5 Simple Ways To Live Greener

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This post comes from blog contributor FP Naomi!

One of the biggest problems facing us today is the way we use and dispose of resources. Did you know that average American produces 4.5 pounds of garbage a day? The Earth’s atmosphere has officially reached the highest carbon dioxide concentration ever to occur during man’s existence, and the pace of change is accelerating. These are daunting facts that indeed point to a need for change.

But change most likely won’t happen if we all try to live without everything we’ve become so accustomed to. Understandably, we aren’t willing to give up soft laundry, television, transportable foods… A more realistic strategy is to find ways in which we can maintain our quality of life – the conveniences and enjoyments we’ve come to know and love – in a more sustainable, low-impact way.

Instead of looking at the tough overhaul (and sometimes overly expensive) life changes, think about the small things that we can all do collectively. We’ll no doubt have to create a couple new habits, but if those modifications are attainable, we’ll all be able to do them together. There’s a whole world of changes that don’t involve a lot of work, but add up to significant advances when performed en masse. If everyone takes note and does just a little, we’ll be living in a different world 50 years from now. We have the power to make the future a bright one, and here a couple of ideas on how we can make it there.

ways to live greener

Where goes the trash, so too shall the recycling

Most people have a recycling bin in their kitchen, but what about the bathroom, study, or perhaps the bedroom? A while back, while opening a cardboard box of razor heads, I had the stroke of genius to put a small recycling bin in the bathroom. I placed it right next to the trash, and was amazed at how quickly it filled up: packaging, prescription slips, q-tips, toilet paper rolls…they can all be recycled! If you don’t have a recycling bin you won’t recycle, but when it’s there, you won’t be able to help yourself.

ways to live greener

Bring your place setting to work

How many plastic forks do you use in a day? Week? Month? Year? You probably don’t even want to know. All of those plastic forks end up in a landfill where they break down into harmful gasses, and either release into the air or seep into your soil. The fix is so easy it hurts. Bring a place setting to work, and you’ll never have to use a plastic fork again. I myself have a bowl, plate, spoon, fork, knife, mug, and tumbler all at my desk. I also have one heavy duty knife that comes in handy if I ever have to do last-minute lunch prep. It will take five extra minutes to wash your dishes each night, but which consequence is worse: an earth that can no longer support life or leaving work five minutes later?

ways to live greener

Don’t write off renewable energy

When we think of renewable energy we think expensive. You might imagine investing in solar panels, and wonder why would any renter do that? Even if you own, you might simply not be able to afford something along those lines. The good news is there have been a lot of advancements in politics and the world of energy that actually make wind, solar, and hydro power accessible these days. I personally rent and I use Green Mountain Energy, a national service that works through local providers and often offers almost equal charges per kilowatt hour. It’s not expensive. Want to look into some other options? Community Energy,  Clean Currents, and Washington Gas Energy Services are all fairly inexpensive and easy to enroll in services.

ways to live greener

Rethink the way you dry your clothes

I spent sophomore year of high school living in Italy, and do you know what is missing from all the households there? A dryer. That’s right, they hang dry all of their clothes, and are completely used to doing so. I myself find that if I just hang dry, clothes get a bit crispy. What I do instead is stick everything in the dryer for about 25 minutes, and then hang it all on a drying rack. The dryer doesn’t need to run for an hour or two, and you can still have soft, fresh clothes. In addition to a drying rack, you might also want to invest in a wool dryer ball.  Doing so will eliminate the need for dryer sheets. It will fluff clothes and attract lint, and you won’t have something to throw away with each load of laundry.

ways to live greener

Reuse, reuse, reuse

Simply think twice before you throw something away. How can you reuse this instead of throwing it in the trash? I just moved houses, and believe me, the urge to purge was strong. I had to stop myself and focus on separating out things to give away, repurpose, recycle, and so on. I ended up giving amazing makeup and skincare products (barely used) to one friend, while another got a shirt that was right up her alley. The move also involved a lot of painting, that afterwards, I turned the paint cans into hanging planters. Outside of moving, peel labels off glass jars and use them as containers or vases. The potential of objects is endless with a little effort and time. You’ll be saving little treasures from the dump each time you exert it.

Visit Naomi’s Blog, Numie Abbott.

