i admit, living green is not something that comes easy to me. i like long, hot showers and eating off-season strawberries year round. but anyone who has spent time in another country can attest to the fact that americans waste resources. a lot. and i think we can all agree that making an effort of conscious living helps us appreciate the many luxuries we often take for granted.
the problem with many green-living tips is that they can be inconvenient, expensive and overall annoying. some are relatively easy (switching to energy saving light bulbs), while others are a nuisance (the sudless natural, organic dish detergent i bought at trader joe's). here are some green tips that have been both easy and effective for me:
1) travel mug. anytime you bring in your own tumbler or travel mug to a participating Starbucks, you get 10 cents off your drink every day! http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility HOLLA! plus travel mugs keep your favorite morning pick-me-up hotter for much longer.
2) unplug those unused chargers! i'm guilty of not doing this on multiple occassions. my brother, the energy warden, is always scolding me for leaving my chargers plugged in, sucking out what he calls 'vampire energy.'
3) byob. your own bags of course. reusable bags are so convenient. not only do they hold much more, they're cheap and don't leave plastic lashings on your arms and hands. pretty much every store sells them now-- the hardest part is remembering to take them with you on your shopping trips! make sure to keep them near your purse/keys or stash them in your car so you'll always have them ready to go. i usually keep one in my purse at all times, just in case.
4) vegetarian-for-a-day. while i'm a full-time vegetarian, i understand this is not realistic for everyone. so pick one day a week (meatless mondays, tofu tuesdays), or even just one meal devoted to a veggie-friendly lifestyle. there are so many great vegetarian recipes out there; some of my go-to dishes are eggplant parmesan and tofu tacos. who knows, maybe you'll find yourself a new favorite recipe!
5) send an e-card! written letters and cards carry a certain nostalgia with them, but they use up lots of paper. on that someone special's special day, send an e-card and save both money and a tree. many sites such as http://www.hallmark.com/online/product/ecards/ and http://www.bluemountain.com/ have free e-cards for all occasions that are interactive and can be personalized with your own photos!
feel free to leave some of your own green living tips!