Just got back from a my bro's wedding in Maui. Congrats to the happy newlyweds, "Mel Squared". For the trip I traveled with my greenest friend, not Henry the Martian, but Tam the Greenie Bee. She composted before I knew what that meant and took infrequent showers before I could appreciate the joys of never showering (I kid, sort of). She recycles everything and almost never buys anything new. A real role model, if you will.
Well, even though I consider myself pretty damn environmentally conscious and live greenly, watching her work her magic was at once impressive and humbling. She uses soap until it's out, including taking it with us from hotel to hotel. She brought plastic bags from the mainland so when we were at the farmer's market, she whipped them out like a pro. She possibly would have composted too had she not feared the legality of digging in public spaces.
I feel a new wave of green energy to do even more than I have. So, below are a few basic ways to stay green.
BE GREEN TIPS
1. Reuse plastic bags and/or have specific bags for grocery shopping.
2. Don’t flush every time you use the toilet. Call it a habit from living in drought ridden Cali.
3. Turn off all lights when not in use (same goes with the TV, heater and air conditioner).
4. Buy organic, local produce like at farmer’s markets.
5. Wear clothes with natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, hemp…
6. Do not buy new clothes but rather get creative by reworking your old ones, swap with friends, or buy used on ebay, swap meets, garage sales, second hand stores,…
7. Have plants in the home to filter the air and rid pollutants.
8. Separate trash for: compost, recycle and garbage.
9. Use cloth towels (can be made from old cotton shirts or worn out towels) instead of paper towels.
10. Donate or sell nearly all items you do not need, even batteries and large appliances. It can be tax deductible and profitable. Just look online for places that do it. Craigslist.org or freesharing.org are places to start. Both places you can get and give stuff for free or buy/sell.
11. Print on both sides of papers.
12. Use mugs instead of paper cups at work.
13. Bring extra eating wear like lightweight plates, utensils and cups when eating out (you can cheat at fine dining establishments).
14. Carpool, walk, bike, motorcycle, public transportation, or plan errands wisely.
15. Bath only as needed, not daily, and wash hair once a week at most. Keep buckets in the shower to gather water for plants.
Like all things new and good for you, it can take time to build good habits. It's a conscious decision to change your lifestyle. Consider following the Compact method on a small scale at first. My class on fashion conducted a social experiment to confront consumerism and waste head-on by trying the Compact method for a few weeks. Our efforts are documented on our begreen101 blog.
Good luck and let me know how else we can be green. Or inform me of your progress. I am still working on the list myself.