10 Ways to Go Greener for 2013 | A Rose in Bloom

Everyone wants to start the new year with a fresh mindset and ideas to improve their everyday life.  Instead of resolutions you know you will break, why not just look for some easy ways to lessen your carbon footprint.  Going green in the in thing these days, and I can't argue with why it's a GOOD trend.  So here are some of my tips that I used for 2012. Yes, you probably have heard most of them before, but you wouldn't realize just how easy some of them are!  Some of them are an excuse to be lazy!  The best part about many of these methods: they save money.  Who couldn't use a little extra cash?  Anyway, here we go...

1. Number one is obvious. Drive less. It may not be a feasible to everyone (hello, Huntsville crowd), but even in non-pedestrian-friendly cities with terrible public transit, you can do a little.  Here in Lexington, I walk to Aldi, Target, or Meijer on almost a weekly basis.  I live within two miles of any of these mentioned stores.  Walking to the grocery store also means you spend less money. Think: Do I really want to carry these cookies for a mile and a half?  You probably don't, especially knowing that you DO have to carry that gallon of milk and the bag of apples..  A backpack will be your best friend for this too.

But what if you can't walk? No one expected me to walk to Target when I lived in the suburbs of Huntsville, AL, which, by the way, is the worst and most spread out city I have ever seen.  Almost nothing for public transit and not pedestrian friendly.  So, what did I do? MINIMIZED MY TRIPS.  Yes, I would go to Target after dance on Saturdays, and go home via Aldi to make sure I got everything I needed.  If you go to a shopping center, walk, don't drive, to stores on the other side of that center.

2. Make your own housecleaning items.  A spray bottle from Home Depot filled a fifth with vinegar and the rest with water will clean everything in your house for a long time.  Don't cheap out on spray bottles as vinegar can gum up the pump.  Mix baking soda and vinegar together and you have toilet bowel cleaner.  Some people use Borax for odd jobs. I have yet to try this, but Google is your friend for many homemade recipes.  These items are cheaper and last longer than poisonous cleaning supplies.

3. Buy used items when you can.  That Ikea coffee table that you want? Check craigslist first.  Someone might have it in good shape, and you will pay less and not contribute to landfill waste.

4. Speaking of landfill waste, re use what you can.  Get creative!  My puppy chewed through two high heels.  Naturally, they were two different high heels so I had two still beautiful, yet unmatching shoes. My plan is to make planters out of them for herbs.

5. Plant a small garden.  Even in the tiniest apartments you can have a few herbs.  From my balcony, I planted tomatoes, herbs, and spinach.  

6. Compost leftover peelings, coffee grinds, tea leaves etc...  Better than expensive fertilizer!

7. When you do buy produce, only buy what is in season.  Those blueberries you bought in December were flown in unnecessarily - thus wasting fuel and emitting more exhaust into the ozone.  Besides, it's cheaper to buy in season.

8. Use both sides of notebook paper. Some people, like myself, keep notebooks around to write down groceries needed, housekeeping lists, or anything else that I need to remind myself.  Write on both sides of the paper, and recycle the notebook when you are done.

9. Take shorter showers.  Well, this just sucks doesn't it? Everyone loves long, hot, showers.  But at least try to limit them.  It has actually been proven that showering everyday is not optimal for skin unless you are actively doing something to get dirty (working out, gardening, etc...).  So if you enjoy long, luxurious showers, see if you can get away with taking fewer of them (I only take about three a week, and I DO NOT smell).  Even if you must bathe everyday, make a three minute goal for everyday showers, and reward yourself with a long one once a week.  Don't forget to use a safe cleansing agent such as all natural bar soap or castile soap. I am biased towards Dr. Bronners.

10.  Only wash laundry when you need to.  Try rewearing a few things.  If it isn't stained or smelly, you can rewear it multiple times.  In fact, it is bad for your jeans to wash them often.  You will get a longer lifespan out of those $75 jeans if you wash them less.  I ONLY wash denim when it smells or has something on it. I have only ever worn out one pair of jeans in my adult life.
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