hover animation preload

Get Your Green On!
by Leigh in

Spring is here and it's not too late to get your green on!  As I prepare to plant my garden,  I find myself taking stock of the things I can do to be more green.  Here are a few ideas to green your daily routine:

Green your Laundry Routine
  1. Air dry your laundry and reduce your energy consumption.  An outdoor clothesline may not be possible for apartment dwellers or residents of a planned community with HOA (HomeOwners Association) bylaws.  Clothes drying racks, an indoor clothesline, or utilizing a drapery rod in a south or west facing window are great alternatives.  Check out the lingerie drying rack from The Container Store - with 12 plastic clips your undies and socks are easily hung from a shower curtain rod to air dry.  Close your bathroom door to capture the warmth when your furnace turns on to speed drying.  $ Added Bonus - your clothes will last longer.  
  2. Use environmentally friendly laundry detergent.  These "green" detergents are phosphate free and biodegradable.
  3. Lower the temperature and wash in cold water.  With the technological advances in machines and laundry detergents, cold water will get the job done.  If you are still hanging onto the idea that only hot water "sanitizes" your laundry, bump the dial up to the warm setting.  
  4. Wash only full loads.  The same amount of energy is used each and every time you turn on the washing machine.  If for some reason you absolutely can't fill a load, make sure you adjust your water level to the appropriate load size.

Green your Mailbox
  1. Go paperless for your bank statements and regularly occurring bills -- cable, electric, trash removal, etc.  Not only will you be greening your mailbox, you will be reducing your energy consumption as you no longer have that big bag of shredding to do.
  2. Eliminate catalogs, coupons and other junk mail.  Go to  www.dmachoice.com  and take your name off any and all mailing lists.  If you have bought merchandise from a specific retailer, you may have to call that retailer and ask to be removed from their mailing list.  The site does provide contact phone numbers for major retailers - set aside all the catalogs you get in a week and take thirty minutes one day and make all the calls.  $$ Added Bonus - money saved because your impulse buying triggers won't be activated by the false promises of catalog visual merchandising.

Green your Kitchen and Cleaning Routine
  1. Minimize the use of cleaning fluids and chemicals.  If having that lemon fresh pine scent is the only thing that convinces you your housekeeping is complete, make sure you are using environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.  Not sure which green cleaners work best?  Seventh Generation, ECOS - Earth Friendly Products, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, and Method are a few of the brands regularly cited in lists of environmentally friendly cleaning products.  The Green Guide at National Geographic has a video demonstrating the use of everyday pantry items like baking soda, white distilled vinegar, and lemon juice for your cleaning tasks.  Start small and make changes as your existing products run out.
  2. Green your cookware.  If you are like me, you probably replace your non-stick skillets about every five years.  It seems non-stick skillets (Teflon) all have a maximum heat point.  The coatings flake off from over heating or overuse.  Aluminum, stainless, copper and cast iron cookware are options to non-stick cookware, however, metal leaching is a possibility.  Well made ceramic cookware has been cited as a green alternative.  Check out Xtrema by Ceramcor or Mercola Healthy Chef Cookware.  To read user reviews, go to  Chowhound.com  and search for Xtrema and follow the discussion forum.  
  3. Green your utensils.  Plastic utensils are often made from petroleum derived plastics.  As the plastic gets scratched, heated and used, it can leach into your foods.  Bamboo utensils are a better option as they are manufactured from sustainable materials and are easy to clean.
  4. Use less paper and plastic.  Paper towels, a convenience that one can become addicted to, are huge generators of landfill waste.  Google the topic and you will find articles stating that nearly 3,000 tons of paper towel waste are added to landfills daily.  Try microfiber towels and cleaning cloths - not only will you be reducing your landfill footprint, but you will be saving money.  Microfiber cloths are super absorbent, dry quickly, and according to some fans, can be used for chemical free cleaning (the tiny fibers produce light and safe abrasion taking the place of chemical cleaning products).  I am currently trying out the SKOY clothes which are an eco friendly alternative to paper towels.  One SKOY cloth prevents fifteen rolls of paper towel going to a landfill.  Food storage is a big culprit to plastic usage - consider glass containers as an alternative.

    Making these changes to your everyday routines are easy ways to get your green on.  Going green becomes a matter of awareness; once you make a few changes and find out that it is easy and painless, you will start to think about greening other areas of your life.  Greening your landscape (using less water, growing vegetables), greening your personal care routine (seeking out non-petroleum based soaps and shampoos) and putting your electronics on a juice diet (eliminating phantom power consumption by using a power strip) will come naturally as you green your thinking and doing.  Heck, you might even find yourself opting for pedal powered transportation one day of the week!

    Have a green product you love or a tip to cut down on use of plastic?  Know of a good resource for green home renovation?  Join the conversation and share how you are getting your green on!


      Post a Comment