Do you think that you have to buy all new products and spend a lot of cash in order to support a clean environment? That could not be further from the truth. There are a number of ways to support a clean environment that require no expenditures at all.
The first behavior is what I call “the paper towel challenge.” I was out of paper towels one day and thought, “why do I buy those when I could use cloth?” As a frequent painter, I have lots of ratty t-shirts that are old and not suitable to donate. I gathered them up in a pile and started cutting them in pieces. I put some in a plastic bucket in the basement, but folded about eight pieces and placed them in a basket on top of the refrigerator. I’ve found that the convenience of having a towel handy is more important than what it is made of. I also cut up some old bath towels and flannel sheets. I can wash and reuse the towels, or pitch them if they are terribly soiled. This is all cloth that would have ended up in the trash anyway—-now it serves another purpose on the way. I haven’t bought paper towels in several months.
As an extension of this, I began to rethink cotton balls. I had an old, flannel nightgown that had seen better days. I got out the trusty scissors again and cut it into small squares and rectangles. I put them in a drawer in the bathroom and use them whenever I would’ve used a cotton ball. They are really soft and make a great substitute. And no, I haven’t bought cotton balls lately either.
I’ve long been a fan of hanging laundry out to dry—-which saves lots of electricity. But there are many days when this isn’t practical. There are rainy days, and often in the Northeast, days that are too short and cold for laundry to dry. A few years ago a friend gave me a retractable clothesline. Of course, I was going to hang it in the back yard, but then I changed my mind. I hung it indoors, in a rarely used spare room. Now, no matter what the weather looks like outside, I can hang my clothes to dry inside. You can even hide the clothesline base inside a closet, and open the closet door and pull it out to hang clothes. Only the small loop on the other side of the room shows when the closet door is shut. The laundry smells great, and clothes seem to last longer.
The last green money saver requires less work rather than more. In taking my daily walks this past Summer I noticed that many neighbors were watering their lawns every day. I don’t water my tiny lawn–ever. And yes, despite a torrid season and periods of drought, it is green. While it’s not the envy of the neighborhood, it looks fine. In fact, according Landscaping Ideas Online, watering too often is not healthy for a lawn, because often the nutrients it needs are leached out of the soil. The website offers tips on how to tell if your lawn truly needs to be watered.
I realize that not everyone can apply all of these ideas to their situation—but even if you choose just one of these ideas, you are on your way to a greener and more economical lifestyle.