5 Tips How to Start Living Green on a Budget
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you are like me, you want to be as green as possible but
your bank account just won't allow it. I have found 5 simple
ways you can contribute to the environmental effort without
breaking the bank...
1. USE COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS
- This is an item that is a little pricey but if you attempt
it bit by bit or room by room its not as hard on the wallet.
Focus on rooms that get the most use : living room, kitchen,
family room or office.
To start, take note for a few days to figure what one room
you seem to use the most and change out those bulbs. Then
try to find the second most used room and when you can afford
it change out those bulbs.
Its all about small steps that in time can be very effective.
Here are some statistics I gathered from the Energy Star
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with
an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy
to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than
$600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse
gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.
ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy
than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times
longer. Save about $30 or more in electricity costs over
each bulb's lifetime. CFL's Produce about 75 percent less
heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs
associated with home cooling.
2. UNPLUG APPLIANCES WHEN NOT IN USE -
Here is a way to save energy that costs you nothing and
can save in the long run.
I'm sure we all have some appliances that are plugged in
and are drawing electricity even though we are not using
Do you shut your computer down every night? Do you have
a clock in every room? Do you have a VCR or DVD player with
a clock and memory to maintain?
Did you know that even if your TV is off it is still drawing
electricity to power a memory device? Coffee makers are
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself what appliances
need to be re-set after a power outage. These are items
you need to address. If you are unsure of any particular
appliance, unplug it. If its not plugged in, it can't draw
3. USE CANVAS BAGS FOR SHOPPING - This
may sound easy enough but you would be amazed at the number
of people who won't/don't do it.
My suggestion is to buy a few and keep them in the car (I
have a knack for forgetting them). Most supermarkets have
displays of them for $1.99 with a lower price if you buy
more than 3 or 5.
Not a big investment and I have to say it makes unloading
the groceries much easier. It is so nice to have 2 good
strong bags instead of a dozen of flimsy plastic ones.
Here are some great facts I found about plastic shopping
* Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other
marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic
bags mistaken for food. * Plastic bags don't biodegrade,
they photo-degrade - breaking down into smaller and smaller
toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways.
* As a part of Clean up Australia Day, in one day nearly
500,000 plastic bags were collected.
* Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that
a cottage industry has developed using the harvested bags
to weave hats and bags. According to the BBC, one group
harvests 30,000 per month.
* Plastic bags are among the top 12 items of debris most
often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit
Center for Marine Conservation
4. USE NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS - Now
don't go and throw out all of your cleaning products, that
would defeat what we are trying to do. Use up what you have
and before you run out, go through this list, stock up and
prepare your solutions so you'll be ready to go.
I would advise to purchase some new plastic spray bottles
rather than try to reuse the old ones from the other cleaners,
there will be some residue left behind that would require
a lot of rinsing to remove.
I don't use everything on this list but I do use a lot of
white vinegar and baking soda as well as some commercial
enviro-friendly products that I purchase from a reputable
Baking Soda - Baking soda is a great all-purpose, non-toxic
cleaner. It cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes
stains. (Note - There's a great article on this site about
baking soda, "The Manifold Magic of Baking Soda")
Borax - It deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning
power of soap. It also prevents mold and odors. Great alternative
for those who do not want to use bleach.
Cornstarch - cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs, and
can be used in place of baby powder.
Ketchup - cleans copper.
Lemon juice - great for whitening items and removing grease
and stains on aluminum and porcelain.
Pure Soap - cleans almost anything and is mild.
Salt - regular table salt makes an abrasive, but gentle,
Washing Soda - Cuts grease and disinfects.
White Vinegar -great for whitening, cleaning hard surfaces
and windows, and shining metal surfaces. Also removes mildew,
stains, grease and wax build up
For even more helpful and natural cleaning products go to
5. STOP USING PAPER TOWELS - This is a
tough one when you have little ones, I know, but I found
some great alternatives.
Cloth napkins are one way to at least cut back on paper
towel use and if you bargain shop you can usually find some
decent ones for less than .50 a piece.
Another great product is those chamois style towels that
suck up so much liquid. I have a bunch and love them, they
wash up easily and hold up well too.
Think about the power behind small efforts such as these. If every person made a conscious effort to contribute to the green cause the future would look much brighter. For more tips on living green head over to http://greenmomhappymom.com
Published - April 2009
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