Guest Post: 5 New Green Things To Try

This is a guest post from Jeff, the writer and dictator for life at Sustainable Life Blog. We’re both members of the Yakezie Network — one of the world’s largest networks of personal finance and lifestyle blogs — and community members are encouraged to collaborate and support each other’s efforts. This month, select Yakezie participants were paired up to exchange guest posts on each other’s sites, and the topic is, “What are 5 new green things you can try, that you haven’t done before?” You’ll enjoy his thoughts today, and be sure to head over to his blog and check out his version of a self reliant, sustainable lifestyle.

Grow food in the garden

There are tons of ways to go green out there – things that are completely plausible for some (taking public transit) and are complete non starters (as in apartment worm composting) or not possible (you can’t take transit if your city doesn’t offer it) for other people. There are a few ways that you can go a little greener if you’re interested, and here are a few that I’m going to try in the near future.

The first thing I’m going to take a swing at is Getting into DIY. I’ve always liked to build things, make things and generally watch things come together. I’ve made my own laundry soap, I’ve made my own vanilla, and have a whole host of other things on my list, like yoghurt. If you’re making something at home, you’re not paying for it to be shipped as a complete product with wasteful packaging. The ingredients for my laundry soap all came in rectangular boxes, not odd shaped jugs like most liquid laundry soaps do. With rectangular packaging, you’re not paying for them to ship air. You’re also learning skills (and sometimes having fun).

One of the things that I am recently able to start doing is walking to work. I used to live 45+ miles away from my office, and obviously had to drive in every morning. I got a new job, and now I can walk, or if I’m feeling rushed I can ride my bike – my new office is less than 10 blocks away. Maybe your office is a little far for walking, but maybe you could bike a day or two a week. If you’re like Jonathan at Cents to share, you’ve just been driving because it’s habit, and can get out of it if you want to. Days are getting warmer and lighter, so nows a great time to start.

I’ve also been looking into raising my own food (some of it, anyway) for quite a while, and that’s something that I’d like to get started. Some cities (like Eliza’s) have recently started allowing people to keep chickens in the backyard within city limits. Usually there’s a limit (I think a common number is 4) but it’s a good way to get some eggs, and usually chickens don’t cost that much to house/feed, once all your initial expenses have been taken care of. You can also become popular among all of your friends and family members when you start gifting them with eggs that you cant eat! Not only that, you can get some great soil fertilizer from chicken waste.

You can also start a garden. Gardens are always legal, fairly easy to maintain, and will provide you with a bounty in the fall. You can plant whatever grows well in your area, but if you don’t want to plant a whole garden, try a pizza pot instead. They are super simple and will be great for the kids (plus, it connects directly to their favorite food!). I don’t have a garden right now, but it’s something that I’d like to do in the future.

If you’re really sitting on some cash and would like to knock something out of the park, you could think about making some home improvements. This could be anything from replacing an outdated appliance, upgrading windows, adding insulation or installing a grey water system. You can even purchase a new toilet to capitalize on the water savings of newer models and get a dual flush system if you wish.

Going green doesn’t need to be hard or expensive. It can cost money if you want it to, but there are plenty of simple tips that can save you some money and give the planet a hand as well.

Are you currently doing any of these tips, or do you have your own to add? Share them in the comments!

[Editor’s note:  The views and opinions expressed in guest posts are those of the author.]

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

12 comments to Guest Post: 5 New Green Things To Try

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  • Yay to walking! Indeed, giving the planet a hand doesn’t have to cost a lot. Another green thing I am doing is to buy supplies in bulk, thus reducing packaging waste. I belong to a group of like-minded friends, so we could buy in bulk and split the expenses. Aside from reducing waste, it saves us money and time. Group members also share the use of equipment like lawnmowers. We are using an online tool called SplitStuff which makes the process easy and energy-efficient.

  • Oooohhhh I wish our city was one that allowed chickens! I would love to have a few in our backyard. The cats would probably enjoy it as well…:)

  • Yay for homemade laundry soap! I’m always in to trying new recipes, and I’d love yours. I started making my own laundry soap after watching this video.

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  • @ Jonathan – No problem, I’m glad that you are walking to work – it’s been great for me so far.

    @SPF – I’d like to think that having chickens is in my future, but who knows at this point.

    @Little House – good luck with the garden. Do you have a porch or something to grow it on?

    @eliza – thanks for the opportunity

    @ Miss T – you are growing/rasing your own food in your garden!

  • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    Great post Jeff. I actually do most of these things. I walk to and from work, we grow our own garden, and we make our own cleaning and personal care products. It is a great way to save money and be greener. The one thing we won’t do is raise our own food because we are vegetarians but kudos to you for considering it.

  • eliza_cross

    Great article, Jeff – thanks so much for guest posting today. Home improvements are definitely on my list, and I would like to take one of the free tile workshops at Lowe’s this spring.

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  • I like the idea of growing a garden. I now just have to figure out how to do it on my small balcony this spring. Great post!

  • Re: walking to work. I had a guest post on sustainablelifeblog about just this topic! I was able to show how I cut over 44,000 calories instead of paying a few thousand dollars just by opting to walk or bike to work!

    We plan to try the pizza pot this year – ingenious idea!

    We’d love to raise chickens in our back yard but we fear the neighbours will complain and we’d get shut down. Access to free range organic eggs and chickens would be awesome.

  • Jonathan

    Thanks for the mention Jeff. Those are awesome tips, all of which I’ve got churning in my head right now. The garden has already started actually! We have 17 little tomato plants growing in our apartment under fluorescent lights, and have 9 pepper plant seeds started as well.

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