Thursday, October 29, 2009

8 Ways to Go Green without Losing your Green

Yesterday, I was walking along Abbott Kinney, a trendy boutique, art gallery and restaurant filled street in Venice Beach, Los Angeles when I stumbled upon an interesting card.

The outside of the card had a cartoon man jumping in the “air” with a bubble stating, “I've gone green!!!” Clearly, I picked up this card immediately.

Upon opening the card to read the inside, stating “And I have no green left!” I was left torn.

1. What’s the point of a card like this? Mind you, the card was printed on brown recycled paper and looked to be as eco friendly as a card could be (no shiny glosses, scant writing and colors, etc).

2. Is the claim that “going green” is only for the rich still viable now?

So after some quiet and pensive pondering while gossiping with my friend about vegetarian cookbooks and princess-wand shaped ice cube trays (i.e. the important things in life), I decided that cards like these only further the myth that going green is expensive for everyone.

So, just for you, I’ve compiled a list of cheap yet valuable ways in which going green can enrich your life without depressing your wallet.

1. Recycling. Recycling is free. Surprisingly, many products can be recycled (you may have to rinse them out a bit). Here is a website where you can see specifically what is recyclable:
You do have to be careful with sneaky products like the small salad boxes at Whole Foods, which have an interior wax coating, and wax is most definitely non-recyclable.

2. Composting if you have the yard space and a happy environmentally free landlord. Here is a website which will teach you how and what you may compost:

3. Using an EcoUsable water bottle (or a similar brand, avoid SIGG). This will save you mucho
bucks off of wasteful plastic water bottles and be good for the environment. Even if you recycle every plastic water bottle you have ever drinking (which I know I did not), it’s still more work and energy input into the process of breaking the plastic down, when you can just have your own tote-able water bottle ready at your thirst’s beck and call.

4. Ride your bike or walk or skateboard or carpool as often as possible instead of driving your car. This will save you gas money, and the price of gas is slowly rising (in case you noticed or did not).

5. Keep your thermostat around 72 in the summertime, and around 68 in the wintertime. This saves you money and energy. Added bonus: these temperatures are best for sleeping during these seasons!

6. Go to the local library to check out a book, rather than always buying new. This will save you money and save you from clutter in your home. Or, share your books with your friends and let the borrowing and the enriching conversation begin!

7. Eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season and grown in your neighborhood or region. They will not only be cheaper, but also taste better, fresher, and have a higher quantity of their nutrients due to freshness. We all love farmer’s markets right? Trader Joes goes by this mantra as well.

8. And finally, closer to my musical heart, go to a record store that sells used LPs, CDs, EPs etc (like Amoeba) to buy your music for cheap (and sell it back once your are done) or buy your music on iTunes. Again, less clutter, less money…you get my jist!

The list could go on forever like this, but as you do or don’t know, my lucky number is 8, and I don’t feel like overwhelming you.

Like my recession buster list of things to do for cheap or for free in Los Angeles, the above list encompasses all things cheap, free or even things that save your pretty self good money, while also helping to improve environmental conditions and the way humans and the world interact.

So while it can be expensive to go green, say if you are building an eco home, buying a Tesla car, eating organic from Whole Foods (please go to Trader Joes, it really is cheaper than any other grocery store, and has organic and non-organic options), or wearing eco clothing, I hope the above list helps to balance out this overly sweeping assertion, dare I say myth.

YOU can make the choice to be greener and still save some green while you are at it.

And, in conclusion, while I would like to say, “Screw the man” to that silly card, in retrospect, it did make me write this post and this list, so I will thank the card and salute it for jogging my thoughts instead.



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