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Comments

maisie -July 5, 2013, 7:40AM

This is a great post and so true! I was thinking of making a blog post myself about all the ways I try and help the environment! It’s amazing how much cardboard and paper you can go through in a week! I always feel really good when I take all my recycling to the recycling bins!
I live in Gibraltar(on the very tip of spain) and we don’t have a dryer in our house! We have clothes lines out our windows. I personally love the smell of clothes fresh off the line!
xx

Mackenzie -July 5, 2013, 9:43AM

Great Post! But…….
You can’t recycle Q-tips.

Beth C -July 5, 2013, 9:48AM

I’m lucky enough to have a coworker who has a giant compost bin, so every week I bring in my compostable waste for him and he brings me compost for my garden… It’s an awesome trade.

Meg -July 5, 2013, 10:06AM

I have gotten much better about using a glass plate instead of paper. It is mire dishes for me, but I keep telling myself it is better.

http://happinessiscreating.com/

Juliette Laura -July 5, 2013, 10:10AM

These are the best tips! Glad to see I am already doing some :)

xoxo
Juliette Laura
http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/InfiniteStyleShop

Dani -July 5, 2013, 11:00AM

Yeah dude. I am allllll about this. There are biodegradable trash bags you can buy, too, (http://greenpaperproducts.com/biodegradable-trash-bags.aspx?gclid=CI-Nq7POmLgCFQmf4AodoGQAtA)
to prevent your waste from building up in landfills as much as others.
Growing up, everything was dried outside on a clothes line, and all of our food waste went into a compost bin. I don’t have the luxury of composting now, but did you know that some restaurants, like Pret A Manger, have a trash bin for food waste, that they turn into compost? Pretty cool. Sorry to rant. I’m really loving this post.
AWESOME job nai!

<3 dani
http://www.shopdisowned.com
http://disownedclothing.blogspot.com

A. -July 5, 2013, 2:35PM

It was so refreshing to read these holistically-minded and environmentally compassionate post! Our culture as a whole definitely puts too much focus on consumption. FP Naomi, I am LOVING your wise and down-to-earth contributions to the already lovely FP blog. Thank you!

Megan -July 5, 2013, 3:27PM

I actually just cleaned out my fridge the other day and had tons of glass bottles of salsa, spaghetti sauce and other many other things….I simply cleaned them out, peeled the label off and have plans to reuse them for something beautiful!

Tori -July 5, 2013, 4:50PM

What a fantastic post!! I’m loving these ideas! I just bookmarked this page so I can return to it often and remind myself to be a little greener! Thanks you:)

Much love from http://myomlife.wordpress.com/

jessica -July 5, 2013, 9:51PM

This is very true of course and amazingly eassssy to do. Thanks for sharing!!! <3

May -July 6, 2013, 3:32AM

I think I should rethink the way you dry your clothes. Then I will live greener.

Julenecakes -July 9, 2013, 2:04PM

Love this post! I even save tin foil. Hah! My depression era grandmother saved it and I got the habit from her. :)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GypsyPlunder?ref=si_shop

Georgia -July 9, 2013, 8:51PM

I have some friends who live in the US and I’m BLOWN AWAY that you guys don’t really *do* clothes lines and use the dryer for everything. It may make sense in the cooler climates up north, but my friend is in Tucson?!?!?!?!
I live in Australia and we don’t even own a dryer. In the warmer months, everything gets hung outside – clothes, sheets and towels are MUCH fresher and nicer if they’re air dried. If it’s cold/wet, we simply set up some indoor clothes horses and allow to try in front of/on top of the heater/fire etc. Using a dryer just seems like such a wasteful thing to do…

Christine -July 10, 2013, 5:14PM

Georgia , I completely agree! I live in Scotland and we never use a tumble dryer nor did we own one only a a rack for drying inside if it rained

CallistoGalileo -July 10, 2013, 9:04PM

used to use the clothes line until my puppy grew into a big bear he tears down my clothes D:

Anikka -August 1, 2013, 7:15PM

At work I keep a plate, bow [both bought as singles from Target]l and reusable plastic silverware (Pampered Chef – designed for picnics). There are other great reusable solutions designed for camping that would work as well.

Oh I also keep a coffee mug. I don’t drink coffee but when I’m sick I’ll sometimes drink Tea or Hot cider.

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