If Martha Stewart is the ultimate domestic goddess, who can create fanciful designs and aesthetically pleasing décor items with little more than a bucket and some sprigs, I consider myself the antithesis. I need extensive materials, directions and — truth be told – lots of help to churn out anything remotely beautiful. Not surprisingly, the whole process of going green, becoming eco-friendly and exercising that environmental consciousness muscle has me worrying. How does a SoCal gal who visits the health food store for entertainment (not for buying) turn it around? Well, there are five greening opportunities that even the city gal can embrace for greener tomorrows.
Sure, I’d love to receive online statements! This one is so simple that it really shouldn’t count (but it does). Like so many other busy career women, I have long since decided to do banking and bill-paying online. And why not? After all, it’s usually not until the wee hours of the night that I have the time to take a look at what’s due. With so many vendors now offering paperless billing, opting in is an excellent opportunity to avoid the envelope and paper statement. Better yet, by opting to go paperless, there won’t be any of the advertisements that usually come attached to the bills!
Tame the flashing lights. In the dead of night, have you ever noticed just how many flashing, blinking and ‘ready’ lights illuminate the home? Did you know that all those gadgets suck up electricity for doing nothing (other than sitting there, letting you know they’re ready for use)? Feel the backs; they’re warm! I have found that hooking all the electronics to a power strip is a real simple task. At the end of the day, all I need to do is hit the off-switch and all is asleep and dark. No more wasted electricity.
Did you bring your own bags? Why, yes! How difficult is it to bring your own plastic bags to the store? If you’re like me, they’re probably multiplying underneath the sink right now. Oh sure, you never know when you’ll be heading to the store; I am so with you! That said, consider that – with such an abundance of bags already – it is easy to stuff a whole bunch into a holding bag, put it in the trunk, and have it ready when the mood (and the shopping trip) strike you.
Wash clothes in cold water. Eat your heart out, Martha, but they now actually make a detergent that specifically works in cold water. With the World Watch Institute explaining that approximately 85 percent of washing machine energy goes to heating water, this cuts down quite a bit on the energy expenditures of the daily loads (especially if you house a few boys who take any and every opportunity to fall into mud, sand, dirt and other staining substances).
Quit doing the dishes so often. Really? Absolutely! In addition to saving a lot of electricity, only running the dishwasher when it is completely full also saves water
.Are you convinced yet that going green is a lot easier than it sounds? Oh sure, I would love to eventually drive a hybrid, have solar panels installed on my roof and get the neighborhood association to not roll its eyes when I want to put up a clothesline. Until then, these easy-to-achieve and incredibly cheap eco-friendly greening opportunities make it possible to gradually steer my entire household into a much more environmentally friendly direction.
Who knew that it doesn’t take the type of domestic prowess of a Martha Stewart to make some real changes that are not only simple but also convenient? Maybe I will try my hand at some décor items next…
World Watch Institute: “10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green”
More from Sylvia Cochran:
Worm Composting for Kids
Top 5 Environmentally Safe and Occasionally Flushable Cat Litter Brands
Advice for the Environmentally Challenged: Celebrating Mother’s Day the Green Way