Monday, April 12, 2010

Going Green...maybe.

So yesterday I watched the documentary No Impact Man, about a family in New York that decided to make no net impact on the earth for one year. This was part of an experiment to decide what we are able to give up and still have a good quality of life.
I loved it.

Every 8-9 months I go through periods of extreme green dedication. I try to be as green as possible, my biggest complaint? Why does being green have to cost $o much? Since it's been on my mind today, I've been doing a little research about ways to save money, and save the environment.
  • Compact Florescent light bulbs.

Compact Florescent light bulbs last up to 10 times longer and consume way less electricity. some estimates say that these can save up to $80 over the life of the bulb. Of course you have to balance that with the additional cost of the bulb. Overall, an average savings of $50-70. Not bad.

  • Give away Junk (electronics). Recycling old cell phones, key boards etc. can help reduce a lot of waste, and it will help reduce clutter in your home as well. This website will suggest places close by where you can take your unwanted electronics. I generally give mine to Goodwill, but people who purchase them there are likely to just throw them away if they don't work. I'd much rather have them reused.
  • Compost. I know it sounds gross, but even if you don't garden you can compost your biodegradables and work them into flower beds... or just the dirt, anyway. This can be tricky if you live in an apartment... and honestly, not worth it (to me, anyway). It's great for the soil and reduces waste. Plus, you'll save money on fertilizer!
  • Let your grass grow.

When you mulch your grass, or put the clippings back into your lawn it adds nitrogen back into the grass, keeps weeds from growing so you'll need less fertilizer and weed killer. Also- you won't have to throw grass away, reducing overall waste.
  • Full loads of laundry. I'm guilty of this occasionally. If I spill something on my clothes I immediately run to the laundry room and strip. This is not efficient. Wait, until you have a full load- or round up clothes from around the house to fill the laundry machine. If you wash your clothes with cold water...saving even more!
  • Change your linens out with the seasons. During the winter use flannel sheets and lots of blankets (heating uses more energy than cooling), and during the summer change to lighter bed linens and a light coverlet and then maybe keep the windows open (on the shade side of the house, of course).
  • Pack a lunch. When you go out to eat you contribute to huge amounts a waste- especially lunch items that are typically to-go (Subway, McDonalds). Instead pack a lunch and reuse your plastic bag. This saves the enviornment and the money it costs to eat out ($30-50/wk, yikes!)
  • Buy Used! I love antiques so this one is kind of a perk! Anytime you buy something used your net impact on the enviornment is almost zero, the damage has already been done.
  • Toilet Paper, can't help myself. Are you a four sheet person or a ten sheet person? Girls are the worst about this! If you're a ten sheet person just think, you spend less than half of what you're spending on TP, save the environment by reducing waste and conserving trees....just sayin'
Of course buying local, biking and going organic are all good ideas, but not very practical. Sure if you're going somewhere close by, try to bike or take public transportation... but local and organic foods are just too pricey. Until they can find away to make these more affordable, Wal-mart will have to do. I would, however, be happy to buy cereal from bulk bends- if only they tasted good~

1 comment:

  1. Have you heard of what the problem is when the compact flourescent bulbs burn out too fast? We have been using them in the house and I have had to replace some of them twice - and we have only been in the house 4 years! No one I have asked seems to know whey they would burn out so fast, though there is some speculation about the wiring of the light fixture.

    I like being green too - this problem is perplexing me though.