How Green Do You Go?

Recently, a friend of mine attended a “folk fest.” Along with the music and dance she encountered quite a few very, we’ll say, unique booths. The stories she had to share of stands promoting compost toilets and green burials made me wonder exactly how green do you go.

Maybe you’re like me and you’d like to reduce your “carbon print” without jumping straight to compost potties. Here’s a few beginners steps to going greener.

1. Buy Biodegradable
What does it actually mean when something (like the StuCard) is biodegradable? Well, first off, it’s not going to sit around in a landfill for all of eternity. It will break down into mostly water, carbon dioxide and organic matter within six months. Try to avoid stryofoams, “PVC” or “#3”  and plastic cutlery. Look for #1 and #2 plastics, which are easier to recycle and don’t produce as many toxins. Bring a mug to work, buy a reusable water bottle, and use the same dishes and silverware throughout the day.  If you have to buy throw away companies like biocorp make their cutlery from corn and sugar.

For more information on biodegradable products click here.

2. Make stuff
You can actually make your own hand soaps. We’ve all probably heard of the natural cleaning products (using vinegar, water, and castile soap) but even things like teeth whiteners can be made naturally (just a mashed strawberry and some baking soda).When buying “natural” soaps, shampoos, etc. make sure to look in the ingredients to double check for any parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, isobutyl). These ingredients are definitely not natural.

3. Recycle (creatively!) 
I’m not just talking separating your papers from your plastics– I’m saying re-use! So much of what we wear or use and then get rid of can be restored into something new! Paper bags can become handmade cards, jeans– journal covers,  and so much more. If you need ideas or want to support someone already doing this, check out sites like etsy– pretty average people getting creative can be very inspirational.

For my favorite etsy creator, click here.

4. Keep it Cold
If you’re washing laundry, running the dishwasher or taking a shower– the cooler the water, the better. Personally, I’ve made it a practice to save my showers for after a run. My body is warm enough that a nice cool shower feels great and it’s even good for dry skin!
If you don’t need hot water to wash a laundry load, use cold, and if it’s nice out, line dry your laundry. Another way to save energy is to flip off your “heated dry” option on the dishwasher, prop the door open, and let them air dry.

My fav etsy creator is soul sister. She made this sweet messenger bag from recycled plastic bags.

4. Buy Local
This can be food, clothing, accessories–anything! It’s true that it’s more expensive (I’ve been buying from a little vegetable stand near my house). But when it comes down to it, I’m saving gas by not driving to the store, and I’m eating healthier at the same time.  Why buy local? Well, the products didn’t come from five states or 1500+ miles away. So you’re cutting out your share of oil use  from shipping this produce and materials, and you’re supporting local farmers and businesses.

It’s A Process
Going green is a process, we know. But it’s well worth the effort when you realize how much you can help our world and hand it down to the next generation with a clean conscience.

Have some more go-green tips you’d like to share?