Being more green is more difficult than being less green, but there are so many different ways that we can be green without trying too hard. Here are some simple tips…enjoy!
1. Use coffee grounds and to fertilize your garden. Bonus: Tea too!
Plants love used coffee beans because they are rich in nitrogen. Simply mix them in with your soil, or just sprinkle on top. Sure, it’s not the most horrible thing to throw coffee grounds away, but save some trash space and make your plants happy by using them in your garden!
2. Printing? What are you stuck in 2009?
Thanks to computers, there is little reason to print much of anything anymore. Obviously, there are some laggard industries that still print heavily, but the future is in paperless transactions and files. Save your emails in the cloud (aka on the internet). Instead of printing documents on paper, print them to PDF format, and save them to your computer, or simply email them where they need to go. Macs can do this out of the box, and Windows computers can do it through cheap software. Alternatively, Windows Vista and 7 users can print to a format called XPS, which is very similar to PDF. This format is great for saving and sharing documents amongst Windows users.
3. Paperless account statements and bills
While you’re cutting back on printing, why not encourage others to as well? Most companies that produce bills now have paperless options. Instead of waiting for bills to be delivered via snail mail, why not just get an email when your bill is ready. Pay it online, save a stamp, save a check, save an envelope, save a minute! After you’ve paid, print the bill to PDF, and save it on your computer.
4. Re-usable coffee mugs
So many of us go to cafes on a daily basis, and yet so few of us actually use reusable mugs. You can get a cheap one for a few bucks at a place like Target, or spend a bit more to get a sleek aluminum mug. Either way, you’ll save a lot of paper cups over the lifetime of the mug, and you’ll save a few cents with every coffee you order, since most coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own mug.
5. Use less soap.
We’ve got a bit of an obsession with cleanliness in the US of A (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but unfortunately, it drives us all to use much more soap than we really need. In addition to being wasteful, soap is not the best thing in the world for the environment. Here are some tips:
When washing your hands, use a half pump of soap. Soap bottles tend to come with pumps that dispense more soap than necessary, so you’ll use it quicker and buy more.
When washing your clothes, you don’t usually need a full scoop or cup of detergent. Most of the time, you just need a little bit of soap to remove sweat and odors from clothes.
6. Stop buying junk.
We’re all pretty guilty of this. If you sit down and think about how much stuff you buy that serves little to no use, or is just low quality, you realize that you’re not only wasting money, but you’re wasting natural resources. Buy only stuff you need, and if you think you’ll get a lot of use out of something, you should probably spend a few extra dollars to get a high quality version of it.
7. Don’t waste food. Re-purpose it!
Common sense, right? Of course, but we still waste a lot of food! Instead of throwing that two day old baguette in the trash, dry it out in the oven and throw it in the blender for easy and cheap bread crumbs. After cooking meat, use the bones to make delicious stock. Throw old veggies in the stock for extra flavor. Take leftovers for lunch. Freeze anything that you won’t have time to eat.
8. Work from home.
Many of us have the luxury of being able to accomplish all of our work tasks outside the office. Save some gas, save yourself a commute, all while being able to remain comfortably at home. Just don’t tell the boss what you’re (not) wearing!
9. Stop recycling. Start reusing
Sure, recycling is probably better than throwing things in the trash, but how about instead of throwing things in the recyling bin, find uses for the things you would normally recycle. Glass bottles can be used for all sorts of things: from art projects to…glass bottles. Plastic bottles can be used similarly.
10. Stop buying bottled water, aka the dumbest invention ever
It’s expensive, it’s wasteful, and it can be easily replicated at home without being expensive and wasteful. First of all, the water. Water is heavy, and wasteful to transport. Does it seem ridiculous to grab some water in the mountains, then put it in the back of a truck to deliver 1000 miles away? Even worse, water that has to be flown in from Fiji. The second problem is the bottle. It requires so much energy to manufacture, then recycle the bottles, plus many of the bottles end up in the trash. Instead, get a water filter and a sturdy bottle. You’ll be saving money and energy and time.
11. End your subscriptions, and get online!
It’s no wonder that print publications are going out of business quickly. The internet has provided the same service, yet uses significantly fewer resources, and has much quicker response time to news. With Twitter, you can discover news in real time, while in the past, we’d have to wait until the next day to read about it in the paper.
12. Stop buying DVDs and CDs.
It won’t be very long until we no longer use physical media for the content we love to consume. We’re already used to watching videos on YouTube, streaming movies from Netflix, downloading music from iTunes, and even watching our favorite TV shows on Hulu.
13. Hybrid cars
Are you in the market for a new car? Consider a hybrid! Save some money on gas, plus release less pollution in to the air. Many different kinds of vehicles are available with hybrid motors, so you don’t necessarily have to drive a Prius. Bonus: Drive in the carpool lane and get some tax benefits.
Bebe au Lait is a company that is deeply concerned about the environment, and we’re always trying to find ways in which we can reduce waste, cut energy usage, and contribute to a more healthy and beautiful planet.
The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.