1. Recycle – space is at a minimum in our tiny apartment, so I didn’t recycle when we first moved to DC. Then one day I hung a reusable shopping bag to stow some bread and realized it would be the perfect way to recycle.
2. Reusable Shopping Bags – greatest invention EVER! I love that rather than 15 small plastic bags (actually 30 because they are double bagged) that feel like they are about to break, I can bring my groceries home in 5 reusable bags that I have gotten for free! It is easier to transport my groceries, easier to sort my groceries, and therefore easier to put my groceries away!
3. CFLs – This was easy, and actually our first go green effort. Before moving to DC, Mark worked for Osram Sylvania, the light bulb company. When you work for a light bulb company it is hard to ignore the benefits of switching to CFLs.
4. CSA – we joined a farm share with Orchard Country Produce. From May-October we enjoy locally grown fruit and vegtables, reduced the carbon foot print of our diet, eat better for you foods (I even started to find edible ways to prepare brussel sprouts – see my recipe from last fall here) . Plus, our grocery bill has gone down. We get an entire cooler of vegtables each week for less than $20! To find a CSA near you, visit Local Harvest.
5. Walk – Mark and I both walk to work. It is a no brainer!
6. CamelBak – I consume at least 48oz of water each day from a reusable, BPA free water bottle. I love my CamelBak. It keeps plastic bottles out of my trash and helps me stay hydrated.
7. Cold Wash – I wash all of our laundry with cold water.
8. Cloth, Not Paper – Rather than reach for a paper towel, I grab a dish rag. And even for casual meals, we try to use cloth napkins instead of paper.
9. Organic Cleaners – We use Seventh Generation for our dish soap and laundry detergent.
10. Red Meat - we have reduced our red meat consumption to only once a week. In addition we make a concerted effort to buy organic meat and farm raised fish.
Top 10 next steps we hope to take:
Top 10 next steps we hope to take:
1. Stop catalogs and unnecessary mail solicitations. I have called many of the companies that send me catalogs and asked to be removed from their list. Click here to learn more about opting out.
2. Smart Power Strips - I have been meaning to buy these power strips which automatically turn off when your appliances are not in use. In doing this, they prevent "ghost power" from being used, and in turn help you save on your electric bill!
3. I have been thinking about composting, but this might have to wait until we have a house.
4. Speaking of houses, when we buy one, if we need new appliances, we will choose Energy Star appliances.
5. And if we can, we will sign up for green electric from our power company. To research if you can sign up for green power, visit the Department of Energy.
6. I hope to rig up a water collection barrel like the one featured in This Young House
7. Buy Glass - Glass is easier to recylce and requires less chemicals. Whenever possible I am going to try to buy items I need in glass containers. (i.e. mustard)
8. Shorter Showers - I LOVE my long showers, but I recognize that this is an area where I need to be more responsible. But I am warning you, it is not going to be easy!
9. Walk MORE - I know I already walk a lot, but I want to continue to make a consious effort to walk or even ride my bike when I need to run an errand in the city.
10. Talk - One of the best ways to help the planted is to talk about ways to save it. So get out there and share with others what you are doing to make a difference! (And while you at it, leave a comment and let me know what else you do to go green.)