Guest Post Author Bio: Miss T blogs at Prairie EcoThrifter. She grew up in the Canadian prairies and still lives there today. She is passionate about saving money, being healthy, looking out for our environment, and most of all having fun. Her blog shares tips on how you too can live a green, debt free, and fun life.

This week I am participating in a sub-Yakezie blog swap where I am to answer the question ” 5 Ways To Live Greener.” I had to seriously think about this for a minute because my hubby and I have been living green for quite some time now, or at least I thought…

Last year I decided along with my husband to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. When we first started we focused on controlling our house temperature with a programmable thermostat and composting our kitchen scraps. Then we branched off into reusable shopping bags, making our own cleaning products, and making our own personal care products. I even stopped driving my car to work and started walking to limit my carbon footprint.

Despite this, when I thought long and hard about this question I was able to come up with five more ways that we can live greener.

  1. Buy more local and organic produce. We usually try to buy local when we can but we often end up buying produce that has been imported. The reason for this is that there is very limited produce options where we live, especially in the winter months. Not much grows in the prairies during the winter when temperatures can reach -30 degrees Celsius. Plus not all of the food that is grown here is organic. We do try to buy the items listed on the dirty dozen organic but even this is a challenge sometimes due to the supply that we get where we live. This year I am going to make a concerted effort to find more local and organic suppliers of produce, especially for the winter months.
  2. Wash linens in cold water. I have been doing our laundry in cold water for years now with the exception of linens. The reason for this is I have dust allergies and I have read that the only way to kill dust mites is to use hot or steaming water. Since I have always washed our sheets in hot water I have never had a problem so as far as I know this is working. However, in an effort to be more green, I am going to try washing our linens in cold water to see what happens. Will I start getting itchy and really stuffed up? We will have to see.
  3. Drink tap water. I grew up on bottled spring water that my parents had delivered to the house on a biweekly basis. When I first moved out I also bought spring water bottles for my cooler at home. When I met my husband he too had a cooler and home that he bought bottled water for. In our house now, we have a cooler where we buy filtered city water from a distributor. The fact that we are still drinking city water is an improvement from the imported spring water I grew up on as a kid but there is still room for improvement. We have been talking about getting a Brita filter for our fridge but we drink so much water that I am afraid we will not get cold water to drink very often since the jug doesn’t hold much. I am not quite sure what we will decide on but it something we are looking at to improve.
  4. Use green lodging when we travel. We love to travel and usually go on one large trip a year; a month away or so. We try to walk places when we travel and use eco-friendly personal care products but we haven’t been staying in green lodging. In some of the places we go there aren’t any and we are stuck but in other larger centres, green options do exist but are more highly priced. Despite this, I would like to make more of an effort to stay in eco-friendly accommodations on our future trips.
  5. Use energy star appliances. In the last year we bought a new freezer for our summer produce that is rated energy star. However, our stove, microwave, second freezer, fridge, and laundry equipment are not energy star. I would love to replace these however it comes at a cost. You would think consumers would get a deal on equipment that is better for the environment but they don’t. I would like to look at our budget and come up with some money where we could replace some of our existing appliances.

I am sure if I continue to look around I can find more ways live green but this is start for 2011 anyway.

So, what are some ways you can live greener? Please share.

22 Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Eliza from Happy Simple Living

    These are great tips! Thanks for the reminder about actively seeking greener hotels when traveling. You might want to check out GreenHotels.com for some eco-friendly lodging ideas.

  2. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    @Eliza from Happy Simple Living
    Thanks Eliza. That is a great resource. I will keep it in mind.

  3. 101 Centavos

    How about growing your own food with a vegetable garden and vermicomposting. Come to think of it, composting with red worms is not only sustainable, but regenerative.

  4. Everyday Tips

    I agree with 101- gardening is great.

    I always wash linens in hot, that is one area I will not be ‘green’. I love the ‘sanitize’ cycle on my washer, and I always wash sheets with that cycle.

    I didn’t even know that ‘green lodging’ existed. I will have to look into that!

  5. Melissa

    Thanks for the tips. I am like you and need to work harder on eating locally grown produce. The issue for us is the expense. Why is it cheaper to buy food that has travelled thousands of miles rather than food that was grown 10 miles away? (Just a theoretical question.)

