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Monday, January 10, 2011

My thoughts on being "green" and frugal!

Being green is becoming big business... all the companies want you to buy their special devices to help you be green, or the green toilet paper, or the green cleaners or... Reality is, I'm unemployed and I can't afford that.

However, there is a lot I can do to be green without spending money, and you can too.

1. Reduce: I buy in bulk as much as possible, this cuts down on packaging. I try to not print from my computer unless it is absolutely necessary, which also saves on storage space in my home. I compost any thing food-wise (if it can't be fed to the chickens or pigs) and that significantly reduces the waste. I am working hard on the thought of "if I don't need it, I don't buy it". I discourage junk mail-I have gotten off of mailing lists as much as possible, including e-mail lists.

2. Reuse: I save plastic containers from foods or whatever and reuse them as storage containers, feed scoops, planting containers for garden starts, etc. I also re-use the plastic bags I get at the store, using them for garbage bags, soda cans, etc. I use paper bags for compost materials, gift wrap, etc. If I can borrow or rent something instead of buying it, I do. I buy as much as possible from thrift-stores, garage sales, used from on-line auctions, and in turn, will donate or sell my items, bringing me tax-deductions or extra cash in the pocket.

3. Recycle: I have bins for plastic, glass and metal and by recycling we only have to go to our local dump about every 8 months or so, at a cost of approximately $10 for the non-recycleable trash. I also compost, as I mentioned earlier and food scraps go to the livestock. I save my plastic juice containers and use them for my homemade liquid laundry soap or save the juice containers for friends who need it for their soap. I reuse plastic milk jugs by filling them with water and putting them in the freezers, which saves on electricity and, in the event of a power outage, will help keep the food frozen longer and provide water for us.

4. "Free finds" or as my husband calls it, scavaging: I tend to look for opportunities. That paper delivery box that set upside down at the side of the main road for 6 months or longer now hangs in my garden and holds my scissors, garden string, gloves, etc. While helping a friend clear out an old shed that was going to be torn down, I scored a milk crate (to haul my eggs to town) and a small plastic step stool for my closet (I'm short). Our local food bank gives me all the unused produce and my chickens love it. Today they called me because they had 3 lugs of pears that were very ripe and needed used, did I want 'em? Heck yes! I now have two food dryers full of sliced pears going, a bucket full of scraps for the chickens and still have 2 lugs to process tomorrow. The best baseball cap I ever owned I found while walking down the road. It fit perfectly and the brim was rolled just right. I bet the guy that lost it was a bit upset.

5. Keep a list of what I want or need: I just updated my list and added a paper shredder for bedding for the chickens and/or my compost pile a few days ago. I try to stop into our local thrift store every couple of days (it's right by my temp job) and just check for things I want. I found a paper shredder on the day after I added it to my list. The price was $8 and I checked to make sure it worked. I had already checked them used on-line and the cheapest was $20 plus shipping. I also got a paring knife, a pair of shoes, two shirts for Steve and a scent pot for our bathroom. The lady looked at it all, smiled at me and said "How's $10 sound?" Ummm, fine, no problem. I was so excited!

My main thinking here is yes, it's good to be "green", but we have to be realistic also. We can do what we can to protect our world, but we have to do it in a financially sound way. I am not perfect (I buy bottled water as our spring water gets really dirty at times, but I recycle the bottles) and I tend to waste way more food that I should (but it goes to the chickens and I'm working on it). However, the steps I have mentioned make me feel I am doing my part and helping my family and finances at the same time!

What do you do to be "green"?

7 comments:

  1. Hope, I think you listed off some very good concepts. The number one thing we have been working on is what goes into the trash. And thinking about it. Actually thinking about it. How many times do you pop the lid on the garbage can without thought? That's what I am talking about. Can it be used for kindling, storage, recycled etc.

    So yeah, we have a ways to go to though, but we are certainly getting better all the time.

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  2. ps, I don't know if you saw, but yesterday MamaPea was asking about your BlackStars on my post.

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  3. Very good points. I actually find it a sport to find free things and use them for something else.

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  4. What do I do to be "green"?

    Read helpful blogs with good tips. Like yours :-)

    Have a Nice Day :-)

    ~Ron

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  5. I think we would all do good to follow your lead. I think probably the two biggest things we do is to recycle as much as we possibly can (we have a GREAT recycling center for our sparsely populated area) and all of our food garbage goes either to the poultry or into the compost which enriches our garden soil.

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  6. what do I do to be green,well I try to use all our leftovers by recycling into another meal ,and i also read blogs like yours,and others for good ideas,I am a follower,you are welcome to follow me as well,Blessings,jane

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  7. The way I go green is to use RED! RED WIGGLERS! Worms consume all the compostable matierial I can give them. Horse manure, fall leaves, kitchen scraps, cardboard boxes and newsprint! I started out last April with 5000 worms (at a cost of $34.00) and now have (I'm guessing!) upwords of 20 - 25,000! And altho they are tucked in for the winter, they keep right on eatting and making babies!
    Tom

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