10 Ways to Green Yourself

# 1. Start Sustainable.

Sustainability is the ability of an eco system to maintain ecological processes, functions, and productivity into the future. You can use products that are sustainable, and are always replenishing themselves, such as fast growing bamboo

# 2. Recycle everything.

Do not stop at recycling your plastic bottles and paper bags. In fact, one billion bottles of water are transported around the United States each week, and it is probably better to avoid buying them altogether. Buy re-usable water bottles, and make sure they are BPA free.

When you go shopping, try to buy used clothes and used books instead of new. Donate your clothing, books and toys to thrift shops or consignment stores. Some people think that buying used clothing is gross, or unsanitary. It is just simply not true. Often, people do not try on clothes from thrift stores, and with their prices you do not have to. So newer clothes are usually actually 'worn' by more people. Sometimes, department stores will even donate brand new clothes to second hand stores, from overstock or the items that did not sell for the season.

Did you know you can even buy recycled ink jet cartridges? Not only are they cheaper, they are just as good as the new ones.

If you have a baby, reuse cloth diapers.

Use items like reusable Tupperware to save food as opposed to plastic bags and disposable wraps.

Discard paper towels and paper napkins, and trade them in for washable cloth.

Save and reuse grocery bags you get from the store, or even better- buy a reusable bag. Not only are these recycling tasks going to help our planet and make you feel good about yourself, they are going to save a lot of green from your pocket, which is especially helpful during these times of economic hardship.

# 3. Save Energy

Go through your house and make sure everything is sealed, and if it is not seal it up.

Turn your computer off when you are not using it. You have probably heard the popular myth that it uses less energy to leave it on all day than to keep powering up. Well, it is what it is- a myth.

When your phone is not charging, unplug your charger. It actually uses energy when it is plugged into the wall- even if the phone is not hooked up to it.

Buy Appliances that boast the energy star label on the box.

I know, its common sense, but I'll say it anyway. Turn off your lights when you're not home, turn off your TV when your not watching it, etc.

# 4. Get More Exercise

Consider alternate forms of arriving at your destination. Walk, bike or take the bus. The other day I saw a man go to the store half a mile from his house to buy two items, just to come home and walk the treadmill. It would have been just as easy, and so much better for him had walked to the store for those two items. I know people who work a block from their house, and still drive, even when they are not running late. Even if you do not work close to home, a walk to the bus stop still helps. People complain that they do not have time to walk to their local destinations, and often bite my tongue to keep from mentioning the years they would add to their life if they just got some exercise. So save two birds with one stone- be green and be lean!

# 5. Go Online

Most companies, even some small businesses, are going online when it comes to billing. Call your energy, gas, utility, and credit card companies and see if they have an automatic bill pay program. Some companies offer a discount for people who pay online, not only because it is the 'green' thing to do, but because it saves them money in office supplies. Save money and paper by using e-mail as opposed to letters.

# 6. Use debit cards for your payments instead of checks.

Go to your favorite magazines' website, and chances are you can view the entire magazine online and for free.

# 7. Conserve Water

If you live in a dry climate, do not plant a bunch of bushhes and flowers that would not thrive there naturally. Next time, try Xeriscaping. Xeriscape is the term for landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplementary irrigation. Its simple- all you have to do is plant things that would grow with the climate naturally.

Fix all leaky faucets in your house. It is cheap and easy to do, and will help save our natural resources and money on your water bill.

# 8. Buy Local and Organic

Not only would you be supporting your local farmers by buying their produce / dairy, you would know where it came from. Go to your local farmers market, and feel free to ask the farmers any questions you may have. Ask if there are any chemicals or bug repellents used on the vegetables, and when the meat will expire. If something from the grocery store is 'certified organic,' that means it meets the FDA criteria.

# 9. Clean Cleaning Products

Replace your stainless steel and silver polish with half a lemon. Lemon juice can also remove lime build up from mirrors and windows.

Vinegar is one of the best cleaning agents there. It does not smell great, but it does a great job of covering up odors such as pet odors. Also, running vinegar and water through your coffee pot, and then running just water to remove the vinegar, will get your coffee pot sparkling and the taste fresh.

Baking soda is something you can mix with vinegar or water for an intestinal sanitizing effect- without the chemicals.

Corn Starch can clean windows and furniture, and even be used in ironing or to shampoo your carpet.Salt, mixed with equal parts vinegar, removes mildew.

You'd be surprised at how many of the best household cleaning supplies are already in your home.

# 10. Spread the Word

Telling other people how they can help the planet is just one way you can spread the word. Global warming is a very real issue, and it needs to be recognized.

Volunteering is an important step to doing your part. Whether it is planting some trees or picking up trash on the side of the road, there are endless ways you can help

Blog, write articles, post your feelings on forums. Motivate others to do the same.

Something as little as a picture of something representing environmentalally friendly suggestions on a bumper sticker really can speak a thousand words.