Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Thinking Green: Happy 40th Anniversary Earth Day! 10 Easy Ideas for a Greener World

Show your love for Mother Earth by doing your part to take better care of her.

Earth Day turns 40 years old today, 1 week before my husband does.  I celebrated the day by working outside in my garden, hauling composted soil from my compost pile to one of my veggie patches and then hauling leaves, weeds, and bits of trimmed dead plant material from last year's garden back to the compost pile.

As I was working in my garden, I began pondering ways the average household can easily be more green everyday while saving the green we call money and came up with a few simple ideas.

1)  Ban bottled water in your household.  Instead of buying bottled water, buy a water filtration pitcher and fill your own reusable bottles.  Not only will the water filtration pitcher quickly pay for itself by eliminating the need to buy bottled water, but you'll also reduce your waste.

2)  Like to stop for coffee on your way in to work?  Bring your own travel coffee mug.  Not only will you reduce countless extra cups being discarded (you'd save 7 in just 1 week), some places also offer a discount for doing so.

3)  Help eliminate even more waste with reusable shopping bags.  If you do end up at the store and realize you forgot your reusable shopping bags (sadly, I am occasionally guilty of this), reuse your plastic bags whenever possible, and take any surplus you're not able to reuse to a recycling station.

4)  Pack lunches in reusable bags, with items in reusable food storage containers, and include a cloth napkin that can be washed and used repeatedly.

5)  When cleaning around the house, repurpose worn t-shirts as rags for your cleaning.  We use them as dust rags, for washing walls, spot cleaning spills on floors, and for washing our cars.  Not only will you save money by not having to buy paper towels, you'll also give something that may have been thrown away a new purpose.

6)  Whenever possible, walk or ride a bicycle to cut down on emissions and save on gas.  Not only will you save money on gas, you'll also reap the added benefits of burning a few extra calories.

7)  Find a spot for a compost bin, and compost all vegetative kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, grass clippings, leaves, etc.  Not only do you reduce your waste but the composted items result in rich, dark, organic soil that plants thrive in.  I often think of it as free organic fertilizer.

8)  Plant a garden.  Even if you only have room for a few pots of tomatoes on a deck, you'll save money on your food costs and be able to enjoy fresh produce that you'll know is pesticide free.

9) Recycle.  If your area doesn't have curbside recycling pickup, try to find recycling centers near you.  In many areas, recycling centers still pay you for items like tin cans & aluminum cans, though the price for tin is considerably lower than for aluminum.

10)  Save energy and money by installing items around your house like low flow showerheads, CFL bulbs, and even switch timers.  When your household appliances need replaced, purchase those with an Energy Star rating.

I hope you're doing something special to help dear Mother Earth today and would love to hear your thoughts and any easy suggestions you may have.

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