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Tips for Transitioning to a Green Life

Going green can be overwhelming. If you take it one step at a time though it’s not so hard and can be rewarding. 

Tips for Transitioning to a Green Life, Eco-friendly Tips

Being green sometimes seems like a never ending and expensive adventure. Seriously, how much do I have to change in order to “be green?” It can feel like you are going to go into debt just to switch over to being green!

Well personally, I feel that it is an one step at a time process. Pick the things that matter most to you and start there. Work your way into the other areas that might require more money and/or time. While I love living as naturally as possible every little bit matters. I’m still taking it a step at a time. So even if you are only doing a few things that are “green” it makes a BIG difference in the long run!

Green Living Tips

Here is a list of some things you can do in your home with/for your family to live more naturally.

  1. Recycle. Many communities offer free curbside recycling. But if not, there are often locations in the community where you can drop off your recycling. And for older kids it can be a project you give them, I know I did that as a kid- e.g., collecting old soda cans.
  2. Organic. It can be expensive to buy all organic. So, if you’re like me and can’t afford to go all organic right now, purchase organic items from the Dirty Dozen list.
  3. Meatless Monday. Reducing the amount of meat we eat is healthy for ourselves and the environment. Try cutting back one day a week. It’s also a fun day to try creative new recipes. Check out Meatless Monday for more information.
  4. Homemade Cleaning Products. Making your own cleaners is super easy and very effective. A solution of half vinegar and half water is an all natural disinfectant that can replace conventional disinfectants.
  5. Cloth Diapers. If your baby is in diapers consider switching to cloth diapers. There are less toxic chemicals exposed to the baby’s skin and they are better for the environment. Check out the Real Diaper Association for more information.
  6. Save Energy. Turn the lights off when you’re not using them. Also, when the light bulbs in your house need replaced, choose the energy efficient ones.
  7. Reusable Shopping Bags. Reusable shopping bags are a great way to save trees and avoid plastic. I have decided to just buy a few bags each time I go to the store, until I get enough to completely sack all my groceries in them. This way I don’t have to spend money all at once on bags.
  8. Read Labels. Try and not purchase processed foods. This can be hard for some families who are very busy, so read the labels and avoid high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Both are very bad for our bodies.
  9. Be Informed. There are many things in our products that we are unaware of, check your cosmetic products with the Skin Deep Database and join the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families petition for congress to have stricter regulations and guidelines for chemicals in our products.
  10. Be An Example. You don’t have to make a massive transition overnight. Show your friends and family that it is easy to make changes that are good for you and the environment, by simply taking it one step at a time. Share what you know!

Additional Resources

Join our email list for even more green living tips! And share your tips in the comments below. 

Ten Ways to Go Green in Oklahoma

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15 Easy Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill

Last year people had record high electric bills to go along with the record heat. As we finish up the hottest spring in state record it’s a great time to work on cutting your energy use to help save some money. While there are a lot of ways to cut your electric bill, these are some easy tips to get your started.

