This post is a continuation of my recent post “10 Basic Ways to Make Your Life Greener”. The list will probably never end!
1.Use wood/clay instead of plastic
Last time I talked about using glass instead of plastic for storage. Mason Jars are awesome and quite popular amongst today’s hipsters. They are very useful and easy to recycle. I love using jars for storing my seeds and flours and even my indoor compost.
But glass isn’t the only alternative option.
Wood and clay kitchen utensils are great as well. Not only do they look better but they’re not harsh on your pans. They also don’t melt (although they can catch on fire if you’re not careful!). A couple of my plastic utensils in the past have been proof of my forgetfulness to remove the utensil from the pan
Wood is cheaper than clay, but clay is far more durable. I’ll admit that I have never used clay utensils before but I have heard reports that they are fantastic. Still, there’s a reason archaeologists are still digging up clay after all these years. But the best part? If they do abreak or you decide to downsize, you can throw them in your compost pile and no harm is done! Be sure to check if your clay utensils have had any paint chemicals applied to them first.
2. Lights off at 8 o’ clock
I live in a big house. It’s easy to find a light on in a room that nobody is in. This is one of my pet peeves.
In order to avoid excess waste of our electrical energy, I turn the lights off in our house at 8 o’ clock and light some candles. This practice is especially useful if you live off of solar energy. If you are a solar person, you know that saving energy is very precious. Turn your lights of and enjoy that saved energy!
I absolutely love turning off the lights and lighting our candles and oil lamps. It takes you back to a simpler time where conveniences were not as available. The ambiance is very relaxing and brings people closer together. I even found I was going to bed earlier because I didn’t have florescent lighting shinning in my eyes.
I like to mix it up and light candles and oil lamps that way I’m not using all of my candles at once. Although we still have our computers out, lighting some candles helps save some energy and a few dollars in our wallet.
3. De-clutter your home
We talk about waste in our parks, our shops, our streets, and of course our waste sites. But your home can very easily become it’s own landfill if you are not conscious about what you are buying and using. Don’t fill your home with waste that will not add value to your life or help you grow as an individual.
I just recently purged my home and found pounds of junk I wasn’t even using. The best part? I made a $100 at a garage sale that weekend! Find the junk in your home and donate it or even sell it. Whatever you are not using could easily become a blessing to someone else.
4. Save rainwater
The sky rains free fresh water.
Free fresh water. And yet, we spend hundreds of dollars a year on water that is contaminated with chemicals.
Rainwater harvesting is very simple and a first step anybody can take. Unfortunately many people don’t. This may be because people might think you need a fancy water catch system to get started. Saving rainwater can be as simple as putting a few containers outside on your porch or balcony.
As a gardener I can tell when my plants are drinking faucet water versus rain water. They begin to loose their luster. Some even start to turn yellow. If plants are turning yellow from tap water, that should be a sign that we could be doing better. Don’t get me wrong. I am very grateful for running water in my house.
We allow plastic bottles into our landfill so we can have a taste of fresh clean water. But the truth is that we have fresh water literally raining from the sky. So let’s catch it and save it for a rainy day! (ha.)
5. Buy used
A cool way to recycle is to buy used or second hand. Thrift stores are far less expensive than purchasing brand new. Many thrift stores collaborate with charities to give a portion of their earnings to whichever charity they are supporting (like the Disabled American Veterans thrift stores). I love thrift stores because it’s like my own treasure hunt. If I don’t find what I’m looking for then I haven’t spent any extra money. If I do, then I save money!
In addition to thrift stores, you can check out second hand apps and online stores like Craigslist and Ebay. Social media sites are even implementing buy-sell-trade pages for people to communicate when they are selling something. The internet is a great tool in bringing recycled items to our convenience.
I don’t think it’s fair to say you should buy everything used. There are some things that are best purchased new in the store (mattresses, underwear…you get the picture!). But that’s why recycling is so great. You learn to be creative. I don’t know how to sew, but it is a skill I would like to put to good use in the future so that I can make my own clothing items and not purchase anything packaged.
Speaking of packaging….
There’s less packaging (sometimes none) when buying used! No extra energy was used to create the product you were looking for. Taking the second hand path keeps any existing product out of landfills and in good use.
6. Buy fresh and local
Going green is more than finding the nearest and most expensive health food store. You have to find where the freshness is. Fresh food will not always be waiting for you at a convenience store.
It’s so important to support local community gardens. Finding fresh and local produce ensures that there is little manufacturing and the local farmer wins. Buying fresh and local means there was little to no CO2 emissions used to transport the food, and it just tastes better. Your produce is a few days old by the time it even gets to the store. Local produce is fresh, healthier, and tastes even better for your enjoyment. You also won’t be spending your own mileage to drive to where the food is.
7. Find alternative uses for energy
Alternative energy has been on the rise in popularity and will continue to grow. Many large corporations have began implementing different forms of energy that are renewable and healthier for the planet and public.
But what does energy have to do with zero waste? Much of the various types of energy sources that are used can be converted into other forms of energy. For example, utilizing the heat that is produced from burning coal and converting that heat into energy.
Alternative energy is not just for large companies. In fact, many folks have transitioned to other forms of energy like solar allowing the luxury of being almost or entirely off grid and having more financial freedom.
Some alternative forms of energy include:
- Solar panels
- Wind turbines/mills
- Biomass energy
- Tidal/wave energy
I would have to say that the most popular form of alternative energy (in my opinion) would be solar. There are many different gadgets that now run off of solar. In the last decade, solar panels have become more available to to the general public. Depending on costs and energy needs, solar has been an affordable and reliable source of energy for thousands across the planet and will continue to become even more affordable.
Find which source would be beneficial for you. Remember that energy saved is energy not wasted!