Being green does not have to be an all or nothing lifestyle choice. Even if you can't live off the grid growing all your own organic food, there are lots of little day to day things that you can do that will make a difference. And yes, even the smallest things make an impact, especially if we all start doing them. So here are a few of my tips on how you can easily be a little more green all year round.
Recycle. Most municipalities and private garbage companies include recycling with their garbage removal. If yours doesn't, call around to find one that does. Recycling your plastics, metals and paper takes little to no effrot but has a great impact on the environment.
Turn off the lights. During the day, open up all of your blinds to use natural light instead of electricity. When you leave a room, make sure you turn the lights off. Make sure you teach your kids this since they can be the biggest culprits of leaving lights on all over the house.
Switch to CFL or LED lights. CFL light bulbs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to six times longer. LED light bulbs use up to 80% less energy than incandescents and can last up to 25 times longer. While these bulbs are more expensive to purchase up front, they will save energy and money over the long haul. CFL vs. LED
Unplug appliance and electronics. Even when not powered on, plugged in appliances like toasters and coffee pots use electricity. So when you are not using them, unplug them. For electronics like your TVs, DVD players, game consoles, etc., plug them all into a surge protector strip and at the end of the day, you just have to flip one switch to cut off power to them all.
Compost. Instead of placing green waste like vegetable and fruit scraps in a plastic trash bag where they will sit in a land fill for ages, compost them. Compost bins can be very expensive, but you can make your own compost bin fairly easy and cheap. After a little bit of time and work, you will be left with wonderful fertilizer for your garden. Personally, I'm lazy, so in the warmer months I collect my green kitchen scraps in a large fruit bowl and at the end of the day, dump into into our woods.
Eat organic. Eating organic food is better for your body and for the environment. Even though organic prices have come down slightly over the years, they are still more expensive. So do what you can. I feel that the items you consume the most of, like maybe milk, peanut butter, bread, etc., are the things that you should change first. Check out the Environment Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to see which produce items have the most and least amount of pesticides. This will help you choose which produce you want to make sure are organic.
Buy local. During the winter months, there are really no farmer's markets available here in our corner of Connecticut. But in the Spring/Summer/Fall we are part of a local organic CSA plus there is a great farmer's market down on our town green. Buying local produce helps your local economy and community and gives you a chance to talk with the farmer's personally to find out about their farming practices. To find CSAs and farmer's markets in your area, visit LocalHarvest.org.
Do you have any easy green tips? Share them with us in the comments!