13 Ways You Can Go Green

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No doubt this week you’ve heard lots of “green” messages, both here and elsewhere. I hope that you’ve been inspired and encouraged. Please don’t feel a mandate to “change your ways, or else.” Find your groove and go with it.

We certainly don’t do all that we could, and in reality, are just getting our feet wet in this green living. It helps that many of these things save us money, too. Money is a great motivator!

Here are just a few ways that we can practice good stewardship of the wonderful world God gave us.

1. Recycle. We recycle bottles, cans, paper, plastic containers, and cardboard. I keep a large plastic bin under the kitchen sink. Everything that can be recycled goes in there. We get as many free recycling carts as we want from the waste disposal company. If we weren’t recycling, we’d need to pay for another trash cart. So, this seems like a win-win situation for our family.

2. Avoid plastic bags. I use reusable grocery bags when I shop. It’s taking some getting used to, but I love it! I still have too many plastic grocery bags in my home, but we’ve reduced the amount significantly. (Don’t forget to enter my Envirosax giveaway!)

3. Use reusable. We recently bought reusable water bottles for our drinking pleasure. The boys love theirs that come in insulated cases that clip to their belts. Oh my! Not only is this reducing waste, but we’re saving money by not buying cases of water from the store. But, there are lots of other things that we can reuse, like cloth napkins, cloth diapers, nursing pads or even feminine products!

4. Line dry your clothes. You’ll save in energy costs as well as saving energy resources. We’ve dabbled in drying clothes on the line. As soon as I get over my fear of bees and moths, I’ll get back to it. Perhaps this summer when temps hit the 100s.

5. Go meatless. It can save you money as well as leave you room in yor diet We don’t eat meat every night, and we’ve lived to tell about it. Check out all these great meatless recipes for inspiration. Consider adding soy to your diet as a meat-alternative. (Enter to win 8th Continent complete here.)

6. Buy Local. If we buy local, we are (hopefully) getting fresher food and reducing the amount of energy used to transport that food to market. Plus, we are supporting the economy of our own communities. Availability can vary from season to season as well from place to place. But visiting farmers’ market, a local farmstand, or even picking your own can be great fun.

7. Reduce Energy Usage. Not only does this help save energy resources, but it will also save some pennies on your energy bill. We live close to FishPapa’s work so our fuel usage is very minimum. He has even considered riding his bike to work, which would save us even more. I’m also a “turn-out-the-lights” hound. (I guess my dad was right! I sound just like him when I shout, “Why are all these lights on?”)

8. Grow your own. Growing your own food makes great use of your little plot of land, can save you on grocery expenses, and allows you control over what chemicals come in contact with your menus. We are blessed to have a peach tree growing in our yard right now and look forward to eating fresh peaches this summer. Next week, the kids and I will be planting some fruits and veggies. If you’re interested in learning how to grow backyard fruit, enter this giveaway.

9. Avoid chemicals.Wash pesticides and chemical fertilizers from produce prior to consumption. Make your own cleaners. Use safer paints and furnishings. (Enter to win EcoSmart organic, all-natural bug spray.)

10. Go organic. It can be easier to fit into your budget than you think. And it’s better for your health, too. I often have been able to buy marked down produce and canned goods for less than the non-organic equivalents. Sometimes sales on organic are better than others. Organic coupons abound as well. Just keep your eyes open.

11. Compost. This is the next thing on my list, especially as we get our vegetable garden up and running. I think I will tackle Jennifer’s trash can method, though Suzie’s way with worms would certainly prove interesting.

12. Turn trash into treasure. Julie, Katie, Abbi, and Jill all presented some great suggestions for diverting items from the landfill.

13. Resell and buy resale. This keeps items from the landfill a little longer. Have a garage sale. Donate your discards to your local thrift store. Shop thrift, consignment and garage sales. Jennifer@BalancingBeautyandBedlam has amazing ideas on getting beautiful clothing for pennies. I’m going to watch and learn.

(If you donate items to a charity, please make sure that you’re considerate of their hours and donation guidelines. I’ve seen piles, no, mountains of discards left out in the rain outside Goodwill because people didn’t go during business hours. This doesn’t help them – they pay thousands in dump fees, not to mention manpower, when people leave unsaleable items to be sorted and/or dumped.)

These are just a few things that come to my mind in how we can pursue good stewardship.

What have I forgotten? Tell me in the comments.

For more Thursday Thirteen, visit Happy to Be at Home.

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  1. Is that your backyard with the clothes line? Those rolling hills are so pretty!

  2. I have been inspired by your green and frugal ways. I think I’m getting the hang of shopping for bargains. Except our limes are 3 for $2! And they are the size of key limes!

    We are growing our own herbs this year (and hopefully lettuces and cucumbers too) and I just invested in some reusable shopping bags.

  3. One way to keep things out of the landfill is to “Freecycle”. To Freecycle you post items that you no longer need that still have life left in them and people respond that want the item(s). Then you make arrangements with the person (people) for pick up. Go to http://www.freecycle.org to find a group in your area.

  4. hi jessica!
    this is a topic near and dear to my heart! our family joined a csa (community supported agriculture) and are enjoying our 1/2 bushel of organic produce each week at a fraction of what it would cost us in the grocery. csas are a win-win for both producer and consumer! my mantra is “what can i do with this?” before i throw it out…….can i wash it out and store something in it? use it as a craft? etc. i changed over to a non-disposable menstual product (the keeper) and only wish i had begun using it many years ago! we have moved to reduce our paper products considerably, no more paper plates or napkins and a roll of paper towels must last a LONG time!(haven’t been able to get the family on board with the nondisposable toilet wipes yet……but i am working on it! ) we compost…having 16 hens helps with that too! when there is something we need, whether it be clothing, cookware, shoes, towels, furniture etc… i first check out the thrift stores or craigslist. i have found some amazing bargains and often times end up with something much nicer than if i were to have spent more money in a retail setting. if you make a list and keep a close look on the thrift store, it will eventually show up! there is so much more but those are a few things we do now. thanks for sharing on this subject!
    julie harris