Get a Little Green

It’s not easy being green.

— Kermit the Frog

Well, Kermit was right. It’s not easy. But, it’s really not as hard as you think. I amaze even myself sometimes.

Since moving back to California, we’ve developed a few more eco-friendly practices than we had before. The main one being that I rarely bring my groceries home in plastic bags anymore. My collection of reusable shopping bags is near and dear to me.

Still, there are plenty of ways that I can grow in being a little more sensitive to the environment. We moved to a new city about a year ago, and this particular community does not offer co-mingled recycling. Instead, they offer us itty-bitty (read= miniscule) boxes to sort our glass, plastic, and paper into. And I confess, I’m not so good at recycling as I was in our last house when I could toss them all into one big barrel.

But, I’ve grown in other ways. Vinegar and baking soda are my go-to cleaners. I rarely worry about caustic fumes and chemicals getting the best of us since we’re not using strong chemical based cleaners.

Go Green

If you missed my “Going Green” series from a few years ago, but are interested in learning ways that you might become a little more earth-friendly, browse around. These are great habits to get going.

A Greener Giveaway

This week, we’ve got a giveaway that is a little more earth-friendly, too. Hefty Basics has released a line of paper plates that are biodegradable in home composting and free of inks, dyes or coatings. According to the company,

Hefty® Basics™ paper plates are stronger than everyday plates at a value price, and provide a great choice for people interested in an environmental option.

Most people are torn when it comes to paper plates. I know I am. I love the convenience and the ease of dish washing, but green guilt sometimes gets in my way. These plates offer a happy medium. Additionally, Hefty has partnered with the Arbor Foundation to plant 10,000 trees, one for every ten new “Like”s on Facebook.

This week two LifeasMOM readers will each win a Hefty Basics kit.

Each Kit includes :

  • 2 packages of Hefty Basics Plates (1 small and 1 larger size)
  • 3 FREE coupons for additional Hefty Basics Paper Plates
  • 1 letter made from “seed” paper, that you can plant yourself!

Simply leave a comment on this post, telling us your favorite way to Go Green. Two winners will be randomly selected and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim their prizes. Comments will be accepted until Sunday, January 16th, 8 pm PST.

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winners: walkerfamily4@, m.schwartzkopf@

Disclosure: I received a Hefty Basics kit for review.

For more inspiration, check out Get a Good Habit Going.

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  1. We have eliminated the use of paper towels.

  2. We limit shower times to not use as much water.

  3. keep to the motto of use as little as possible when it comes to consumable things.

    Stick with one car, and try to group all my errands to drive less. And use my cloth grocery totes.

  4. We’ve cut back on using paper towels and now rely on cloth napkins. I also make my own cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. I have 1 day a week set aside for errands.

  5. We use reusable containers for sack in order to cut back on the use of plastic bags. We also purchased reusable grocery bags that stay in the car so that we won’t forget them when shopping!

  6. Michele Laramay says:

    I, too, take my laundry basket and reusable bags to the stores now.

  7. Jen Fitzpatrick says:

    I agree with you on the small recycle bins! Before my garbage company offered the comingle, we had the small bins and I went out and purchased garbage cans on wheels for our recycles (at that time, besides the small bins, they only picked up every 2 weeks). I love my recycling now and find myself doing it more and more. I also use my own bags for everything I possibly can and reuse as much as possible

  8. We recycle as much as possible and buy products made from recycled material.

  9. I try to use my reusable bags as often as possible.

  10. We use rainwater to water plants and shrubs here in Arizona!

  11. Amanda Carter says:

    We try to use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.

  12. We recycle, make our own laundry detergent and cleaners, and line dry our clothes when it is warm.

  13. Brenda Smith says:

    Reusable grocery bags and using the clothesline to dry clothes.

  14. We hang up almost all our clothes to dry. We have clotheslines in our cellar in the winter (there’s a dehumidifier in the cellar) and hang our clothes outside in the summer. We save a lot of money by not using the drier!

  15. 1) I save the unwanted paper from my work copier and bring it home to use the back sides in my printer. I made sure this was OK with my boss prior to doing it.

    2) Also, I recycle all old printer cartridges from work. Office Depot gives us $2 in Rewards $$ for each one we return!

