Friday, January 18, 2013
Five More Tips for Getting Green
As you guys know, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my life more green. I’m limited by the fact that we live in an apartment building (so tips like “weatherize your home” and “buy energy saving appliances” aren’t feasible right now), but I do what I can. Here are five more things I’ve done recently to lessen my environmental impact just a little bit more:
1. Use a cotton shower curtain. This is veering deep into hippie territory, but a while ago I read about how horrible for you (and the environment) plastic shower curtain/liner offgassing is. You know that smell that accompanies a brand new plastic shower curtain or liner? That’s pretty much poison. Yikes. So, I went online and bought an organic cotton shower curtain to use instead. We put it up in August when we moved, and we love it. I actually also bought one for both my sister and my mom for Christmas (lamest present ever?). It does a great job of keeping the bathroom floor dry, it’s all natural (ours isn’t even dyed, so it’s a neutral oatmeal color), and when it looks kinda dingy or mildew-y we just throw it in the washing machine (which we’ve only had to do once in 6 months) and then hang it back up to dry. We have a window in our bathroom that’s usually open just a crack for ventilation, and the shower curtain dries out in no time. Seriously it’s the best $25 I’ve spent in a long time and I highly recommend you go and get yourself one too.
2. I’ve tried to find ways to reduce how much plastic I’m using. I used to buy individual yogurt cups and take one to work with me every day, but once I ate my yogurt I didn’t have anywhere to recycle the little plastic cup (I suppose I could have washed it out and taken it home to recycle it, but that didn’t occur to me at the time). Now I buy a big tub of yogurt (which is cheaper anyway) and parcel out a little portion to take with me every day in my reusable Pyrex container. The big tub stays at home and when it’s empty, I wash it out and recycle it. I know that individual serving sizes are more convenient but I try to make the extra effort to reduce trash, even if it is less convenient for me.
3. I have finally effing stopped going to Starbucks, and when I get coffee or food out anywhere I ask for porcelain instead of paper cups/plates/etc. Why throw away paper when you can reuse dishes, amiright?
4. In that vein, I took a set of my own dishes and cutlery to work to wash and reuse. No more paper plates or plastic ware for me! Unforeseen bonus: I feel kind of fancy eating my soup with a regular spoon, or cutting something up with an actual fork and knife.
5. I have switched to absolutely, no-kidding, 100% hippie laundry detergent. Most of my other cleaning products were switched over years ago, but for some reason I kept buying the uber cheap dye-free Up & Up from Target. After reading an eye-opening article about sulfates, I now buy detergent that is so free & clear I’m not entirely sure it’s actually soap. It might just be $11 water. Whatever, it still gets my clothes clean, along with my guilty liberal conscience.
Other things I've tried to do to be more green can be found here, here, and here. Got any suggestions or things I'm missing?