Going green without breaking the bank – Blog Action Day 2007

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Today, Oct. 15, 2007, is Blog Action Day where I join over 15,000 other bloggers to write about the environment. I have chosen to write about ways to go green without breaking the bank.

The decision to go green is a wonderful one – both for you and your family and for the environment. However, it can be overwhelming at first, especially if you are living on a budget as most families are. Today I’m going to make some suggestions for ways you can become more environmentally-friendly without breaking the bank.

Something important to keep in mind is that going green is a work in progress. You don’t have to do everything today to make a difference. You can start by selecting one or two things and add onto it every week or month. Every little bit helps. By the end of a year, you’ll be amazed at all of the changes you’ve been able to make.
Here are just a few things to get you started to go green without spending a lot of money.

  1. Make your own household cleaners. Vinegar and baking soda are two important ingredients for homemade cleaners. They are inexpensive and, chances are you already have both in the house! I found some great recipes here and here. Imagine how nice it will be to clean your bathroom with your kids nearby or in the same room without the fear of toxic fumes in the air. And you can breathe a sigh of relief when your teething toddler chomps down on your coffee table because you don’t have to guess what chemicals are on the table (and in her mouth) when you know it was cleaned naturally with olive oil and lemon juice. Not convinced that homemade products can cut the mustard? Here’s an interesting science project that compared the efficiency of both commercial and homemade cleaning products.
  2. Unfortunately, along with better health for you, organic foods also tend to come with a heftier price tag than their conventional counterparts. However, the good news is that not all foods are horribly pesticide-laden. Get yourself a copy of the Organic Dirty Dozen, keep it in your purse or wallet and shop for organic foods accordingly. Here are the 12 most contaminated that you should buy organic if you can: • Apples • Bell Peppers • Celery • Cherries • Imported Grapes (from Chili) • Nectarines • Peaches • Pears • Potatoes • Red Raspberries • Spinach • Strawberries. On the flip side, here are the 12 least contaminated where buying organic isn’t as critical, especially if money is an issue: • Asparagus • Avocados • Bananas • Broccoli • Cauliflower • Corn (sweet) • Kiwi • Mangos • Onions • Papaya • Pineapples • Peas (sweet). Even better and cheaper than buying organic is to grow your own organic produce. Here’s more about which organic foods are worth the extra money.
  3. Use reusable bags instead of plastic or paper bags at the grocery store and ALL stores. Stores like Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, IKEA, Trader Joe’s and even Safeway are now selling reusable bags – some places for only $0.99 each. You can buy 6 for under $6 which should accommodate your groceries for the week. The bags are sturdy and hold a lot more than plastic bags do. You can also buy reusable bags at Reusablebags.com and 1 Bag at a Time. Unsure why plastic bags are so bad for the environment? Here’s a 10-minute film to enlighten you on the curse of plastic bags.
  4. Unplug your appliances when you aren’t using them. Even if items are in the off position, they are still using energy. Unplugging doesn’t cost you a cent to do and will save you money!
  5. RECYCLE your plastic, glass, aluminum and paper! Go to Earth911 and enter your zip code to find out what is recyclable in your area.
  6. Shop at second-hand stores for clothing, etc., and donate, give or sell your old clothes, shoes, etc. to others. It is especially easy to buy gently used clothing and items for babies and toddlers. I just bought the kids some “new” (to them) clothes this weekend. They are cute, in good shape and very affordable. Again, this tip will save you money.
  7. Change the light bulbs in your house to energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)CFLs are four times more efficient and last up to 10 times longer than incandescents. They cost more upfront, but will save you money on your electricity bill almost immediately and they last from 8 to 10 years!

For even more tips on going green, please visit my Earth Day 2007 post.

While today is a special day to blog about the environment, you can be sure this is not my last post on the topic. There will be more from me in the months ahead as I learn more ways that I can do my part to help save the planet. :)

Lastly, I want to say congratulations to Al Gore for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I hope this honor helps bring more immediate attention to the serious matter of global warming.

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Did you participate in Blog Action Day? Please sign Mr. Linky below with the link of your Blog Action Day post so that others can go read what you had to say about the environment. :)