By: Joy Paley writes forchristiancounselingdegree.org and for onlineclasses.net" These days, everywhere you look someone is giving tips to live a “greener” lifestyle. While it makes sense to keep the earth in mind, a lot of these tips aren’t that easily implemented by people who are on a budget or lack certain skills. Sure, I’d love to install solar panels on my roof or a low-flow plumbing system, but right now what I really need are sustainable tips that help the earth and my pocketbook. So I did some research to bring you these six tips that you can put into practice at home—without expert skills or a lot of money.
Start a Home Compost
Home composts aren’t just for tree huggers and eccentrics anymore. They’re a simple way to considerably green up your home, by reducing the amount of waste you send to the landfill. Instead of putting those food scraps in the garbage, just throw them into a small outdoor bin. Composting takes little effort: Sprinkle some water on your bin of old food, stir it up, and nature will take its course, turning your waste into free yard fertilizer. And, you’ll be saving money by reducing your garbage bill. Here’s a quick guide to getting started.
Why waste money paying for water when you can get it for free? Just set a barrel or old garbage bin under your gutters when you’re expecting a rain shower, and you’ll be doing mother nature a favor. Instead of leaving your sprinklers on all throughout the year, you’ll be able to water your yard with the barrels you collect. This water is a lot easier on the earth because unlike tap water, it’s not being diverted away from streams and natural reservoirs to get your house.
Join a CSA
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a type of organization that lets the local community support nearby growers who practice sustainable farming. When you join a CSA you’re essentially buying into a farmer’s harvest—helping fund the costs of getting the crop into the ground and tending it. In return, you get a share of their harvest in the form of a weekly produce delivery to your home or a distribution point near you. Use this page to find a list of CSAs in your region.
Use DIY Home Cleaners
Many home cleaners contain noxious chemicals that are harmful to manufacture and pollute our water supplies when they run down the drain. For most daily cleaning jobs you don’t even need those harsh chemicals; you can actually make cheap, nontoxic solutions from ingredients you already have at home. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemons are some examples. National Geographic has a roundup of the essential DIY household cleaners.
Eat Less Meat
Did you know that if you cut out one meal of chicken every week for a year and replaced it with vegetarian food, it would be equivalent to taking half a million cars off the road? Even if you can’t imagine yourself going vegetarian, removing just one meal of meat a week can drastically cut down the greenhouse gases that result from raising livestock. These simple veggie recipes can get you started.
Buy a Power Strip
Some electronics are real energy suckers—they keep drawing energy from the wall, even whey are turned completely off! Plugging all your electronics into a handy power strip is a simple way to ensure that they’re cut off from the power source and won’t be wasting energy when you’re not using them. It’s a handy way to be frugal and save energy.