Too often these days, living “greener” seems like it has to cost us extra “green.” However, this certainly doesn’t have to be true! This is the first in a series of articles discussing ways to go green on the cheap.
When you think about it, the original Environmental Mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” could also be a Mantra for frugal living. It’s true! Living cheaply and living light on the planet go hand in hand. Read on to learn more!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce. Reducing your use of resources is the best way to cut back on expenses, as well as on waste. As you go through your day, ask yourself at every opportunity, “How can I reduce my use of this product?” For example, do you use hairspray as you get ready in the morning? Perhaps you could use less spray but still achieve the same effect. Or maybe you’re willing to try a new hairstyle that would not require styling products.
As another example, do you use the amount of laundry detergent recommended on the bottle? Manufacturers who create those recommendations have an ulterior motive – to keep you buying their products! Try cutting back to half of the recommended amount, and then keep cutting back little by little until you start to notice a difference in the cleanliness of your clothes.
The Reduce idea can be carried through to less tangible items, as well. How can you reduce your use of electricity? Water? Gasoline?
Reuse. Before you throw something away, ask yourself if the item can be re-used in any way. An old T-shirt could make a great rag. A cereal box could provide cardboard for any number of uses. Junk mail envelopes make great places to write out a grocery list. If you can’t reuse it, can someone else? A friend used to collect junk paper for her sister’s homeschooled kids to use for art projects. Church, daycare, and after-school programs will usually happily take donations of empty cardboard tubes, juice cans, and other craft-project items.
Recycle. Though recycling is what most people think of first, it should actually be the third thing you consider, after reduce and reuse. If you can’t reduce your use of an item, and it can’t be reused when you’re finished with it, try to recycle it if you can. Our local area offers limited recycling pickup with the garbage pickup, but citizens can take other recyclables to area drop-offs. There’s nothing particularly money-saving about recycling, except remembering that it’s the LAST step, not the first!
In the next article, we'll discuss the first step – Reduce – in a bit more detail!