Simple Tips for Green Living – Colette Boylan

ColletteThroughout the past few years, the prominence in which environmentalism has taken within our daily lives cannot be easily disputed. Reusable materials, such as grocery bags and coffee mugs, run abundant and recycling cans stand more evident throughout businesses and streets than ever. “Being green”, as many have come to term this way of life, has made its stay within our society.

Although these environmentally friendly choices have become so present within our society, the process of switching over to a wholly green lifestyle seems to many as a daunting procedure. The choices that some businesses or individuals have taken in becoming greener has required them to invest in new alternative technologies with high start-up prices or make drastic changes to their current routines. In the time of a national recession in which individuals and families consider each dollar spent, the mere thought of spending extra funds on lifestyle changes based on the principle of environmental ethics seems, well… unnecessary.

Contrary to popular belief, taking the step towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle does not need to require frightening shopping receipts or a complete turn-around of a standard way of life.  A shocking realization to some, individuals and families can actually save money in making some simple changes throughout their household and daily life rather than spending excess funds.

The changes one can make towards a green lifestyle appears to be endless and overwhelming when reviewing books, blogs, and other websites. No need to fret, though: below is a list of some easy tips that individuals and families can make in order to simplify their lives and live a healthier lifestyle for themselves and the environment.

Use alternative cleaning materials.

BlogPicture1Dish soap, laundry detergent, hand soap, household cleaning supplies… these days we have an overwhelming selection of cleaning products all with specific tasks. Add these products together and soon enough you will have quite the cleaning supply bill in front of you and an excess of materials.

Instead of buying a myriad of cleaning products, try making them at home or buying multi-purpose products. Cleaning products such as “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps” or “Dr Wood’s Soaps” that have a plant base such as castile are not only environmentally friendly, but can often be diluted for extensive use over a long period of time. These soaps can be used for household cleaning on items such as dishes, countertops, and floors and can additionally function as shampoo or soap for personal hygiene.

If you’re looking to be even more economical with your cleaning supplies, make use of items such as baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda is a powerful odor neutralizer around the house than can help rid odors in our refrigerator, carpet, and appliances such as sinks, ovens, and countertops. As a bacteria and mold killer, vinegar is one of the best of its kinds. Use distilled white vinegar on your hands, bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else throughout the house as a great germ-killing cleaning product.

cbcellUnplug electronics when not in use

Take one glance around your house, and you can often find a myriad of electronics. Even when an electric appliance is not in use, electricity continues to flow to the appliance causing your household to waste electricity and have higher electricity prices. Shutting down your computer, unplugging your coffee maker, toaster, and other appliances can help maintain a low consumption of electricity in your household while additionally lowering your electric bill and helping you save money.

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Keep a houseplant

Believe it or not, plants inside of your house have more advantages than just looking pretty. Having plants around your home can help filter the air in your house and keep it free of a variety of pollutants, such as formaldehyde. Keeping several plants throughout the house, such as flowers and herbs, is a simple solution to maintaining a fresh, healthy, and environmentally friendly living space and can help save on the cost of buying air fresheners for your home.

Use cold water when using your washing machine

By switching to cold water when washing clothes and other items, your household can save up to 80% on the energy it would typically used or its laundry cycle with warm or hot water while also saving money on your electricity bill each month. If the weather works in your favor, you can take your energy-saving actions to the dryer as well and hang your clothes outside – this can help save additional money on your electric bill while also saving up to 700 pounds of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere each year which, in excess, can cause our planet’s climate to increase.

cbsaltMake the most out of what’s in your salt shaker.

Although used primarily as a seasoning, simple table salt has a surprising amount of special powers that can be used throughout your household and daily life. Here is a short list of some of its many applications that can contribute to your eco-friendly lifestyle:

  • Sprinkling salt on greasy stovetops and dishes and wiping them down with a damp sponge is a simple way to eliminate unnecessary water and dish soap usage.
  • A mixture of lemon juice and salt can act as a cleaner for counter tops, computer screens and keys, and other hard surfaces around the house.
  • Instead of buying toothpaste, a mixture of salt and baking soda can act as a low-cost alternative for brushing teeth.
  • To remove stains on your carpet add a small mound of salt on top of the stain and let sit for a about an hour before wiping away the salt.
  • Stained glasses, coffee pots, and other kitchen items be cleaned by being soaked in salt water.

This short list of green tips is just an introduction to the fascinating world of eco-friendly living. The money that can be saved by making these simple changes to your lifestyle and the affect in which your individual contribution can have upon the environment is immense. If you are interested in finding additional tips or recipes to further enhance your green lifestyle, take a look at these online resources or books for more information:

Websites:
http://mygreenside.org/
http://www.realsimple.com/
http://www.dailyecotips.com/
http://globalstewards.org/ecotips.htm

Books:
Easy Green Living by Renee Loux
The Lazy Environmentalist by Josh Dorfman
It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living by Crissy Trask

 

At High Trails Outdoor Science School, we literally force our instructors to write about elementary outdoor education, teaching outside, learning outside, our dirty classroom (the forest…gosh), environmental science, outdoor science, and all other tree hugging student and kid loving things that keep us engaged, passionate, driven, loving our job, digging our life, and spreading the word to anyone whose attention we can hold for long enough to actually make it through reading this entire sentence. Whew…. www.dirtyclassroom.com

 

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