10 Sparkly new Green Ideas

Originally posted on April 24, 2010 at 8:18 PM

One trend I’m all about: it’s cool to go green. Go ahead, celebrities, promote your agenda on the talk shows, be seen donating to green charities, drive a hybrid. This is one bandwagon I won’t judge anyone for jumping on. No matter your political party or personal ideals, I think we can all agree to waste less and recycle more. Even if nothing else motivates you, most earth-friendly practices save your wallet, too. So jump on board.

We’ve all heard the same suggestions a million times: turn off and unplug electronics when you’re not using them, buy and use canvas grocery bags, recycle cans and paper, switch to energy-efficient light bulbs… And let’s face it, if you’re not doing at least some of those, you’re not even trying. I know, I know: not all cities have convenient recycling programs, which is a crying shame, but you don’t have to have the big green bin to participate. Whether you take it to the curb or not, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks that you might not have thought of.

1) If you have the willpower, work out at home. You’ll save gas by not driving to the gym, and time, for that matter. Alternatively, jog to the gym. You want to work out anyway, right? So warm up by getting there, hit the weights, and then cool down by walking home.

2) If you cycle through drastically different hairstyles like I do, donate your hair when you chop it all off. There are several charities that use real hair to make wigs for children with hair loss and cancer patients.

3) Print on both sides of printer paper for all non-official documents. THEN recycle that!

4) Don’t put your trash and/or recycling bin by the curb every week unless they’re truly full. Skipping every other week saves the workers stop-and-go power, which saves gas, which reduces the city’s carbon footprint. Just imagine if every household did this! The city’s waste program would cut their emissions in half (which could, eventually, save tax-payers money!).

5) Use the recommended amount of product. We tend to think that more shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, etc. will get things cleaner and do the job “more.” But more isn’t better; it’s wasteful. The recommended amounts are recommended for a reason: too much shampoo dries hair out which makes you want to use too much conditioner, which causes buildup and the need for more shampoo… you get the idea.

6) You already recycle cardboard and paper, but have you thought of toilet paper rolls? The backs of packages such as batteries, mascara tubes, etc.? Also: recycle used batteries.

7) Save the wax wrappers from sticks of butter and use them to grease your bake pans, cookie sheets, etc.

8) Save dryer lint as a handy fire-starter for your fireplace.

9) Planet Green has some fun ways to go green “between the sheets,” such as warming things up in the winter and showering with a friend: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/sex/sex-top-tips.html

10) But remember, the best “recycling” happens before a product ever hits that big green bin: reuse and reinvent… then, if all else fails, recycle. Paint old furniture to give it new life — and a room a fun pop of color. Donate your unwanted items to charities such as Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity, and shop there too. A little ingenuity can make that old, out-of date accessory a quirky, new one with just a can of paint or some ribbon. Have fun with it! (Hey, the celebs are!)

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