Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How To Go Green In 2015

Many people start off the year with some lofty goals for how they will live a healthier lifestyle this year, and do more to help others as well as the planet. One great way to do that is to adopt an environmentally friendly, or "green" lifestyle. However, many people find the idea intimidating. Perhaps you think it takes someone special to live green, or maybe you believe it requires a certain personality type or income level. But in reality, green living is within everyone's reach.

This month, we will share some ideas for helping you live a cleaner, greener, healthier lifestyle in the year(s) ahead, starting with the 4 tips below.

Think Before You Buy

English: Eletrical wire reel used in MORAR MAI...
Eletrical wire reel used as an eco-design coffee table. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In our modern culture, it's tempting just to go out and buy something new, cheap, and (usually) plastic whenever we have a need. But used items are worth considering, either from second-hand stores, antique stores, or yard sales. And it might pay to look around your house for hidden treasures first.

For instance, you may decide you need a lemonade pitcher or a container for iced tea. Rather than getting a cheap plastic one, look around and see what you can reuse - maybe a glass juice container that you were going to throw away would work just fine.

Did you know it's considered "green" to buy pretty much anything second-hand? Clothing, furniture, lamps, appliances and so forth can all be purchased second-hand for a fraction of the cost, and it helps keep those items from being thrown away.

Shop Local for Food

If you've looked at the price of organic food, you might think you can't afford to go green with regard to the foods you eat. But you don't have to buy the expensive imported organic foods to be green; it's just as eco-friendly to buy locally-grown produce or foods that are produced near you.

Foods like honey, vegetables, fruits, breads, and meat can often be found at decent prices from local producers - and you're also supporting your local community (try a CSA for an even easier shopping experience). Organic whole grains and dried beans are still pretty cheap, and switching to those is a move in the green direction.

Plastic recycle logo PET, Polyethylene Terepht...
Plastic recycle logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to doing the usual "recycling thing," you can also look around and think of creative ways to recycle or reuse items around your home. For instance, use empty jars, cardboard tubes, and cereal boxes in crafts, or reuse plastic food tubs for storage (you could paint them or cover them with construction paper first if you want to pretty them up).

Look at yard sales and second-hand stores for your household needs - this is not only cheaper; it also means you're reusing (recycling) items that are already in circulation. Recycling means more than just shipping off your plastic, glass, and metal to the recycling center. It also involves reusing items to avoid buying new ones. That's budget-friendly for just about everyone!

Conserve Resources

From saving water, to reducing energy consumption via your heating and cooling system, to using blinds for passive solar heating and cooling, there are lots of things you can do to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint that not only don't cost you much money, but can even result in some significant savings!

Buy following these tips, at least some elements of the green lifestyle are within everyone's reach, and with just a few simple adjustments, you can live a healthier, cleaner lifestyle this year. Be sure to check back later this month for some more tips to help you live green in 2015.

One of our goals this year is to update our website to include even more helpful resources. Along with getting our little homestead going, we're going to be extra busy this year! For the time being, we are switching to a once-per-week posting schedule, so be sure to check back each Wednesday for more healthy green living tips.

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