Waste Less: 10 Painless Ways To Get Green
There are times when saving money can be next to impossible. The same goes with making more money. But everyone can waste less, and thereby save money in the big picture.
For me, I truly want to leave a smaller carbon footprint. In this day and age, retailers make it really hard to achieve. In the first place, packaging is ridiculously over engineered.
Do you really need potatoes pre-washed and wrapped in aluminum foil? Then there's the packaging on everything from tools to batteries that demands you burst a blood vessel when removing the molded plastic housing.
Here are some ways I try to fight back.
• Buy in bulk. If you buy in bulk not only is there less packaging, sometimes there is no packaging. Always make sure that whatever you buy in bulk can be used up quickly or repackaged and stored for later use.
• Go paperless. This is still hard for me to do, but I've since become pretty adept at filing important documents electronically. Scan and store receipts, invoices, and instructions. I have a folder on my desktop specifically for such files. Need I say, also BACK UP your files on a jump drive or external hard drive.
• Compost. If you garden, start a compost pile. You will thank me in a year. It's black gold. Don't forget, hair clippings, coffee grounds, and the dust from your vacuum cleaner are perfect for the compost heap.
• Reduce your dependence on paper goods. This includes napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery, and paper towels. Learn to rely on rags for cleaning, linen napkins, and washable dishware and cutlery.
• Walk more. If you live in a normal neighborhood (not like where I live) do your grocery shopping locally. Walk your dog or jog to the neighborhood park.
• Bundle your errands. One of the best things we do to save money and stay green is to limit our driving. If we go into town (which is an easy 30 minute drive one way) we never go unless we have two or more errands to run on the same day. It might not make as great an impact if you're only driving five minutes, but every little bit helps.
• Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Not only will your own bags be sturdier, but it'll save the environment from any more plastic bags. We do reuse some plastic bags from Walmart because they're sturdier than other grocery stores, but we much prefer our own bags.
• Reuse water. This is a big deal for me. I don't waste water. If I know there's going to be a lot of rain in the forecast, I make sure my wheelbarrows and buckets are there to receive it, then I reuse it on my plants. Same goes for pasta or potato water.
• Invest in a water filter. They're easy to install on your faucet. We drink a lot of water. Instead of buying bottled water, we drink our filtered water.
• Borrow instead of buy. This is where Greg and I are at odds. He doesn't like borrowing things. He'd rather own them outright. So if you happen to live near us and need a specific tool, you'd be in luck knowing us. :)
• Bonus Tip: Buy used. I have a nice home with lots of nice decorative items and high dollar furniture. Except for mattresses and sofas, nearly 90% of what I own has been bought at garage sales, thrift stores, and auctions. Buying used is the best tip for leaving a greener world.
Can you add anything to the list? What's your favorite way to live a little greener?