Going Green, Saves Green v.1
We have been learning a lot about going "Green" in the past decade. People all over our country and the world are beginning to wake up to renewable resources and how each household and business can make small changes that combine to make a large impact on the overall planet.
I have found many ways in my own home to save the planet and "Go Green". In doing so I have noticed savings in my own pocket that I can not deny. I am going to share some simple things that I do in my own home to save money and the environment. These things include saving water, energy, food and gas. These changes are easy to implement for everyone in your home, all it takes is a little investment, effort and time.
At first you may need to purchase a few items to assist you in getting the process going in your home, however the cost of these items will be minimal to your savings by using these simple techniques over the years.
Items you will need:
2 plastic tubs (that can fit in your kitchen sink)
1 bucket (per bathroom)
1 recycle bin (for your kitchen)
20 dish towels or microfiber cloths
2 or 3 boxes of different sized plastic bags
1 Brita Water Filter
1 BPA Free 2 gallon water container
1 CamelBak Better Bottle 25oz (1 per person in household)
1 Thermos Hot/Cool Travel Cup (1 per person in household)
You should having the following items on hand for simple green cleaning in your home:
1 Large White Vinegar
1 Large Baking Soda
In the Kitchen
Simple ways to save water:
Houses with a Dishwasher:
If you are in the habit of rinsing dishing before you load the dishwasher, running the sink for just 4 minutes straight can use roughly 20 gallons of water. Place one of the tubs in your sink and fill it with water and soap.
Garbage disposals also use a large amount of energy and water. Throwing solids down the drain is unnecessary, simply set aside a plate at the start and scrape any food or solids onto that dish. If you have a dog you may want to separate scraps. Throw all these items and any oils directly into your trash bin. Do not send them down the sink. Rinse all dishes in the soapy tub.
Make sure you only run the dishwasher when it is completely full.
These simple steps can help you to save over 125 gallons of water per week if your household does the dishes just once per day.
Houses without a Dishwasher:
On average it takes 10-15 minutes to clean up after a 4 person meal. Place one of the tubs in your sink and fill it with water and soap to about half way. Have a clean reused glass jar handy. Fill the other tub about 1/2 way with just hot water.
Wash your dishes in the soapy bin. Use the glass jar to gather water and rinse most of the soap from the dish before rinsing it again in the hot water rinse. Keep the hot rinse water as clean as you can by using this process. If your soapy water becomes too dirty or your rinse water too soapy. Simply dump some of the soapy water out, fill that bin with the hot water rinse and run a new hot water rinse for the rest of the dishes. Once done with the dishes, take your rinse water (which should still be fairly clean, and save it in one of the bucket in your bathrooms.
Using this process can save up to 500 gallons a week in the average 4 person home if the dishes are done once per day.
You are probably wondering why I am having you save water in buckets. It is a very simple thing, you see you can "gravity flush" toilets just by pouring water into them. I "gravity flush" all yellow water in our house, for number 2's you may need to flush depending on your system. This saves you a gallon of water a flush. I use the restroom roughly 5-6 times a day. 5-6 gallons of water per day over a month saves you roughly 180 gallons of water per month. Times that by however many people you have in your home and you can see that can also quickly add up and cost save. I also place the buckets in with me when I shower, using low use water heads I place the bucket right under the shower head, any excess that misses me is caught in the bucket for future use, I just try to be careful to keep soap out of the bucket, but it's not a huge deal if some gets in. You can also use this water to clean your bathroom or floors when you are done. The water stays very clean (unless you have a husband that is covered in drywall dust, in that case...you can tell him to skip using the bucket when he comes home from work) and is useful, so don't waste it!
Additional Green Things
I do not buy plastic water bottles, I instead filter my own water keeping a ready supply in my 2 gallon BPA free container. I drink a lot of water so if I were in the habit of drinking bottled water I would be costing myself a huge amount and filling our landfills with non-biodegradable items. I fill up a travel water bottle for each member of my household each night, and we also have permanent travel mugs with us at all times. I will not use throw away coffee cups either. The cost savings is usually small when stopping at a gas station or coffee stand and using your own cup, but the knowing you are saving the planet with this little step is a rich and rewarding feeling, everyday.