  16. one of the ways that we go green is by recycling and reusing

  17. My favorite is reusable shoppping bags.

  18. I only use reusable shopping bags. They last forever and they are just better than the plastic ones.

  19. Trying to use more cloth instead of paper towels and napkins.

  20. In our community we get the “throw it all in” cart from our trash service…LOVE IT!

    We also have a nice bagfull of reusable grocery bags, I even have a couple of favorites that I take with me if I go to the bookstore or the mall.

    When we are finished with school papers that I don’t intend to keep, I use those to print our coupons from the internet.

  21. We keep reusable grocery bags in both of our cars so we’re never caught without them. We line dry almost all the time – even when they come in crunchy from the cold! 🙂 And we don’t buy paper napkins or towels but maybe once a year.

  22. Cloth Napkins…so easy!

  23. We also use cloth napkins and reusable shopping bags. My mom gives them to me often and I love all the colors I’ve acquired. My only problem is remembering them, I try to keep them in the car, but even then I often find myself running out to get them as I approach the check out line.

  24. motherfish says:

    We don’t buy processed food and we buy in bulk; this greatly reduces packaging trash, and saves us a truckload of money for our family of 7.

  25. Madelaine says:

    Since everything last thing can be recycled these days, that’s what we do in this home!

  26. My favorite way to go green is to use earth friendly cleaning supplies such as baking soda and vinegar.

  27. We make our own cleaner and the kids love to do the recycling.

  28. I’m trying to recycle more…that’s my green effort these days.

  29. I’d say one of my favorite ways to Go Green is to use green household cleaning products. Vinegar has quickly become my favorite.

  30. We get our milk delivered in glass bottles from a local farm. Thanks!

  31. Charity Shapiro says:

    I’ve been recycling our cans and using reusuable grocery bags.

  32. Valerie Horn says:

    Laundry on the line, cut down on paper product(very little to none). Bigger garden.
    Home made bread and home made laundry detergant. Going green saves money to..

  33. We have been going green by using up the things we buy, specifically food!

  34. What a great giveaway! I love the idea of compostable plates. There are times when paper plates are a necessity.

  35. I try to use washcloths when cleaning instead of paper towels as much as possible.

  36. Stephanie Schuyler says:

    We use cloth napkins instead of disposable napkins.

  37. I like to use cloth shopping bags, growing our own garden, and reusing items we already own in different ways.

  38. Reusable grocery bags is one area in which we’ve successfully “gone green”. Composting is one which I’m really trying to improve.

  39. We try to group our errands together and do them all Friday evenings (a necessity anyways when you only have one car for the family – hey, does that count as a green practice too?)

  40. We recycle at least half our waste, use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning and use cloth napkins! My dream is to compost some day..the rats in the city we live in keep that from happening right now.

  41. I go green by using real dishes whenever I can – instead of paper dishes. This can be a challenge sometimes but I hate just throwing things away!

  42. we use cloth diapers!

  43. I recycle almost everything. It drives my husband crazy but I can breathe better when I know I have prevented as much as I possibly can from just being tossed. These plates and such sound intriguing, so I would certainly like to give them a try.

  44. I like to hang my clothes on the line instead of using the dryer when it’s nice out. This time of year – not so much!

  45. I grow my own vegetables in the summer!

  46. We recycle I also hang clothes in nicer weather and indoors during the winter. I also have a rain barrel. (I love this for my garden) I have just started making my own cleaners that I use with my cloth cleaning rags.

  47. We bought microfiber towels to replace paper towels. We also use cloth diapers.

  48. Using up our food more efficiently, reusing old paper to print on the back, and cloth diapering!

  49. We use cloth napkins and old kitchen towels as rags instead of paper towels. I have a great little collection and I throw them in with our white clothes every week so that they get bleached (also fills up the load so we’re only washing a full load of laundry).

  50. We use a reusable water bottle!

  51. We recycle many things – and appreciate our big “throw it all in” can! We also take reusable bags to the store. It’s nice that some stores encourage that now with rewards.

