Tomorrow is Earth Day and it should be no secret that there are many ways that being frugal is also helping the world in which we live!
Here are some of the changes that we have made in the last year that were both frugal and good for the Earth
1. No bottled water: I will occasionally buy one if I am out running errands (and left the house without my reusable water bottle filled to the brim), but we do not keep bottled water in the house. I'll spare you the "in my day we drank water straight from the hose and laughed at how Evian was 'naive' spelled backwards" rant, but I see bottled water as a HUGE waste of money and resources in a country with potable water!
2. Recycle items in TO your household: I don't buy those Gladware/Ziploc containers because the lunchmeat that I can get for super-cheap with coupons already comes in one. If you do buy the Gladware/Ziploc containers, don't think of them as "disposable"...think of them as "reusable". We also wash and reuse Cool Whip, cottage cheese and sour cream containers. If it can survive the dishwasher, it can be used for leftovers, etc in the refrigerator!
3. Ditch the paper at meals: We don't use paper plates, cups or napkins in my house. It started as snobbery on my part (that's right - I admit it! I'm a second-generation snob!). The impact of the extra water used to wash glass/china/cloth napkins is far less than the environmental impact of cutting down trees, the pulping process to make paper, the water and resources to turn the paper in to plates/napkins, the plastic used both in the plates and to wrap the plates, and so on....
4. Grow some of your own food: While you won't see chickens running around my back yard, stop by in the summer and you will see tomato plants, a ton of herbs (to the point where I start pawning basil off on the neighbors), peppers and occasionally green beans. By doing this you are saving money by growing your own organic veggies!
5. Skip the dry cycle on your dishwasher: It can be a tremendous waste of energy and many newer dishwashers allow you to turn off the drying portion of the cycle. If spots on your glasses drive you crazy (like they do me), hand drying can be done quickly once you "get in a groove".
6. Switch to Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs: we now have CFLs in every room in our house. Before Brad switched us over the CFLs, it seemed like we were replacing a bulb every week somewhere in the house. Frankly, I can't remember the last time we replaced a light bulb! This is the best month to do it, as there are some huge deals to be found on CFLs in honor of Earth Day as well as recent coupons! (for my local readers, you can get them for $.25 each at Giant this week! If your store is out, get a raincheck!)
7. Use rags instead of paper towels: I admit that I am not as good as this as I should be, but I have switched to using old kitchen towels and torn up bath towels for much of my cleaning. Just like the cloth napkins, the cost/impact of the extra load of laundry is far less than the cost/impact of making and distributing paper towels.
8. Line dry your laundry: this is one thing that I wish we could do, but the HOA for our development prohibits it. However, I have asked Brad to make me a small portable clothesline that I can put on the patio so that it can't be seen by the neighbors (we back up to a field - no issue there). Not only will you save energy from the dryer, your clothes will smell wonderful!
What are some of your frugal and environmentally-friendly suggestions?