Getting serious about going green can be difficult at times and sometimes requires us to get a little less comfortable. But other changes can be easier and don't require much of an adjustment at all. Here are 10 suggestions for simple changes you can make to get greener now:
- Plant a fall garden, or even just one thing that's edible. What to plant and when varies depending on where you live, so if you aren't sure, try this interactive map from Mother Earth News. Just click the appropriate link to the right of the map and then click the month you want to plant for a list of seeds you should sow now.
- Buy local food. Go to the nearest farmer's market and save money by asking for seconds (the slightly less than perfect specimens of fruits and veggies). Be sure to ask where it was grown because many booths will have food that was shipped from other states. While you're there, look for milk, eggs, or pastured meats, too.
- Freeze your leftovers. Too much food ends up in landfills that are already overcrowded. Save money too if you buy and cook larger quantities of meat, then slice and freeze the leftovers for sandwiches, soups, pastas and more. Leftover veggies can be frozen for a later pot of vegetable soup.
- Re-use glass containers. Larger pickle and jelly jars make great canisters or use them to store buttons, loose change, kitchen utensils, etc. Smaller jars and bottles can be used as drinking glasses or portable water bottles. Even smaller containers can be re-used for dried herbs and spices or those miscellaneous screws and things that you find in your husband's dirty pants pockets.
- Plant ivy. Use less electricity in the summer by planting ivy around the foundation of your house. It will block hot sunlight and keep your home cooler.
- Use the water while you wait for it to heat up. When you wash your face or shower, you let the water run till it's hot, right? Brush your teeth while you wait. Or capture some of the water in an old milk jug to water plants later. Get inventive with this one!
- As the nights get cooler this fall, turn your ceiling fans on reverse. They will push the rising warm air downward and keep you comfy without turning up the thermostat.
- Stop junk mail. Register online at OptOutPrescreen.com to stop receiving unsolicited credit and insurance offers. You can choose to opt out for 5 years or forever. Stop unwanted catalogs by signing up at CatalogChoice.org.
- Plug your electronics into power strips. Those electronics and chargers are drawing electricity even when not in use. This is called phantom energy. By turning off the switch on the power strip when they are not in use, you stop the flow!
- Switch to CFL light bulbs. You don't have to switch all at once, which would be expensive and wasteful. As bulbs blow, replace them with CFLs, which use less electricity to put out the same amount of light. These bulbs cost a little more but, in addition to saving you money on the power bill, they also last longer, which means you purchase fewer bulbs in the long run and put less garbage in the landfills.
For more ideas on how to go green without going crazy, check out the previous list of 10 Easy Ways to Get Greener Now. If you have your own easy ideas to share or any other comments, please leave them below. I always love hearing what you have to say!