  52. I use cloth diapers.

  53. We use cloth napkins. I try to remember my reuseable bags when shopping. We recycle paper and plastic.

  54. I’m hanging my laundry outside. In Maryland. All.winter.long.

  55. We re-use a lot of items over and over!

  56. I hang as much of my laundry as I can to dry. Rarely use paper towels. I’ve come a long way, but have a long way to go!

  57. I use reusable bags for almost all my shopping and seldom use paper towels.

  58. We line dry almost all our laundry, and are starting to use green/homemade cleaning products.

  59. We try not to use one time use items and avoid chemical cleaners (go baking soda and vinegar!).

  60. I, too have a “dump it all in” recycling cart that is very full every 2 weeks. Also, I like to buy clothes at second-hand stores. I can’t stand to pay “new” prices and this seems earth-friendly, too. Thanks for the chance to win!

  61. we try to do a bunch of things but I try to reuse items(clothes hangers you get with clothes, jars, magazines, etc) fpr crafts to give them a new life

  62. We recycle everything we can here including glass, cans, cardboard and plastic. But my favorite is to recycle our paper by walking it down to the bin at my sons school. We get to recycle and the school benefits from the money from the recycle company.

  63. Hang our laundry outside to dry in the summer and I plant my own garden and it keeps getting bigger every year 🙂

  64. We use reusable bags, use vinegar and baking soda and I rinse out ziploc bags and reuse them.

  65. I’m composting for the first time, changed to cfls, extra blankets instead of higher thermostat.

  66. I recycle whatever I can in our small township. I use reuseable bags whenever possible. I also try not to use paper towels.

  67. i’ve been on a recycling kick. i’m out of room for sorting bins in my garage!

  68. We use cloth napkins instead of disposable paper napkins.

  69. Potty train early! Less ‘sposies in the landfill and less water/energy spent on laundering cloth.

  70. We have eliminated paper towels, paper napkins, and paper plates, although I’ll make an exception for these 😉 I thought my husband would protest the napkins, but instead he has embraced it. And on the rare occasion when we have both paper and cloth napkins, he chooses the cloth ones.

  71. I try and hang my clothes to dry as much as possible. We keep our thermostat low in the winter and rarely use A/C in the summer.

  72. Drying clothes on the line in the summer and in the winter when the heat is on enough (about 2 months) drying on racks near the vents.

  73. We use crocheted dish cloths to wash our dishes, rather than a sponge. We can machine wash the cloths, which I love!

  74. We cut back on paper towels to one roll per month!

    I would love to win this giveaway as we have been dishwasher-less for a year now and I am sick of washing dishes!!!

  75. We recycle every thing we can, even though our huge rolling recycle trash container is usually over-filled.

  76. By local when we can, we compost and recycle. Clean green baking soda, vinegar, seventh generation dish soap, also cloth napkins and rags instead of paper towels most of the time.

  77. We try to use a dish towel instead of a paper towel! In fact we keep the paper towels under the sink- out of sight out of mind!

  78. Our family has gotten really good at recycling and it is very helpful that everything can go into one bin!

  79. I’ve cloth diapered both of our children until they were potty trained. Also, we use cloth napkins most of the time.

  80. Reusable bags, non chemical cleaners, and recycle everything we can!!

  81. We recycle everything… our town promotes it by charging extra for trash, after the first can. It’s a great incentive, but also great to see more people recycling!!

  82. We often use cloth rags for cleaning (and then wash, and use them again) and most of our rags are old towels or clothing that cannot be used any longer, by anyone…perfect for the rag bag.

  83. Evangeline says:

    One way that I have “Gone Green” is by using old outdated fabric to make snack/sandwich baggies & napkins. The kids think they are cool and they a super fun and EASY to make…

  84. I use cloth bags.

  85. I too use reusable bags when shopping also cloth napkins!

  86. i am switching to the new lightbulbs and to recycle. that really is the easiest way

  87. Living up by Buffalo I can only do this in the summer/spring but I hang out all my clothes – Love that and use recycle bags -If I could only break my family from our paper towel habit. . . ..

  88. Recycle, reusable shopping bags, cloth napkings, use paper towels sparingly, washing clothes when dirty (not everyday), combining errands, & cloth diapers are just the ones I could quickly think of off the top of my head.

