You may live in the concrete jungle, but living green is within your grasp. Care for the earth and yourself with these 5 green living tips for city dwellers:
1. Bring your own bag
The majority of bags used by grocery stores in the United States are made out of plastic. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, they rarely get recycled and they are the cause of death for thousands of marine animals, birds and other animals, due to ingestion, entanglement and pollution.
Remembering to bring your own reusable grocery bags is a small, but significant, way to work towards a cleaner and healthier ecosystem.
2. Walk, Bike, use Public Transportation
We all want to save money on gas and breathe cleaner air. Avoid your car, and walk, bike, or use public transportation to get to your destination.
3. Shop Second-hand
From clothing to housewares, think second-hand before running out to buy brand new items.
Utilize your city’s thrift stores; not only will you be saving the energy and resources used to make more “stuff,” but you will also be saving money.
4. Make Conscientious Food Choices
Maintaining extensive gardens isn’t always an option when living in the city, but there are ways to grow and eat quality, organic food, despite where you live.
Here are a few ideas:
- Create a container garden on your porch by acquiring a few large ceramic pots, and planting some vegetable seeds or starters in them.
- Make the decision to go organic, and stick with it. When you walk into the supermarket, remind yourself to pay the extra cents, your body and the environment will thank you.
- Shop at your local Farmer’s Market whenever possible. More and more cities have weekly Farmer’s Markets; support your local farmers and enjoy the sunshine by doing your shopping outdoors!
5. Make Simple Household Changes
Here are some basic green living tips for around the house:
- Replace your current light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs to save money and energy.
- Wash your clothes in cold water for energy saving reasons as well as lowering your monthly electric bill.
- Use biodegradable cleaning agents.
- Find out what your city recycles, and do it!
this is a very well written article with a variety of excellent green suggestions. Although plastic bags are not biodegradable, I have noticed in my area that the Real Canadian Superstore has a recycling bin for them which are really awesome because at one time they were not being collected. I remember the time when that was not happening and I started to put them in my own blue bins, sometimes they were collected and sometimes they were left behind but I thought if they could recycle many different types of products why not plastic bags–so I was very delighted to see that this started happening!
In some ways, I guess I am fortunate that I have a fear of driving mostly because I am afraid of running into and possibly injuring someone by accident, but that works out really well in regards to your second suggestion. I am absolutely dependent on public transit and use it all the time when I travel on my own. My Dad also uses public transit to get to work, although he has a car, mostly because the fuel and parking prices are fairly high. Nevertheless, while I absolutely agree it is always better to cut back on using a car, it is still a necessity for those times when you need to transport many items (i.e. after grocery shopping etc) or for going to destinations that are not either accessible to the bus due to their distance/routing or as to if you need to be there during the time transit is not running.
I am not too good with your third suggestion, however, I don’t tend to buy much clothes and house ware as I tend to make extremely rigorous use of what I already have. My biggest problem is electronics, dvds, video games, cds, books etc., but I know that like with my clothes I tend to make extremely good use of what I have before considering buying anything else because things get costly in terms of both money and space which eventually runs out.
My brother and I constantly talk about organic foods, but don’t tend to buy it because for the most part our grocery decision is shared with our father who is strongly influenced by price. As a result, we tend to buy non-organics because the price of the products are actually not cents but dollars as an overall aggregate of our grocery bill (usually close to 1.5 times or more for the same quantity of crops grown by big agribusiness using pesticides–sometimes we get organic bananas but that is rare) generally I have seen prices where non-organic bananas had been .49 lb and their counterpart was .79lb all of this adds up when you buy tons of produce. We realize that pesticides are not good for either the environment or for our direct health but if the price differential is that high and people are paying for so many other things it is hard to pay the extra price differential. Nevertheless, I guess it will come down to what people are willing to sacrifice and where they can cut back to live a healthier life. I run into the same problem with supplements. There are so many supplements that had been recommended to me because I lack them in the foods that I eat (being vegetarian), however, I can’t afford to pay $100 plus a month for everything I need and have only been able to purchase pro-biotics which is essential for me especially in light of having ibs.
Finally, in regards to your last suggestion, I am actually very much in favor of cold washing and tend to do it if my Dad doesn’t have his way and wanting me to use warm water with bleach. My brother and I have constantly told my Dad that bleach should not be used unless there is blood or feces on the clothes which is not the case for us. Nevertheless, my Dad is under the conventional impression that doing our household laundry is still better without cold water even though he ends up paying more. I tried to convince him on price as he is price conscious but surprisingly this is one thing he has held firm on. Sometimes, I still do laundry in cold water but most of the time I do it according to my Dad’s wishes because it can be very tough to deal with him if I don’t.
The one thing that I am not however, in favor of are the fluorescent lights. I feel that they are too dull and not as good as the older incandescent ones which are brighter and warmer. Fluorescent lights are also from what I have seen at the very least twice as costly as a comparative conventional bulbs of the same strength and don’t last any longer as far as I can tell. The other problem is that fluorescent lights also have mercury in them which isn’t too environmental and have to be dealt with carefully to avoid breakage as well as they need to be discarded properly. Quite honestly speaking, I am not alone and there had been a very lengthy article in the Vancouver Sun about this issue where people have been calling the new fluorescent bulbs a scam and provided the reasons for saying so–those which more or less echoed what I have said. I wish I still had the article and would have provided the reference title and date.
In the end, I guess we can only do our best in regards to becoming more green in our practice and without a doubt every little bit will always help =) Keep up the excellent research and article contribution.
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