Last weekend we had a sustainable living coach stop by our house. We've always recycled in our apartment and used scratch paper for printing but it never really went beyond that. Toying with composting recently we wondered what other simple things we could do in our apartment that could really make a difference. Six simple tips anyone can do after the jump. Deborah Tull, owner of Creative Green in Silverlake (who happens to also teach workshops at All Shades of Green) stopped by our apartment last Saturday. She gave us amazing resources, tips and how-to's for our space. We decided to handpick our favorite six sustainable living tips out of our pages of notes. We have a long way to go in order to be totally green but Deborah reminded us that it's important to start small. 6 Tips For Sustainable Living
- Create an urban eco-pack for yourself when you're out and about. It should include a food container to pick-up meals of to-go food at your favorite restaurant. Also add to your eco-pack, utensils, a mug or a SIGG bottle. And most importantly, just say no to the plastic bag.
- If you're washing dishes in the sink and letting the water run--you're wasting tons of hot water. What Deborah suggested is picking up 2 metal containers (or if you already have them--great). Fill one tub up with hot soapy water. The soap she recommended is a brand called Shaklee. It's eco-friendly and biodegradable. Then fill the other tub up with plain water for rinsing. When you're done, you can dump both tubs on your plants for watering because the soap is totally natural and biodegradable.
- Get off junk mail lists--now! A website called Catalog Choice enables you to decline catalogs you'd no longer like to receive. Simply register, select unwanted catalogs and click decline. If you’d like to reduce the amount of unsolicited advertising mail you receive, you can go to this website. You can also reduce credit card offers by “opting out.” Call the toll-free number: 888-5OPT OUT or 888-567-8688, and request that they take you off of their lists, or opt out online at Opt Out Prescreen.
- When using the washing machine, it's always best to use cold water and wash at non-peak hours. Usually between the hours of 6-8 am and 8-10 pm. Also, try to use a drying rack or clothes line whenever possible to dry your laundry.
- Create your own natural cleaning products at home with this simple recipe. For an All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.
- When you flush the toilet you are wasting water. To conserve water you can place an upright glass jar (quart or pint) into the tank. The jar will remain filled with water when the tank is flushed, saving a pint or a quart each time you flush. Deborah also reminded us of a saying that she lives by in her house, "If it's yellow then it's mellow" (essentially saving a flush).
- Stop energy from escaping your electronic devices (aka phantom energy). Most of the electronic devices in your home stay on even when they're off. Deborah's says that a cord that plugs into an outlet or power strip that has a square or rectangular base is usually zapping energy even if it's not in use. To reduce energy waste, simply unplug when not in use or use a surge protector and flip the switch to the off position.