  • Get your A/C tuned up. Having your A/C tuned can help it run more efficiently, which in turn saves you money.
  • Keep your windows covered. Closing your blinds and curtains can help keep the sun from shining in and heating up your home.
  • Unplug unused items. Many electronics use energy even when they aren’t in use. By unplugging them you stop this vampire energy. You can even buy special power strips that turn the items all the way off for you.
  • Change your light bulbs. Using CFLs and LEDs can help cut your energy use and also give off less heat so they heat up your house less than traditional light bulbs, saving you even more.
  • Use fans. Fans can help make the room feel a few degrees cooler without using anywhere near as much energy as your A/C. Remember to turn the fans off when you aren’t in the room as they cool people, not rooms.
  • Keep your A/C filter changed. This helps keep your A/C running efficiently.
  • Turn off heat dry on your dishwasher. This setting isn’t really needed and it wastes energy.
  • Wash your laundry in cold water. 90% of the energy consumed by your washer goes to heating the water. Using cold water will make a big difference in your electric bill.
  • Wash full loads. Washing full loads of dishes and laundry helps cut down how many loads you have to run.
  • Clean your refrigerator’s coils. Dirty condenser coils make your fridge work harder to keep your food cool.
  • Use your stove and oven more efficiently. Things like turning your oven and stove off a few minutes before you are done with them helps reduce energy use. The built up heat will keep cooking your food for awhile after it’s turned off. Also be sure to use lids on pots to keep the heat in and use the right size pots for the burners to efficiently heat the food. And only preheat when needed, for things like casseroles or foods that cook for a long time, preheating isn’t always needed.
  • Allow your food to cool before putting it in the fridge. This helps keep the food from heating up your fridge and making it work harder.
  • Keep your freezer full. A full freezer helps keep the food cold with less energy. If you have extra space just fill up soda bottles with water and freeze them.
  • Turn the thermostat up when away. Turning up your thermostat a degree or two when away from the home can help save you money. You don’t want to go much higher than that though because it can be hard for the a/c to get caught up when you do get home. Even better get a programable thermostat or use the one you have!
  • Sign up for OG&E Smart Hours. Using OG&E Smart Hours can help you track your energy use and also by using the peak hour rates you can save a lot of money.

These tips will not only save you money, they will also help you go green!

Do you have easy tips for saving energy this summer? Share your tips in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo Credit: functoruser



Make a Commitment to Go Green for Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, what day is better for setting some green goals for yourself? No goal is to small when it comes to helping our planet, even small actions add up. Here is a list of some green goals to get you started.

  • Ditch bottled water. Bottled water has a big impact and most of it is just tap water that is being bottled and shipped in. If you are worried about the quality of your tap water get a filter, you will still save a lot of money! There as so many great options for reusable bottles these days, my favorite brands are Klean Kanteen, Earthlust, and Lifefactory. I do recommend avoiding plastic bottles which won’t last as long and may give off toxic chemicals.
  • Ditch plastic shopping bags. Plastic shopping bags make up a lot of the litter in the world, they are even ending up in our oceans in mass numbers. A lot of energy has to be used to make something you will use for just a few minutes. Reusable bags are stronger, come in many great styles and some stores even give discounts when you bring your own bag! Some stores in Oklahoma where you will find discounts include Native Roots, Whole Foods, and even Target! I recommend skipping the cheap bags you see in some stores and going with good quality ones, some of the cheap ones have lead. Some of the locally owned stores have cotton options that are safe and durable. Other good brands include ChicoBag, Envirosax, and Flip & Tumble.
  • Skip straws or bring your own. Straws seem like such a small thing but the US uses more than 500 million disposable plastic straws everyday! That’s a lot of plastic waste! A lot of the time you really don’t even need a straw but if you want one try out some reusable options like glass or stainless steel. I’m a big fan of GlassDharma glass straws.
  • Buy from the bulk bins. Many stores like Native Roots, Forward Foods, Whole Foods and Earth Natural Foods have bulk bins where you can buy the amount you need and you can bring your own containers to refill to reduce both food waste and plastic waste.
  • Recycle everything you can. Find out what your city recycles and even nearby cities with drop-offs. You can also recycle other items around the state, you can find some suggestions on our Recycling page.
  • Install a programable thermostat. Programable thermostats make it easier to be sure you aren’t over cooling or over heating your house. Many now allow you to have several settings. Mine is set to different temps for night, during the day, and during work hours. You can also set a lot of them for vacations and have the house already to a comfortable temperature for when you get home without leaving it on that setting while you are away.
  • Buy used. Buying used helps prevent new resources having to be used and keeps things out of the landfill.
  • Set up a compost bin. Composting your food waste is simple and a great way to cut down the amount you send to the landfill. Many home improvement stores now carry compost bins for very reasonable prices.
  • Drive less. Walk, bike, take public transportation, and carpool whenever you can.

These are just a few tips to get you started. We would love to hear what your goals are for going green this year, post in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Photo credits: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

About the Author

Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.