  89. Jessica A. says:

    I use cloth diapers and made my own cloth napkins! I also liked Hefty paper paper plates on facebook.

  90. We compost. LOVE that black gold in our backyard. 🙂

  91. We recycle everything. I mean everything that can be recycles goes in that box.

  92. We have been using reusable bags instead of plastic bags!

  93. Karen Luck says:

    Our town offers weekly recycling (single-stream/co-mingled) and weekly yard waste pickup (they shred and compost all yard waste for residents to pick up for free!). We still have a gigantic rolling bin for our garbage, yet every week only have the equivalent of a kitchen-sized trash bag of garbage for that pickup.

  94. Sally Mcquaid says:

    Recycle materials, compost food that will be thrown away, and dry clothes outside when possible.

  95. We are using less paper in our homeschool classroom. We are doing our practice sets on white or chalk boards when we can.

  96. So far, mine has been cutting out paper plates and paper towels and hanging laundry to dry. How great that there is this new option!

  97. Where do I start? LOL
    1. Reusable shopping bags
    2. Recycle everything paper/plastic/foam/cardboard
    3. Use storage containers instead of baggies.
    4. so much more, it’s easier than you think!

  98. Margery Hilburn says:

    Carpool, reusable bags, cloth napkins and cleaning cloths, reseating jeans, lower the thermostat, recycle, use leftovers, buy produce at a local coop….Sorry, I love being green. Can’t pick just one! I am trying to get brave enough to dry on a clothesline.

  99. Jennifer M says:

    I try to line dry all of the laundry that I am able to.

  100. elizabeth says:

    I recently learned how to make homemade liquid laundry detergent. It works great and eliminates all packaging plus all those chemicals. And don’t forget the gas wasted hauling those big bottles of detergent.

  101. Kristen Beecham says:

    I use reusable shopping bags and I’ve started doing more loads of wash on cold.

  102. I am using shopping bags now and we make our own compost. We also don’t use nearly as many paper towels as we used to.

  103. I find that just trying to cut down on our expenses is actually a greener way to live.

    I do all my errands on the day that I take my ds to preschool, he goes 2 days a week and I drive one day and my mom takes him the other day, on my day I combine taking him to preschool with all my shopping, grocery getting, errand running etc, so I am only using the car one day, and it saves me time, and gas money!!
    I used reusable shopping bags when shopping and Target even gives .05 off each bag you use!! I also hang dry all of our clothes in the summer!!
    My kids and I carry reusable water bottles to save on us buying some when we are out.
    I reused everything, thus reducing my need to buy more, it saves me money, and it saves on what I am throwing away.
    Empty yogurt containers, become seed starter pots, etc.
    I recycle our clothes, right now, oldest son’s cast offs becomes youngest son’s wardrobe, and anything dh and I have out grown is now becoming stash fabric, my clothes are being redone into clothes for our 1 yr old daughter, and dh’s clothes are being redone into warm quilts!!
    It all adds up to savings, and its green too!! Its a win-win!!

  104. We have given up paper plates, paper towels, paper tissues, paper diapers, etc. We do 3 extra loads of laundry a week, but it’s totally worth it.

  105. Charity L. says:

    Our first steps toward going green are using energy efficient light bulbs in our new home and looking for products made from recycled materials.

  106. I recycle the typical products, although I have to drive to a recycling center. I don’t live in the city limits, so I do not get recycling pick-up.
    In my classroom, I save the papers that aren’t used and if they are blank on the back, I cut them in half so the students have “scrap” paper to use. When both sides are used up, then we toss it into the recycling bin.
    I use cloth rags for cleaning.
    I try to remember my reusable bags when shopping and take the plastic ones from the store back to their recycling bin.

  107. We don’t use a clothes dryer – even with 6 family members it’s not as difficult as you think. We also use cloth napkins – & I home can a lot – which of course are reusable glass containers – which limits the amount of canned goods I buy at the store. Thanks!

  108. Reusable grocery bags!

  109. Recycling, Using Reusable Bags 🙂

  110. Cloth napkins and reusable grocery bags.

  111. Tracey H. says:

    We definitely recycle our papers, cans, and bottles around here. I need to make more of an effort in other areas though.

