- Get the plastic and disposables out of your lunch. Member The Tattooed Mommie suggests that you bring your own coffee mug to work. Why not take that advice one step further and invest in some nice glass containers for bringing your lunch. Not only will you love saving money on plastic bags, but you’ll feel good knowing that choosing alternatives to plastic helps lower demand for petroleum products.
- Buy organic. Although there is still controversy over the higher nutritional value of organic foods, there’s no doubt that organic foods and clothing are much better for the planet. If the cost is an issue, here are the most important food items to spend a little extra on. On the clothing side, it’s interesting to find out that a quarter of the world’s pesticides are used on cotton crops, so if you switch to organic cotton clothing, you get a lot of environmental bang for your buck.
- Eat less meat. Work it, Mom! Member MaryP mentioned that she is cutting out meat altogether. You don’t have to make such a dramatic change to make a big impact. In fact, if your family were to cut out one pound of meat a week, that would have the same environmental impact as driving 40 miles less in an SUV.
- Get creative about transportation. Try out the public transportation in your area. You’ll be surprised how convenient taking the bus can be. Many people are not in the market for a hybrid or an electric car, but don’t realize that there are some other options out there. One of the newest and hippest options is to go for an electric scooter like the ones sold at Extreme Scooters. They are more affordable than you might think. If electric isn’t your bag, try an efficient gas powered scooter or motorcycle. If you need to buy a regular gas car, consider buying used. A large portion of the energy that a car uses during its lifetime happens during manufacturing.
- Take inventory of efficiency. When appliances wear out, it’s a great idea to go for energy efficient replacements. That’s pretty straight forward, but some areas of efficiency that you might not think of are things like insulating your water pipes and duct work in your house. It’s possible that once the pipes are insulated, that you’ll be able to turn your water heater down, resulting in lower energy costs and a smaller carbon foot print. Also, don’t underestimate the value of insulating and caulking the rest of your house. All those tiny cracks and poor insulation can be the equivalent of having your front door open during the winter.
- Use low energy settings on office appliances. Switching the office copier to standby mode could cut energy costs by up to 70 percent. Don’t forget to switch off your computer monitor, or use the sleep settings on your computer. To find out more about saving the planet at work, read this member article.
- Use eco-friendly cleaners. Eliminating chemicals from your home is a wonderful thing to do for our environment in order to protect our air and water from pollution. If you’re feeling ambitious, Clean and Green offers some great recipes for making your own cleaning products. Otherwise, the Green Seal website keeps an up to date list of products that they certify as environmentally friendly.
- Get involved in your community. Programs like the WE Campaign started by Al Gore are starting all over the place. You can get e-mail notifications about what’s going on in your area and have the opportunity to send communications to your elected officials.
- Don’t feel guilty about using your microwave. A microwave oven uses a LOT less energy than your standard gas oven. So if you can, microwave what you’re heating up. If you do have to use your oven, remember that when baking for an hour or more, you don’t have to preheat. Check out this great member article if you feel that you need a little more of a boost on going green in the kitchen.
- Respect fresh water. Whenever possible, avoid buying bottled water. Filter your own, and carry it along in a reusable water bottle. Also, make sure to run only full loads in your washing machine and dish washer. Member tkd_mama has some cool ideas on how to help get even the neighbors interested in water conservation. It all adds up.
As the green movement gets rolling, more and more moms are asking what they can do to help the environment that will actually fit into their busy lifestyles. Here are 10 quick and easy tips to get the green ball rolling.