of bleach… I felt so ill, and couldn’t finish cleaning the rest of the bathroom after putting myself through that bleached hell for an hour. There are greener ways to clean, and I have 7th Gen. products and other alternatives, but I feel the same way as others when I clean with them; that they don’t SMELL toxic so, of course, they can’t be doing a good job. *Face/Palm*

  3. After reading one of the posts from yesterday’s Carnival of Natural Parenting, we are going to attempt turning our hot cycle into a cold cycle when we wash our cloth diapers (gasp!). Supposedly, the hot isn’t hot enough to kill bacteria anyway, so it’s just a waste of energy. I’m hesitant, but willing to give it a shot!

    • That is a great one to try! It can be so hard for people to trust the cold cycle, but it is so worth it. That and line drying when possible!

      I know that Seventh Generation’s detergent even promotes using cold water. Not sure if the claim is correct about the formula made specifically to work well in cold water, but I don’t believe it is the best for cloth diapers anyway. Which detergent do you use?

  4. Living a luxury life will definitely work for you, specially now that were facing great economical recession. Things might get out of your control once you indulge yourself on this kind of living not unless if you were really born rich and everything seems just at the pick of your hands.
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