  112. We shop at Aldi – and therefore have to bring our own cloth grocery bags.

  113. We’re going to try cloth diapers with out new baby.

  114. My favorite way to go green is to bring my own reusable bags to any store I shop at…

  115. I line dry clothing from March to December here in IL. Even when it is zero the clothes will freeze dry. Saves on running the dryer.

  116. Our family stopped using paper towels and paper napkins a year ago. Now we use rags – made from stained white t-shirts and linen napkins

  117. We go green by making sure the heat is turned down low when we leave the house

  118. I have a drying rack that I use to dry most of our clothes on (even in the winter). I simply set it up over a vent so that our heater also dries our clothes!

  119. We have switched from using paper towels to cloth napkins and using my own cleaning solutions! Simple and easy.

  120. I don’t use plastic water bottles anymore and I take my own bags for groceries.

  121. reusable bags at the grocery store, we shop second hand, we use our own stainless steel water bottles than buying throwaways at the grocery store, we buy organic/green products whenever we can afford it

  122. We bring our newspapers to our local animal shelter.

  123. We send almost nothing to the landfill. We either find that we can recycle most of our “garbage”. Unwanted goods get donated to people that will reuse or re-purpose them.

  124. We use reusable grocery bags. 🙂

  125. We throw all of our food waste into the field in our backyard. We have also started trying to buy cleaning items that are concentrated and use less packaging.

  126. Love using reusable bags.

  127. Cloth grocery bags, cloth napkins, hanging laundry out – we”ll be working on decreasing our garbage next

  128. With a large credit to an online store thanks to a recall of a big item, we just bought an indoor composter! It’s not set up yet, but I’m excited to try it out. Oh, and I line dry in the summer.

  129. Shelia Coffman says:

    We recycle as much as possible and line dry our clothes which I feel helps extend the life of garments and makes them smell fresher. We grow an organic garden and use plactic 55 gallon drums recycled from our local newspaper company to collect rain water to water the garden.

  130. I guess our current favorite is the freecycle group in our area.
    We also do most of the tips above, and try to use more wooden toys rather than plastic – which tend to break more easily, and often require loads of batteries. Though the batteries can be recycled, a lot of it goes to waste. – and donate any plastic bags we can’t use to our local library.

  131. We use my parents motto “use it up,wear it out,then find another use for whats left”. We also don’t use paper towels,use cloth bags, use vinegar for cleaning,donate papers to the animal shelter and freecycle every thing possible.I line dry my clothing as much as possible and use the bath water to flush the toilets.

  132. We use reusable bags, buy in bulk, and make lots of things from scratch.

  133. We use containers instead of baggies for snack storage. Also, we recycle all that we can.

  134. My favorite way to go green is to be an avid recycler!

  135. We recycle, use cloth napkins, and rarely use the dryer!

  136. I’ve always hated spending money on papertowels. In 2004 I purchased from Walmart 7 sets of 15 white washcloths for $2.88. I only need to purchase a set of washcloths annually since. I’ve also only purchased 6 papertowel rolls since then.

  137. Kim Vojacek says:

    I use natural cleaning products and laundry products.

  138. cloth napkins

  139. I have a hybrid car.!!

  140. I keep lights off in room we aren’t using. I also recycle and reuse.

  141. I began recycling and using the reusable shopping bags.

  142. we too, love vinegar…now the smell of vinegar makes me think clean!

  143. We don’t use paper towels and I try to use reuseable bags when I shop.

  144. We recycle!

  145. A roll of paper towels now lasts about 2 months in our house.

  146. I’ve been using the reusable bags to bring my groceries home. It’s something small, but it’s a start.

  147. Reusable grocery bags!

  148. We recycle, repurpose, and do other things like use cloth napkins. Really need to jump on the reusable grocery bag bandwagon, but I use plastic grocery bags for small trashcan liners…

  149. I like using cloth bags when going grocery shopping. Not only is it good for the enviroment but I also don’t have a big stash of plastic bags just sitting around.

  150. We recycle as much as we can – we have curbside pick up so there’s no reason not to!

  151. Hang laundry to dry, reuse and recycle, cut out paper towels, use rags more and more. It is all such a habit, I don’t think about it anymore.

