Low-Maintenance Tips for Going Green

August 13, 2008 at 12:41 am (Green, Tips) (, , )

photo by victor_nuno (flickr)

photo by victor_nuno (flickr)

Over the summer, I developed a newfound urge and interest in trying to be as frugal and as green as I can. Pursuing this lifestyle was intended not only to save money and the environment (but definitely great bonuses!) but to stop myself from producing so much waste.

Er … let me rephrase that.

We live in a society where resources are taken for granted. Going green is more than some treehugging movement, it can also be quite the mental refreshment. Retreating to a minimalist, conscious lifestyle has bestowed in me a sense of mental clarity and peace to alow me to focus on more important things. It also empowers me to know that I am doing things to reduce polluting our air, water, and land.

The thing that made me hesitate to go green as first (even though I was always worried about thestate of the environment) was that it seemed to be expensive and it seemed to be a hassle. It’s actually nowhere near as tedious as I’d thought.

So I thought that I would give you guys some tips on how to be less wasteful:

The Lazy List: Requiring little to no effort

  • Staying at home. This is probably the best tip because I save gas, saved money *on* gas, saved money on impulse Starbucks drinks, and became more creative at home.
  • Turning off the shower when you are not using it. I try my best to take “navy showers”– get in, wash hair, soap up, and get out. While I am leaving the hair conditioner in my hair,  turn off the water and soap myself up and shave my legs, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much water you save!
  • Buy Clorox GreenWorks Cleaners. It’s biodegradeable, it smells great, and it actually works extremely well. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be as potent as other chemical cleaners but I was proven quite wrong! 🙂
  • Reusing paper towels. Don’t be gross, of course. I’m not taking about wiping up a Kool-Aid spill and then reusing it later; whenever I wash my hands or wipe off condensation from my water bottle or whatnot with paper towels, I hang it up to dry for a second use. Sometimes, I use them three or four times, even! This tip probably makes me happiest because I can see it prolong the life of a roll of paper towels and that I am thorughly utilizing them.
  • Use vinegar & baking soda. Pardon me if this makes me sound like Miss Suzie Homemaker but vinegar and baking soda are amazingly useful for countless things and will replace the need for chemical cleaners, deoderizers, and disinfectant.
  • Buy lots of underwear. An obvious way to conserve water and energy is to wait until you have a full load to do your laundry. You may be able to wear a shirt twice or thrice before washing it (Again, be reasonable; don’t be gross!), but there is no way you can re-wear a pair of underwear. Even if you still have clothes to wear, if you run out of underwear, you’re going to need to take a trip to the washing machine. Buy a lot of underwear so you can delay laundry day until you really need it!
  • BYOB: Bring your own bag. In France and Germany, stores don’t have plastic bags at all! Seeing shopping carts overflowing with globs of plastic bags makes me twitch; its only purpose is to transport things home and when it’s over, they flood landfills and take a long time to biodegrade.  Stores now sell these reuseable bags for cheap and carry three times more stuff, yet people still don’t advantage of this. the only bit of effort required is actually remembering to bring these bags along. I keep mine in the car! 🙂
  • Germ-X for the win! Place a bottle of hand sanitizer at the sink to use after the bathroom. It takes less time and it wastes less water.
  • Wash and re-use ziploc bags. I’m not sure why people are so resistant to this idea but it saves the bags and it saves money. People are weird, I guess! (check out this cute, quick DIY ziploc bag dryer!)

It’s Not *So* Bad: Requiring moderate effort

  • Recycle! Obvious tip but important nonetheless. I don’t have a recycling service but I toss my paper, aluminum, and plastic products into my recycling bins under my workstation and when I pass by my school, I take it in and toss it into their recycling bins. If you don’t want to pay for a service, find out where you can recycle your stuff. Or find a friend who has a service and see if they wouldn’t mind sharing. If it’s still difficult, just collect paper to recycle. Recycle bins for paper are easier to find; try Kinko’s or your school or even your workplace.
  • Take your clothes outside. Hang up a clothesline or buy a drying rack for your clothes and air-dry them! if you are worried about getting wrinkles, follow this tip from Frugal Dad and dry them until they are just damp enough for a quick tumble-dry cycle in the dryer. Toss in a dryer sheet for that fresh smell. ❤
  • Transform your stuff. There are so many DIY, craft, and homemaking sites out there with ideas on how to reuse household items. Some ideas? Use an unused CD as a coaster. Use empty paper towel rolls to store extension cables. Use a tissue box as a plastic bag dispenser. For starters, check out the magazine Real Simple. Each issue, they feature “New Uses for Old Things.” there are always some awesome ideas in there. Plus, it’s an incredible creativity challenge.

Going green isn’t just good for the environment but it’s good for your well-being. being more conscious of how to use your resources most effectively will help you save money, be creative, and be less materialistic and wasteful. 😀


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