  6. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    @101 Centavos
    We do grow our own food and love it. It feels so great to step outside in the yard and grab the stuff I need to make dinner. We also have three compost bins which work well for filling our pots with soil in the spring.

  7. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    @Everyday Tips
    @ Everyday Tips Ya, I am not too familiar with green lodging either, especially for when we travel overseas. I know there are some sites for in the States but outside of that I will probably need to hunt a bit more.

  8. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    @Melissa
    @ Melissa Gosh if I only knew the answer to that. I find the same thing happens here. It boggles my mind.

  9. First Gen American

    I have been making many many changes in our home over the last 10 years and it’s made a huge positive impact on our energy costs.

    I love hot water though. I am a germ freak and my family suffers from a lot of allergies, so I love hot water. I even boil water and then wipe my counters with hot water and vinegar (vs other chemicals).

    I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to use more vinegar in my life. That’s stuff’s great.

  10. Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter

    @First Gen American
    We have just started using vinegar too. It does work great for a lot of stuff. Thanks for the comfort with the hot water comment. Not sure if I can make the leap to cold or not.

  11. Amanda L Grossman

    Water Coolers have always seem so extravagant to me! One of my favorite aunts lives in D.C., and whenever I went to visit her, I thought it was so cool that “city people” have water coolers:). That being said, I have never deigned to own one, and find it slightly indulgent to have a brita filter!

    Also, I am an environmental investigator, and when traveling to Austin, several of my peers have used a green hotel to stay in–great idea!

  12. Barb Friedberg

    I love cloth napkins… been using them for years. Does finishing hubbys breakfast coffee count? I usually have “minimizing waste” on my mind.

  13. Financial Samurai

    I like my Brita Filter! It’s like $12 bucks and filters everything!

    • Little House

      @Financial Samurai – I use my refrigerator’s water filter and that works fine for me. I think the filter lasts a while, but I’m not sure about the cost of the replacement- I’ll have to look into that.

  14. Moneycone

    I’m all for composting! I saw this at a friends place, totally makes sense.

    • Little House

      @Money Cone – I composted at my old rental house, but I haven’t yet done anything in my apartment. I’m a little hesitant to do the whole worm-composting thing. I need to investigate a bit more.

  15. Molly On Money

    We compost about 70% of our trash. We have 3 different types of composters to make this happen (vegetable, paper and meat).
    Right now I’m going without my dryer. It broke last fall. I don’t use it from April- Oct. but since we can get up to 3′ of snow I use it in the winter. This past winter I decided to see if I could make it without (dryers are no more efficient than they were 20yrs ago). I made it and though it was a bit inconvenient I’m ready to chuck the dryer out and use the space for something I can really use…..like space!

    • Little House

      @Molly on Money – Wow, 70% is really impressive! After moving back into an apartment, I haven’t composted these last few months and I’m a little intimidated by the worm composters. Is yours a worm composter?

  16. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

    I’ve just been exploring aquaponics. Hours of Youtube, a few blogs and enough cojones, and I might just do it this summer. I cam raise some fish and a garden at the same time for less water than my traditional garden.

    • Little House

      @Sandy – I’m not familiar with aquaponics, but I like the sound of raising fish and a garden at the same time. You’ll have to write a post about it once you get it going!

  17. Molly On Money

    We don’t do any worm composting (although it’s on the ‘to do’ list). I have plenty of outdoor space to set up large compostor. Worm composting is a great alternative for people living in an apartment. My sister-in-law had worms living in a bin under her stairs!
    My husband created our entire set-up. Whatever trash we do have we use as material for making paper-crete blocks to build stuff. You can check it out at my husbands site if you’re interested. stuffimadethisyear.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/no-more-trash/@Little House

  18. Jennifer Barry

    Hi Miss T, I also have trouble finding a lot of organic and local produce and I live in Dallas Texas! We don’t even have the -30 degrees excuse here. Most things are grown in California or Mexico even if they could grow here.

    We do use cold water for linens at the laudromat. I rent so I don’t have a choice on appliances, but I would like to start composting so I could have a small organic garden.

    The city water in Dallas is nasty, so I have a stainless steel Berkey filter instead. It’s a couple hundred dollars to get one with the filters, but the water quality is awesome (better than Britta). The filters are $100 for 2 but they last over a year. If you like your water cold, you can always fill a regular pitcher and put that in the refrigerator.

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