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I often hear people say the reason they aren't doing the green lifestyle is because it’s expensive and just plain too much trouble. Well, that would depend on your definition of “green”.
All it really means is being conscious of how much you toss in the trash or how toxic the consumables are that you use every day. There are many easy ways to use less and not pollute in the process.
I have often found that with a little thought and internet surfing you can often end up saving money in the long run.
Reuse is the easiest way to enjoy the green lifestyle.
It may require some lifestyle changes but if you take it slow and just change one thing at a time you won’t even notice. Many people think they will have to go out and buy all this new “green lifestyle” stuff.
That's the opposite of the Reuse idea. Instead, when something wears out, think before you replace it with an identical item. Maybe the new item is made at a company with a good “Green rating” or the cleaner is made from plant based ingredients instead of petroleum.
It is easier then ever to find reviews of products on the internet.
Learn to read ingredients before you take the big “natural” or “organic” label on the front to heart. If you can’t pronounce it, then you don’t want it on your skin, on your dishes or for that matter any where in your RV.
Then again, maybe in the time it takes you to research a replacement you figure out you don’t really need it any way…see, saved you money right there!
The RV lifestyle is very conducive to the green lifestyle. The whole reason we do this is to experience our country first hand, right?
Lets leave it better for our having been there.
Cloth napkins (remember those) – Buy them on clearance (they don’t have to match, think eclectic) and toss in the laundry with the towels. How about Bandanas? A roll of paper towels will last us months. Paper towels are for cleaning up messes
Handkerchiefs - again these seem to have fallen out of favor because of good commercial advertising.
Reusable food baggies – if you sew, make some (there are free patterns online) – if you don’t buy a few, try them out …then do the math on all the Ziploc bags that you toss in the landfill every week. You can use them in the freezer or for bulk food storage…endless possibilities.
Ever use a Gallon Milk Jug for a sandwich bag. I have made a few using the gallon milk jugs - they keep your sandwich from getting squished.
Real plates/glasses/utensils – very little water is needed to clean a plate or bowl; and, if you cooked the meal, it seems pointless not to just add a few plates and utensils to the dirty dish pile. Even when we boondock we clean plates, a quick rinse or wipe before putting aside for later cleaning means less water will be needed in the wash.
We ordered this 20 piece dinner set of stainless steel from Kitchen Ware Mart 6 years ago and absolutely love them. They weigh nothing and you can't break them (unlike the 6 ceramic bowls that jumped out of the cabinet and committed suicide on the tile floor). The little bowls are very handy for snacks or condiments. They may seem a little pricey but they literally will last a lifetime.
Coffee drinkers – I meet a lot of people with single cup machines. Convenient - but costly and very wasteful. They sell reusable cups for those machines (plus you get to buy bulk coffee or tea, therefore more choices).
Also ceramic or stainless steel travel mugs taste better and stay hotter.
Tea drinkers – loose tea is usually fresher and you have more choices. Saves tons of packaging. There are good companies online that will send it to you if you are not in a big enough town to have a local tea or coffee house.
My favorite Tea (plus herbs, oils, etc.) is Mountain Rose Herbs.
Cloth cleaning rags – Disposable cleaning wipes are all the rage but have you ever thought about how much you are tossing in the trash - all those wipes (made of synthetics) the containers (plastic) and the toxic chemicals in the solution. How about a homemade cleaner Less Toxic Guide in reusable spray bottle and an old t-shirt.
Microfiber cloths are wonderful dust rags without having to use a dusting spray (don’t use fabric softener when you wash) or as reusable Swiffer pad (wet or dry).
Bulk buying – there only two of us but I still buy bulk food, spices and soaps. The spices you get in the store can already be a year or more old. I buy online and store in small mason Jars (so I don't keep opening the large jar letting air in) or you can split with a friend.
Since they are fresh to start with you can store them and not have to worry.
Reusing empty containers – turn that cereal box inside out and use it to send your next parcel through the mail. Small bottles/jars are great for storing loose teas, premixed favorite spice combinations, any small items that need containing.
Larger food grade
plastic containers are great for storing your dry bulk items (rice, beans,
cereals, chips, granola and grains).
Mason jars are great at storing everything. I bought some half gallon ones for my dry beans, rice and grains.
the ladies – reusable feminine napkins or menstrual cups – you can
find them online – you use, then toss in the wash or hand wash respectively…amazing
amounts money saved on this one. There are lots of shops on Etsy that sell them or make your own.
Reusable grocery bags – best save ever…plastic bags are made from petroleum and we toss them in the garbage left and right. Carry a cloth fold up bag in your purse and you will be surprised how quickly you will get in the habit of saying “I have my own bag”…. I don’t get as many weird looks from cashiers, anymore - which is encouraging.
bags – You forgot your reusable bag a few times so now you need to use
up these plastic things, instead of just using for cat litter or trash how
about making plarn (plastic bag yarn) knit or crochet it into something
useful. Search for tutorials online. Lots of ideas on Pinterest or on this DIY site.
Crafters – unravel that old sweater (super cheap yarn) or cut up that old t-shirt/sheet and knit, crochet or loom it a new life. Rag rugs are easy to make (I keep a small one tucked next to the door for unexpected muddy shoes) and you can throw in the wash. I put them in a pile with the cleaning rags and wash when I get a full load. Here's a great site on how to unravel a sweater.
Shoe boxes – you may say “duh” but the trend is to buy the plastic ones (made from petroleum and not decomposable)…the cardboard ones are free and organize just as much of your stuff. A label is just as good as seeing inside.
The point is before you throw it in the trash take a second look and you may be able to find a new use for that item, very different from it designer’s intention but perfect for your needs or invent a replacement. so next time you don’t even have to think about going near the trash can.
How do you reuse your “trash”? Share your green lifestyle tips with us.
Do you have a great tip or hint about living green? Share it!