  152. We recycle everything we can; we have curbside pick up. We also take back our plastic bags to the grocery store to be recycled again.

  153. TallyMichelle says:

    Composting…love it!

  154. We no longer use as many paper towels as we used to, we recycle paper and plastic items, and we carpool and limit the amount of driving that we do.

  155. We have lots of fun being green. Jackjack loves helping me clean because we “clean with science” (baking soda + vinegar water = fun!). We also use cloth napkins and cloth grocery bags. Re-using spaghetti sauce and canning jars keeps us from buying plastic storage containers too!

  156. I use reusable shopping bags most of the time now. I also compost and recycle.

  157. my favorite way to ‘go green’ is to compost. It’s an easy way to get rid of ‘kitchen scraps’ AND we don’t have to buy nearly as much fertilizer/mulch as we have in the past!

  158. Telena Reynolds says:

    Hang clothes on clothesline instead of using dryer

  159. Going green to us means using less. We consistently have less trash each week than our neighbors with smaller families. I attribute this to recycling and lots of homemade cooking.

  160. We have boxes in the garage for all paper and cardboard, once a week we run it up to our recycling center. You would be AMAZED at the amount of cardboard and paper we accumulate and how much this reduces are weekly trash!

  161. Using eco-friendly grocery bags is our favorite way to go green.

  162. Danielle Hull says:

    We use natural cleaning products that come concentrated so we dilute them ourselves in our own reusable spray bottles. We “make” and use our own cotton rags from our torn and stained clothes; I’ve made my daughter cry by doing that, though!

  163. kat amber says:

    we use reusable bags for shopping, recyle and try to not buy things new, so less packaging wasted. also use a programmable thermostat and only have the lights on in the rooms we are in.

  164. Andrea Watts says:

    I like to find creative ways to reuse the plastic grocery bags.

  165. We recycle most of our trash.

  166. We now have a program where we can recycle most of our trash and now take our own bags to the stores.

  167. We use cloth napkins and we end up using napkins less than we would if we had used paper ones.

  168. We have 4 chickens and give them most of our fruit/vegetable/bread scraps. What they don’t like–goes into the compost pile. We seldom run our garbage disposal unit any more.

  169. We recycle, take quick showers, use earth friendly cleaners and soap, and use cold water for our laundry. Not much, but every bit helps, right?

  170. We pack lunches in reusable containers and water bottles. It really minimizes the waste!

  171. We just recently started recycling. It’s AMAZING how much recyclable products we go through at a time!

  172. Katherine says:

    This isn’t the greatest way, but I have finally been using reusable bags when I shop.

  173. We use cloth napkins at meals.

  174. I too am trying to use reusable bags on shopping trips.

  175. Jennifer H. says:

    My favorite way is simply recycling glass, cans, etc. I’ve been doing it for my whole live and throwing something in the trash when I’m not home just seems wrong! We recycle and conserve much, so we have one bag of trash for the house per week.

  176. Cheryl Raymond says:

    We try to recycle as much as we can!

  177. A neighbor down the street sat a rainbarrel on the curb to get rid of. I sent my son down to get it. We plan to set up garden and use the rain collected to recycle the water for our garden.

  178. Angela I. says:

    Im so proud to say that we recycle, And now they make afordable in our community to use recyling bends so it makes it that much easier.

  179. We just started eliminating paper napkins and paper towels. I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner!

  180. Christine says:

    My favorite way to grow green is to grow some herbs and vegetables in our backyard.

  181. Our school system has a recycle program in place. We originally took part in this program so my child’s room could win a movie day. Little did I know it would not only help her, it helps us, and the planet! I go thru minimum 4 bags a week, that saves me 4 garbage bags, which is 4 garbage bags not bought! LOVE IT!

  182. Jaclyn F. says:

    I make my own laundry detergent, and hang my clothing out to dry as much as possible. Also recycling all the plastics and cans that we’re able to.

  183. I try to waste less (still working on it) and I can’t wait till we can get a house so I can do more with composting and gardening!

  184. Jen Logan says:

    Our favorite way to go green is buying products with little or no packaging…such as shampoo bars. No bottle to recycle.

  185. We recycle everything we can, and try to reuse as much as we can, too!

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