We all want to live a cleaner and greener lifestyle, but life get’s in the way. Not all of us have the time to devote to home made cleaning and personal hygiene products, and many of us don’t have the money to buy all organic foods or join a CSA – but don’t lose hope! There are still many things you can do to lessen your footprint on our planet that are actually easier (or just as easy) and cheaper than their disposable counterparts. 🙂

Use Cloth Napkins 

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Cloth napkins are great for a variety of reasons – they are reusable, they are durable, and compared to buying paper napkins/towels every week, they are inexpensive. There’s very little hassle, and you don’t have to remember the disposable paper option on your grocery list every week! You can just throw them in with a load of your regular linens/towels, no extra load necessary. You can find cloth napkins everywhere; but, to be extra eco friendly and economical, go to your local thrift store to pick up a set or make your own from old sheets. If you don’t mind shelling out the extra cash or aren’t keen on buying used napkins there are plenty of beautiful options out there, I personally like these.

Here’s a really good & informative read on the use of single use paper napkins v. cloth napkins.

Use Soap Nuts 

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Maybe you’ve never heard of them, or maybe you have but are skeptical; but trust me, they really work! I was introduced to them in 2015 in Kazakhstan by my couchsurfing host, I was so eager to try them I did a load of laundry that same night! Soapnuts are great because they are all natural, can be reused for multiple loads, and are 100% biodegradable – they’re technically berries! You can buy a pound for $18.95 on Amazon – but I suggest checking your local green grocer first and save on the carbon footprint – and that pound is good for 240 loads, much cheaper than laundry detergent – eco brands like Meyer’s can cost you $16 for 68 loads.

Go Reusable

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Reuse, reuse, reuse, reuse… and then reuse some more! There are a growing amount of zones with plastic bag bans or fees, and if you are in an area where a fee is enforced, going reusable isn’t just the green thing to do, but it’s the smart thing to do financially. The average American family uses 1,500 single use plastic bags a year. In NYC where the fee will be $0.05/bag that’s $75 year per family, in California where some of the bans are up to $0.10, that’s $150 per year. This shopping set  costs $29.99, and is durable enough to last years – money saving success!

Plus – if you shop bulk – using bulk bags and/or mason jars – you’ll also save money, as bulk items can be significantly cheaper than buying your products pre-packaged. Here’s a video from Trash is For Tosser’s about shopping bulk.

Go Reusable… (so nice, I have to say it twice…)

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I’m going to say something here that will blow a lot of peoples minds… tap water is – wait for it – drinkable! The quality of tap water is actually more highly regulated than that of bottled spring water, so where’s the benefit of bottled water? Bottled water is bad for the environment and it’s expensive, so really there is no benefit. A reusable, BPA free water bottle will set you back about $20 – less than the cost of hydrating yourself with bottled water over a 1 month period, and it will last you years… until you eventually lose it.

Turn Off the Tap

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Perhaps the easiest and most cost effective way of going green – simply turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth, washing your face or hands, or filling up a glass of water (don’t wait for the water to run cool, simply fill up a jug and keep it in the fridge!). Turning off the tap while your brushing your teeth can save up to 200 gallons of water per month.

Go forth and be green my friends!

Written by: Mollie Mac