Being green doesn’t have to be synonymous with extra $$green.  In fact, there are countless ways to be more eco-minded, where in some cases, you don’t even have to spend a dime.  All you have to do is take baby steps!

I did a search and compiled this list:

  • At work and home, Go paperless when possible. Request to be removed from mailing lists for any unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazines, and junk mail. Visit newdream for more information.  Think before you print.  It is said that the average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year.
  • Recycle. Recycling goes beyond paper and plastic.  Just about any kind of paper you would encounter in an office, including fax paper, envelopes, and junk mail, can be recycled. So can your old cell phone, PDA, or pager.  Check out Collective Good.
  • Watch what you drink. If you can, switch to filtered drinking water to reduce bottled-water waste.  At the very least, get larger jugs of water instead of all those bottled waters!
  • Eat Less Meat. Especially beef. The Worldwatch Institute says growing numbers of intensively farmed livestock are responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and account for 37 percent of emissions of methane, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2, and 65 percent of emissions of nitrous oxide, another powerful greenhouse gas, coming from manure.
  • Take shorter showers, and use less heated water.
  • Buy Energy Star Appliances. It’s the mark of approval from the federal government. See the details at energystar.gov.  And with those energy-efficient appliances, run them only when you have full loads
  • Reuse or go secondhand. Before purchasing something, ask yourself if you already have it or something similar that can be reused. Can you buy it secondhand at a thrift store or on Craigslist?
  • Get/Give Stuff (for) Free If there’s something you need only once or twice, don’t buy it. Borrow and return it. Go to http://www.freecycle .org and join a local group to exchange or borrow stuff.
  • Go to the library! Instead of buying books that you might only read once, consider this:  there’s this glorious place I used to call my 2nd home– the library.  Even though you have to return them (on time!), the books are free.  Borrowing from libraries, instead of buying personal books and movies, saves money and printing resources. Consider donating the money saved to your local library.
  • Buy Local Buying anything imported across an ocean means a container ship transported it. Just one container ship traveling one mile produces NOx emissions equaling 25,000 cars traveling the same distance. Foreign manufacturers often use carbon-intensive industrial and environmental practices that are illegal here. Many imports are made in sweatshops where people labor in dangerous work environments and aren’t paid fairly. Reducing the demand for imports not only reduces our carbon footprint but also sends a message to big business that we want better for everyone.  Farmers markets, especially in the summer, are havens for the most fresh, delicious and local produce.
  • Don’t be a slave to convenience Even if dinner takes an extra 15 minutes to prepare, you’ll be ok…We’ll all be paying later for using convenience foods like packaged mixed salads, because they use a lot of resources to produce.

List compiled from Metroactive and Worldwatch.

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