Earth Day 2009! Go Green Without Spending a Penny


Today is Earth Day, and there are so many ways to love our
planet and your wallet at the same time. If you can’t afford pricey solar
panels on the roof of your house this year (who can?), and you’re not quite ready to trade in your morning car ride for a morning bike ride to work, why not opt to make some
free, easy changes? Show the
Earth some love and commit to taking just a few green baby steps.

Going green
does not have to be time consuming, and all-encompassing. Without making any
major adjustments to your life, you can reduce your carbon footprint immediately.
All you need is a little consciousness and dedication. Think of Earth Day as
the first day of the rest of your green life. Commit to green habits and
greener living. I surveyed the staff here at, and together we
compiled a list of the 13 things we do that might help you too. Here’s how:

1. What to do: “Replace your dish and clothing detergent with
eco-friendly brands.”

Why they help: Okay, I can’t promise that the eco-friendly
brands will be the exact same price, but I will promise that by making the
switch, you’ll be releasing a lot less toxic, harmful chemical into our water
systems. Check out this great review of eco-friendly detergents to help you pick the best one for you.

2. What to do: “Reuse your water bottles.”

Why this helps: There are literally thousands and thousands
of water bottles sitting in landfills. Where do you think they’re going?
Nowhere. In fact, the chemicals in them will melt into the soil which grows our
food. Lovely. Either stop drinking from water bottles and use your own cups (more
on that below) or use no more than one a week. Keep refilling it and washing it
yourself. Do not put it in the dishwasher, plastic water bottles are not
dishwasher safe.Have you seen the island of trash, TWICE the size of Texas?

3. What to do: “Start a mini-recycling program. Focus on
recycling only paper products.”

Why this helps: People often have good intentions when
starting recycling programs, but they think too big. They don’t realize the
amount of garbage they accumulate, and how many carloads a week they’ll be
taking the recycling center in the absence of curbside recycling. Why not start
with one project? Paper. If you’re used to throwing away newspapers, try first
recycling those, along with old magazines, paper cups, junk mail, and other
paper goods you’d normally toss. By starting small, you’ll get yourself into
the habit of recycling without feeling overwhelmed. Check out this guide to easy recycling! It tells you what to recycle and how to prepare it for recycling.

4. What to do: “Shut the doors to your home quickly.

Why this helps: Every time you open the doors to your home,
cool air escapes and your home must work extra hard (read: use more energy) to
overcompensate, since you have that thermostat set at 68 degrees. Hurry up, get
in the house! Only bring in as many bags of groceries at a time as you can
carry while you shut the door after yourself. It’s tempting to leave the door
open while your kids play outside, but instead, why don’t you join them?

5. What to do: “Reuse containers bought for other items (deli
meat) and wash them and bring my leftovers for lunch the next day in that all
the time. Bring your lunch in the plastic bags you carry your groceries home

Why this helps: We have a tendency to throw out old
Tupperware and plastic containers when we aren’t sure what to do with them.
Food packagers are notorious for using way to much material to wrap and contain
way too little product, so you end up with an overabundance of plastic cartons and
tin foil wrappers. Use them again! Grow an herb garden in your
old egg carton or keep receipts in an old cracker box. Before you throw that
container away, make sure you have absolutely no use for it. You never know,
that piece of trash might be the canvas for your child’s next masterpiece.


6. What to do:” Paint with “green” paint.”

Why this helps: Contrary to popular belief, “green” paint is
not more expensive than other name-brand options. Oil-based paints contain high
levels of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which you and your family inhale
when you paint your home with them. They are highly toxic. Milk-based paint is
much more eco-friendly and safe for the home.

7. What to do: “Bring your own cup to work.”

Why this helps: Styrofoam is so out of style. Seriously, who
still uses and throws away Styrofoam cups each day? If your office still has this
nasty habit, it’s time to call it quits. Stop usage immediately. Some forward
thinking companies, like Shell, have started requiring that employees bring a
non-disposable cup from home to drink from. Imagine if every office in the
world switched to non-disposable cups! Let’s start with you, though. Maybe you
work for a huge corporation and you don’t even know your CEO’s name to go to
him with a complaint. Go to your direct supervisor. See if he will allow you to
make this small change within your department. You’ll all benefit from it by
not being so wasteful and you’ll save the company money because they won’t have
to buy you and your co-workers cups anymore.


8. What to do: “Don’t turn lights on during the day. Raise the
blinds a little bit for daylighting.”

Why this helps: The concept of Daylighting is as old as man
itself, we just have a fancier word for it. What do you think ancient man did
to light his cave? He utilized the sun to the best of his abilities. He hung
wet cloth on the outside of his dwelling so that when wind blew, cool air came
in. Let’s pretend we’re cavemen (or cavewomen) and use the sun to the best of
our abilities. Raise your blind a little bit and let just enough light in
without letting in too much head. Significantly reduce your energy costs this


9. What to do: “Turn the lights off in your home for one hour
every evening.”

Why this helps: when darkness falls, we have a tendency to
turn on every light in the house. For one hour every evening, try lighting your
home with candlelight, or turning on as few lights as possible. You might even
be pleasantly surprised by the romantic mood you’ve accidentally created.

10. What to do: Switch to fluorescent light bulbs. 

Why this helps: Yes, these are more expensive, but they last
twice as long. By switching to lon
ger lasting, more energy efficient lightbulbs
you’ll save money over time AND reduce your energy bills. 

11. What to do: Combine your errands so you drive less.

Why this helps: It’s no secret that we, as a society, are
dependent on oil. Reduce that dependency by choosing Super Target or Super
Walmart instead of three different stores to run your errands. Shop at a strip
center that contains all the places you might want to go, then walk from store
to store. All your errands will be done in one trip, and you’ll save dozens of
gallons of gas over the course of a year.

12. What to do: Shave two minutes off your shower.

Why this helps: Seen your water bill lately? Between the
laundry, the dishes, and your showers, it’s probably pretty high. If you
showered for two less minutes each morning, you’d save tons.

13. What to do: Ask your bank and utilities companies to stop
sending you paper statements.

Why this helps: Every month, you receive pages
and pages of statements and bills, and what do you often do with them? Throw
them in the trash (or if you’re smart, you shred them). Join the 21st
century by receiving your bank statements electronically and paying your bills
online. You’ll save pounds of paper each year.

For Earth Day ONLY, will take 15% off the most popular and top rated bamboo shade. Enter code Green1Day at checkout. It’s our gift to you and Mother Earth.

Happy decorating and happy Earth Day,


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