Everyone wants to be “green” these days, but there’s a common perception that environmentally friendly is expensive. It doesn’t have to be that way.
“I have always been frugal and it pairs well with being environmentally conscious,” says my friend Heather. She’s not just blowing smoke; a stay-at-home mom, she’s recently been searching for work after her husband lost his job. But she won’t give up her environmental bona fides.
“There are certain things I won't compromise, like quality food,” she says. She’s cooking and baking more now from scratch and skipping unnecessary purchases. “Instead of gym membership this summer, we have county and state park passes and this will be a year for the beaches. We also plan some bike path adventures and regular attendance to the free park concerts,” she says.
So far, so good. But there’s much more a family can do to be frugal and green, especially when shopping for routine needs. Simplemom.net, a Web site whose goal is to make everyday life less expensive, suggests turning away from single use, disposable products. Things like paper plates and all the cleaning products so heavily advertised now, such as sheets used for dusting, scrubbing and mopping.
Disposable may be convenient, but it’s not cheap, and it’s certainly not green. When contemplating packaging, don’t settle for recyclable. Ask yourself: Was this made from recycled materials? Do I really need it? What would Grandma use?
Eating local is another way to be green, according to simple-green-frugal.blogspot.com. Not only is your food more nutritious because it’s picked at the right time, it also hasn’t been trucked hundreds of miles, using up gas and emitting greenhouse gases. Local farmers markets are a great way to open up your menu to whatever is in season and try something new. If you don’t know where your nearest farmers market is, check out localharvest.org. Then sit back and enjoy truly ripe fruits and vegetables at very competitive prices.