30 January 2012

10 Simple Ways to Go Green

Going green is not something that requires extra energy or efforts. In fact, it embodies a straightforward philosophy of life that can be applied to any person living anywhere in the world. While some of us naturally live a greener life, others need to make a deliberate effort at greening but hey, it is neither hard, nor scary.

Green has become something of a universal password bound to make consumers buy whatever products have the green/organic/eco-friendly label. But when you come to think of it, over-consumption is what got us here so why not put buying aside and concentrate on frugality for a change.

Here are several steps you can take along your green journey that will not only help you save the planet but some cash too.

Walk more, drive less
If you can walk or bicycle to work, why not do it? It is good exercise, gives you a couple of minutes to get in the mood and it's free. Add to that zero emissions and it tops the list.

Use public transport or carpool
Not all of us are lucky enough to live close to work, so in the cases when you have no other choice but to travel, use public transport or join a carpool. Both options save you money and reduce carbon emissions.

Reconsider your attitude to paper
You can stop printing in the first place. I recently stumbled upon a blogger giving frugality advice that was recommending printing them out. It is my opinion that trying to write things down or saving them on the Internet to have easy access from virtually anywhere is more environmentally responsible apart from being frugal.

Reuse paper. Ever since I remember myself we've been reusing paper pprinted on one side. It is easy to shred sheets of paper and use them for little notes or big ideas.

Oh yes... and give up paper towels. Most of thhe times you can do the job even better with the help of a cotton cloth that can eb washed and reused for a long time.

Avoid plastic
Anywhere, anytime think of what you are buying. If there is an option, go for the non-plastic pack. Watch your trash and sort your plastic for recycling but more importantly try to use less of it. Visit Beth Terry's website My Plastic-free Life to learn more about the consequences of plastic, and to follow her journey on reducing the amount of her plastic trash. Weaning off plastic is a fundamental green deed that can save the lives of a number of marine animals and birds.

Reconsider cleaning products and cosmetics
For every chemical out there, there is a natural replacement that works equally well or better but is not dangerous either for you or for the environment. If you take the time to learn and actually make your own cleaning products, soap and shampoo you will be saving a considerable amount of money and your health. Let's not forget that all chemicals that get washed away take the long journey from your home to the oceans, and settle in fish that we subsequently eat, so... whatever we do, we do it to ourselves (ignorance can't save us here).

Turn off the (energy saving) lights
Undoubtedly you should already be using energy saving bulbs or LEDs. If you are not, just buy some and change your old ones. Your wallet will thank you. Then, turn off the light when you leave the room. It will spare you even further on bulbs and energy bills.

Unplug appliances when not in use
Keeping your electronics plugged in standby not only adds up to your energy bill but also to the radiation in the house. Make sure you power them off completely to save you a substantial part of your energy bill.

Use less water
Take shorter showers, close the tap while you'r ebrushing your teeth, use bath water to water your plants - easy frugal ways to be green and earth-minded.

Dry your clothes on the line
The sun has the amazing quality to actually disinfect your clothes while they are drying. This is not only free and healthy but also green.

Grow your own food
The advantages are countless. You will know where your food comes from, you will have an emotional connection to what you are eating - something we all need, you will have an excuse for spending some time out. Even i you have the smallest of gardens or no garden at all, you can do this and make sure you eat healthy. The grow your food inside movement is in its swing right now because it helps people get back to nature even if they live in a small apartment.

The way I see it, green life is nothing more than simple, sensible life. We just need to get rid of what city life has instilled in us and keep our human roots even if we are to grow up and flourish in the grey concrete jungle.

What steps are you taking to make your life greener and how are they affecting your financial situation?