Save table scraps for dogs and cats! I know it may seem like throwing that tiny piece of chicken in the trash is not a huge deal, but everything can be used. I set aside left overs in containers and plastic bags, when I am not able to gather up enough for another meal for someone in the family I make sure to label the food "droozle". Droozle is a process we do for our own dogs and cats. It makes the food more enjoyable for them to eat (I mean come on we don't eat the same meal everyday, yet we expect them to?). I cut up the pieces of left over meat, potatoes, veggies, whatever it may be and boil it in some water making a flavor gravy aka "droozle" and pour it over their dry food to make it more enjoyable and also to make the meal warm. I like my food hot afterall, I'm sure they do too. It's a great way not to waste ANY food in your home.
All left overs should be chilled to room temperature before being placed in the fridge to keep the fridge from rising in temperature. This will help save on your electric bill as well. Once room temperature they can be placed in the fridge with minimal impact to the temperature. Keeping you fridge fuller is also a cost saving method. The more cold items in the fridge, the more the fridge is able to keep the temperature, turning on less frequently to maintain it.
Keep your home at a consistent 69 degrees during the winter. There is no reason to turn the heat to "off" in your home. It is a proven fact that maintaining temperature rather than trying to raise it when you get home saves energy. You may be thinking that 69 degrees is a little to cold, but my thinking is that it is free to put on a sweater and a pair of socks, it is not so free to raise my home another 4 or 5 degrees. Get a Slanket (the original quality version of a snuggie) and snuggle up with your loved ones.
Keep your home at a consistent 78 degrees during the summer. 78 is completely comfortable, yet people set their thermostats more frequently to 72 degrees. That extra 6 degrees of cooling actually costs you quite a bit of money. I run hot so I understand people who want to be cool, but lose some clothes, put your hair up and deal with it. 78 isn't so bad! Some people don't even have air conditioning.
Think before you drive! Make sure you are only making one trip and plan out your trip to use the least amount of gas. Check your tires once a week (I keep a tire gauge in my purse, not my car because if it's in the car glove box I'll forget to do it, but if it's in my purse I see it enough to remind myself to check on my tires). Keep your car tuned up and your oil fresh. Set your cruise control as much as possible, that system is made to save you gas as it provides a consistent as needed flow to keep you at a steady pace.
Mix up your own environmentally friendly cleaners. You would be surprised all the things you can clean with a lemon. Additionally you can make a paste from vinegar and baking soda that will even take off lime stains. There are many recipies online for in home green cleaning. I find myself saving so much money. As I shop I take notice that these cleaning supplies are skyrocketing in price, yet vinegar and baking soda remain at about a dollar a piece. Plant a lemon tree, use any lemon scraps from cooking and mince them in the blender. Send them down the garbage disposal to keep it smelling fresh.
Try to keep yourself clean and wear your clothes more than once. I tend to wear a pair of jeans 5-6 times before they need to be washed. I am not kidding. I swap out clothes as soon as I get home. I guess I never lost the "school clothes, play clothes" rule that I had as a child. I change and hang up my work clothes as soon as I get home, same with jeans and tops. I then dawn my comfortable house clothes which I don't worry to much about, cleaning in them is no problem and the same with cooking. I might be a clean person in general because I don't notice a funk or smell to my clothes when I wear them more than once, some people I am sure can't get away with this habit depending on the type of job or body they have, but if you try to just wash less it will not only save you more water but also energy.
Last but not least, one you have heard countless times. Turn off all lights in rooms that are not in use, unplug any chargers from the wall when they are not in use. Train your kids and your family to take the same steps you do. Give the planet a chance! I hope you enjoyed this hub, I plan to do some more in the future as I adapt my routines and find more ways to cut corners for the environment and my wallet.
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