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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Being green to save green. . . .

Last month, I wrote a post illustrating how little garbage I've created, since I began living more frugally. I'm much more conscious of what I buy, and therefore, the items that I throw away.

In doing some additional reading about even more ways to save money, I compiled a list of behaviors that will not only contribute to your pocketbook, they will help you live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle!

Line dry: The book I'm currently reading describes all of the resources and energy that go into creating a cotton t-shirt (growing the cotton, picking the cotton, transporting it, making it into cloth, etc); did you know that just drying that t-shirt in the machine over the life of the garment results in double the resources used? Kind of astounding, really. According to this website, you could potentially save $135 a year by not using the dryer!

Cloth diapers: Think you can't save money this way? Well, Trent over at The Simple Dollar actually analyzed this, and found that if you do it right, you actually can experience savings! And think of all the plastic you'll keep from sending to the landfill.

Invest in a thermos or re-usable hot/cold cup: This alone has probably saved me hundreds already. Because I bring my own coffee to work, I have no need to go to the local coffee-shop, where I'm likely to purchase an overpriced muffin along with my overpriced mocha! Added to this is the fact that I'm not using cardboard or styrofoam coffee cups. Think of the other foods you can put in a thermos: soups, tea, chili, anything you'd like to stay warm (or cold)!

Let the lawn go: While pretty, lawns are some of the most environmentally unfriendly plants to have in your yard. They use lots of water, and if you have a gas-powered mower or edger, you're adding to the pollution in your neighborhood. I won't even go into the dangers of pesticides getting into the storm drains and thus into local streams and rivers. Let your lawn go a few more weeks before cutting it. Let it go brown in the summer---it'll come back, I promise! Better yet, plant wildflowers, succulents, or other unthirsty plants in its place!

Collect that rainwater: Along with the lawncare, consider getting a rain barrel or other water collection device, so you can put that rainwater to good use in your garden. I dread my water bill every quarter, and am always looking for ways to conserve. Get Rich Slowly actually has an interesting post on this as well. . . .

Start a carpool: Many, many people don't have access to great public transportation, like I do. How about getting together with your coworkers (or people who work in your general area), mapping out where you all live, and learning whether you might be able to help each other save some money (and the environment) by carpooling to work?

I know some of you out there (you know who you are) have been living frugally for years; can you think of things that you do or have done that can help save money and reduce pollution at the same time?

2 comments:

SpillingBuckets said...

Have you seen Frugal Babe's homemade cloth diapers? They are cute and very cheap to make.

R and I decided a while ago to use cloth when we have kids, and this just seems fun.

FrugalMomLA said...

Very interesting ideas but I have to say that cloth diapers, while a good idea in theory, was, at least for me, a nightmare. They leaked all the time; I couldn't figure out how to wrap and pin and was always worried about poking the baby, and it's messy. I love the disposable diapers even though I so wish that they were biodegradable. Actually, I think there are some that just came out recently but the cost is prohibitive. In terms of letting the lawn go or having a laundry line, our HOA would cite me. But, carpooling is doable and I've noticed that our local grocery store parking lot is now packed with cars around the fringes by 8 in the morning--why? Because people are carpooling. When conscious-raising and sincere pleas for the environment doesn't work, opportunity cost does! Maybe these high gas prices will finally galvanize Americans into action!

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