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?


  1. I'm already doing most of the above. I guess I'm on the right track. :D

  2. We do a lot of these already, so that's a step in the right direction!

    The biggest money-saver on there for us is public transportation. My husband works in the city, and we live about half an hour away. If he were to drive instead of taking the train, he'd have to pay $20/day to park, plus the cost of gas. His train ticket is something like $130 for the entire month.

    1. Long live public transportation! This is a good example of when it really is in help of people!

  3. Great list Sonya:) I am doing most of it, except for drying my clothes on the line (which I do in the Spring/Summer months, but not in Winter) and growing my own food (I don't have the land for it right now). Gave a shout out to your blog and knitting squares today on my blog:):)

  4. although we do alot of these, it's good to be reminded.

  5. Thanks Sonya....AGAIN!!! I can't tell you how much I apprecite your commitment to green living and for the great reminders and information you make available for those of us who are committing to green living. I followed the link to the "my plastic free life" blog and was blown away by both the commitment and possibilities...it really got me excited and scared...I had a mild heart attack when she said recycling plastic is not the answer...GAD ZUKES...now THAT would be a real challange for me as I buy in bulk...no need to rethink my plan to be plastic free.
    Upping the anny to reduce my carbon foot print! You are AWESOME!

    1. Yes, Julia, isn't Beth from My Plastic-free life just amazing and such a great example for all of us! Can you imagine if most of us had her determination!

      Thanks for your words of appreciation!

  6. Wonderful tips - I am definitely guilty of a few of these. I LOVE paper towels so that is one thing I could use less of. I am also terrible about using water - I love a hot bath. My husband turns off the water while he soaps up - he is so good! Great reminder to try and do better for the environment.

    Have a great Monday - Brandi

    1. You know Brandi, that thing with the bathroom - it's a problem of mine too. That is why I keep on writing about it :)

  7. These are all such great tips Sonya and you hit the heart of the matter...the green label. Anyone can put green or eco-friendly on their product without it meaning anything. There are so many things that we don't need. The green label makes us feel less guilty for buying the same things we always did instead of trying to do without. Warming us up for simple living aren't you! :)

    1. I've noticed quite a few companies doing exactly this, especially the ones who sell cosmetics!

      You got it just right! It is time for a warm up, isn't it! (I can't seem to hide anything from your watchful eye!)

  8. This is great advice--our city just decided to ban plastic bags, in fact you have to buy a paper/cloth bag for 15 cents at the store, and it's interesting to see how quickly people are catching on.

    1. Yes, it is great that the city can do something about it. And well, most of the people will follow the trend out of necessity or lack of other choices :)

  9. Haha, we write/print on the backs of paper, avoid plastic when possible (except when the other choice is styrofoam, in which case we go with the plastic!); Mom makes most of our cleaning and beauty products, we turn off the lights when we're not in a room, we unplug most appliances when we're not using them, we don't leave the water running while we brush our teeth, we line dry, and most years we have a garden!! And the best part is, we do all those things, and most of them have just become habit. And that's the way to live a green life - make the small things habit!! :D

    Fantastic tips, Sonya!!

  10. Thanks for reminding, Sonya! We do a lot of it, but we need to pay more attention to our footprint. We do have our small herb garden, and we pay attention to our electricity usage, but things like plastic and water need to be reconsidered - thanks for the link, it helps to see how other people do it!

  11. Lots of good practical tips, thank you for the reminder! I would love to have a big garden, that we could live off of all year around, but I have no space or sun in my yard. I do grow tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in containers where ever I can get a peek of sun.
    Everyday Inspired

  12. Great post Sonya, living green really doesn't have to be hard and it's important to point that out to people. In fact it slows down my life in a lot of ways, perhaps living green is as much a state of mind as it is a lifestyle. Having so many animals means paper towels are a must here, but I can use them without the guilt, recycled paper towels are available everywhere now! :) I found a fabulous seed company this year and have a whole box of organic seeds waiting to be planted in that rich, spring soil. Oh how I love walking out to the garden to pick fresh veggies for lunch... :)

  13. I understand the green concept that is written here. For people who rent sometimes these are green ideas can not be used. Let me explain- I live in a mobile home park that you are not ALLOWED to hang clothes outside,you're not allowed to dig up the lot for a garden,the windows are so thin that my electric bill is off the roof.If you want to use the hot water in the shower ,you have to let it run for at least 4 minutes before the water turns hot,same thing in the kitchen sink.Any ideas?I'll be so glad when we move!

    1. We sometimes meet obstacles that are supposed to make us better persons, to appreciate some little things we haven't noticed so far, or to teach us something. I understand the situation you are in and wish you to move and live life as closer to your ideals as possible. Until then, do as much as you can with what you have! At least you don't have a mortgage to pay and are free to move anywhere!