Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ten ways to be green while saving green

It is a shame how often people thing that being green and being frugal are mutually exclusive - they're not! In and out of the kitchen, we can be better stewards to our earth and keep that green in your wallet. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

  1. Skip bottled water: bottled water is creating an enormous amount of trash, takes fuel to produce and transport and is often just tap water anyway. I have a stainless steel bottle that I tote everywhere.
  2. Wash clothes using cold water they get just as clean and significantly reduce your energy used while running the machine. You also don't have to sort clothes into different colors as using cold water reduces color bleeding.
  3. Hang clothes to dry - saves electricity and cost of drier sheets. It really doesn't take that long. Added winter bonus? As the clothes dry, they are adding humidity to the dry air in your home.
  4. Use cloth napkins all the time - not just for special occasions. Paper towels cost 1-3 bucks per roll and can only be used once. They're also not doing anything for your mealtime ambiance.
  5. Skip the plastic wrap and use a pot to store bread, muffins and bagels. Plastic wrap can cost $2-4 per roll.
  6. Make coffee at home and carry in a reusable mug or jar. Add spices to keep it interesting.
  7. Cook at home and pack your lunch. You save on food costs and packaging and it is usually healthier to boot. If you're a kitchen newbie, start small, take risks and don't be discouraged. We've all had our kitchen disasters!
  8. Cereal Killer Muffins
  9. Re-purpose food instead of throwing it away. Stale cereal can be used to make Cereal Killer Muffins and stale bread is easily turned into bread crumbs.
  10. Eat lower on the food chain. Beef is easily 4 or 5 times as expensive as beans. Conventionally raised beef is devastating for the environment - choosing meatless meals lowers your carbon "plate-print". If eating meat, look for animals that are raised responsibly and are fed grass - that is what cows are supposed to eat and they're healthier for it. Check out Meatless Monday for recipe inspiration and more information. 
  11. Use two wheels - The benefits of traveling by bike are endless, but better focus in school and at work, less dependance on oil, not needing a gym membership and rethinking unnessary trips and purchases (do I really want to carry that home on a bike?) are a few.

It is easy to get caught in the trap of feeling overwhelmed with wanting to make too many changes at once, or worse, feeling like what you're doing doesn't matter: it does! Do what you can and build from there.

 Reader Poll: What is your best tip for being green and saving green?

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  1. When you cook for yourself, you know what's in your food. When my wife and I eat in restaurants, our wedding rings tighten up afterward, from the enormous, horrible amounts of salt in restaurant food! Eating home-cooked food is the way to go!


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