Subtle Green Shifts

Lately I’ve created some new habits that are in the “green” category.  They are very simple shifts that didn’t require a lot of change from the way I was already doing things. So I want to share them – maybe you can make some “subtle green shifts” too!

Eliminate junk mail + recycle paper

I found myself getting frustrated by the ever increasing amount of junk mail in my mailbox, especially catalogs and credit card offers. I eliminated 90% of credit card offers in my mailbox by opting out at the following site. Yes, I know it looks shady, but I promise, it’s legit: After about 6 months the offers dwindled down to 1 or 2, 1 of which was the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card which would just NOT quit sending me offers. I sent an e-mail to Southwest and had them take me off of their list.

I had great luck removing myself from catalog lists by sending a quick e-mail to a company every time I got one of its catalogs. Most of them have a Customer ID on the back by the mailing label. I referenced this number and simply said “remove me from your mailing list”. It takes a LOT of time to be fully removed from the catalog mailings, so don’t expect any noticeable improvement for 6 months or so. But it WILL happen eventually.  If after 3 months, I was still receiving catalogs, I sent another message saying so and asking to be removed again. A pain in the butt? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

Any remaining paper (even paper from packaging) I recycle at the Paper Retriever. I have one within walking distance of my house and it gives me an excuse to take a walk. Never mind how I might look walking down the street with a huge bag of paper in tow…

Meatless Lunches During the Work Week

My husband and I pack all of our lunches for the week on Sunday. We switched over to meatless lunches a couple of months ago, and we really like it. The protein we keep coming back to is beans. My husband has become a master at different ways of preparing different kinds of beans. So far, favorites are pinto, black, and garbanzo beans. We’ve had Mexican beans, Asian beans, and “regular” beans. I keep telling my husband to start a food blog so he can share his bean cooking secrets! We feel better ethically about eliminating some of the meat from our diets and we also appreciate the $25 a week or so in savings.

Consistent use of Reusable Bags

I’ve used reusable bags for years now, mostly since I am an Aldi shopper and that’s just the way it is at Aldi since they don’t provide bags. However, I’ve started to use reusable bags 90% of the time, and I’m working to increase that. I don’t want 10 plastic bags every time I go to Target. I don’t want the farmer to give me my produce in a plastic bag at the farmer’s market. I keep reusable bags in my car and it takes a lot of the “remembering” factor out of it. And if I ever find myself with a surplus of plastic bags, I make sure I recycle them.

Reusable Water Bottle

It kills me to see people buying case after case of bottled water. It is so easy to re-fill a reusable water bottle. There is no excuse for trash bags bursting with empty plastic water bottles! I have about a half case of disposable water bottles left in my house, and I have put them in a far corner of my basement so I can’t easily grab one. Instead I just re-fill one of the reusable bottles I already have. My favorite thing about reusable bottles? You can choose the size + carrying mechanism that makes sense for what you’re doing to do. Leaving the house for the day? Take a huge bottle. Going for a walk? I take my Nalgene with the strap that makes it easy to carry. Most of the time 20oz of water isn’t enough for me anyway.  I love that I’m seeing more refill stations for reusable water bottles in places like the airport!

So, what do you think ?