Living a greener lifestyle is a conscious choice. It requires some effort, but most of that effort lies in getting started. Once you’ve crossed that threshold, it’s hard to stop. It’s a lifestyle that forces you to be more creative, one that requires you to be self- aware and conscious of what is going on around you; not only that, but it’s a more affordable lifestyle in the long run. In these difficult economic times, choosing a green lifestyle means spending less money, and learning to do things for yourself, be it cooking or DIY projects.
If you’re thinking about going green, there are a few small things you can do to start. Aim to make one green change every day. Some green changes do require you to buy more stuff in order to cut down on future purchases. So, I’ll call this a mini-shopping edition of Adventures in Greening.
Here are some suggestions for ways to Green yourself on the go before the weekend:
Monday: Buy a reusable water bottle, and say goodbye to plastic bottles. With all of the water bottles on the market, it’s not hard to find one at your local supermarket or drugstore. But go BPA-free. Stainless steel is a great option: check out Klean Kanteen’s website for their colorful choices. You’ll be considered a fashionista if you purchase a glass bkr bottle, which seem to be popping up all over Hollywood. Fill up before you leave the apartment and stay hydrated all day!
Tuesday: Bring your own coffee/tea with you to work in a thermos or coffee tumbler. You’ll save money by making your beverage at home, and you’ll save on trashing the environment by avoiding a single-use cup at the coffee shop. Once again, Klean Kanteen has a variety of insulated options (also great for hot foods like soup, no microwave necessary). Starbucks has some nice travel coffee mugs, as does KeepCup, which makes tumblers that are the exact size of cups used in most coffee shops (making it easier for the barista to make your drink). If you don’t want to buy new, reuse a mason jar. Cuppow sells travel lids that transform canning jars into travel coffee mugs: Green and chic.
Wednesday: Buy a reusable shopping bag. Okay, you don’t really have to buy new in this case – you can use any bag at all, really. Old college backpack lying around? Bring it with you to the store! Canvas totes, purses, messenger bags, oversized clutches … if you have it with you, make use of it! You may have to remind the cashier once (or twice…or multiple times; hey, it’s a new trend) that you have your own bag, but it’s worth it. If you’re like me, and keep your plastic bags for possible future use, then you also have a closet that is being overtaken by bags, and try to avoid accumulating any more. If you do need a reusable bag, or are looking for a lightweight, compact option, check out ChicoBags. No bigger than your hand, they’re easy to carry around, and you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your bag in the event of an unplanned shopping excursion.
Thursday: Buy reusable produce bags. This takes buying a reusable bag for the grocery store just a tiny bit further. If you know you are in need of fresh vegetables or fruits, bring reusable produce bags. These are also great for using in stores that have bulk bins. If you’re bringing your own bag to the grocery store to eliminate using plastic bags, why not eliminate using plastic for your fruits and veggies, too?
Friday: Bring your own lunch to work. Make it the night before: try a quinoa salad, or avocado, corn, and chickpea salad. You can pack your delicious meal in a storage container, and sleep in a few precious minutes longer in the morning. Plus, you’ll save yourself the cost of buying lunch, and avoid all of the throwaway packaging that comes with it. If you’re bringing a sandwich, there are reusable sandwich bags that work quite well and are easy to clean. You can even use your own reusable utensils, like To-Go Ware’s bamboo set that comes in an easy-to-carry pouch.
Going green doesn’t have to be a difficult task, and you can make a fashionable green statement by using any of the above products. Good luck on the hunt for the reusable items that best suit you, Greenies!
Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.