I've been saving up some crunchy tips, since I haven't posted much about it recently. Incidentally, most of these are also frugal tips. Frugal AND earth friendly? Win-win in my book!
1. Do you pack a lunch for work? We do every day because it's such a huge money savings. About once every other month we might buy lunch for work, but we much rather pack our lunch for work and save eating out for when we are together. If you are like us and pack lunch, there can be a LOT of waste from doing this. In the beginning, we were using ziploc bags and, between us, were going through about 4 a day. Not only is that wasteful, but it also gets expensive. When we moved, we found two sandwich sized containers in Steven's tupperware stash that he didn't know existed (men... <3). We now use those for our sandwiches, and wash them once a week (the only thing that goes in them is sandwiches). We also have other various sized containers for any side or snack items we might take. We still have a box of ziploc for 'just in case', but we rarely have to use them.
2. Until recently, we were very lazy with our dishwasher and used the tabs for washing. I started thinking about it and began feeling very silly. It has to take just as much time to get the bag, open it, get the tab out, and put it in the dishwasher as it does to get the bottle out and squirt it in the dishwasher. So I was being 'lazy', but not really even saving any time! Plus, the bottle of liquid is so much more cost efficient and you can buy better for the environment type detergents. In the tabs, you don't have that option (at least not where we live).
3. This seems like an obvious one but... recycling. Do you recycle everything that you can? The more I learned about recycling, the more I recycled. Now, we generally have more recycling in a week than we do trash (sometimes the same, depending on the week). We also have downsized to a small, under the sink trash can because we make less trash. When I lived alone, I had a full size one and now that we live together, we have a small one! The containers my cat's food comes in can be recycled infinitely. Before I learned that, I wasn't totally sure what they were made out of, so I just tossed them. You can imagine how silly I felt! We recycle paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes. any recyclable plastic, magazines, newspaper, cardboard, glass, tin, and paperboard. Paper board used to make up a TON of our recycling, but not as much now that we eat less processed. Sometimes I look at how much recycling we have and get really sad about how many years I was throwing all that stuff into the landfill! It takes extra effort if your apartment or neighborhood doesn't have recycling right there, but it is do-able to take your recycling once a week or once every other week to your local recycling place, which is what I had to do when I first moved to Raleigh because my apartment at the time didn't offer it. Luckily, our current apartment has a recycling center in our parking lot.
4. Turn the 'heated dry' option off on your dishwasher. I resisted this one for a while, but my mom said something about it and I figured I needed to give it a try. Not only are you saving energy and water, but you are also saving money. Win-win. And let's be honest. Who really jumps up the second the dishwasher is done to empty it? Better yet... who even knows when the dishwasher is done? Turning the heated dry off means I have a legit excuse for waiting a while to empty it. You know, so it can air dry. The dishes on the bottom feel the exact same as when I use the heated dry option, and the top ones are still wet, but it hasn't been a big deal.
5. Want an easy way to know if something is generally healthy or not? And by healthy, I'm referring more to it being whole, not processed or processed very little, and having real ingredients. Turn said item over and look at the ingredients. If there are more than 5, and certainly more then 10, you should probably just set it down. The long version is to actually read the ingredients list and begin to get familiar with all the strange sounding things on there. But the easy version is to see if it's a short or long list. Keep the short and ditch the long. Tip: Triscuits have 5 or less ingredients. Win.
6. When you bake or cook something, make it in double or triple batches for the freezer. You use less energy because you are only pre-heating once and dirtying less cooking utensils. Plus, you are more likely to keep up that lifestyle of eating less processed foods when you only have to cook or bake one third of the time! Our freezer is embarrassingly low for the first time in months. We are out of muffins and biscuits, and really low on pizza pockets. That's what wedding planning will do to a girl, I guess, but of course now is when we need the quick yet healthy food the most!
7. Re-use your grocery bags in any way you can. I really don't like how many grocery bags are thrown away, and I'm glad to see stores implementing recycling programs right at the store. But that requires remembering to take them, which we never remember. We use re-usable grocery bags but do sometimes forget them, so we have a stash of plast grocery bags. We use ours sometimes for small trash bags and I also use them to scoop out the litter box. I've used them as lunchboxes before, too, when our lunch box collection was smaller.
8. Use natural light whenever you can. Our apartment gets really good sunlight in the living room in the afternoon, so often times the light will be off. The kitchen and dining room get really good light in the morning, so I can make breakfast without having to turn the light on. At work, I have two gigantic windows in my office, so I seriously have turned the lights on in there 5 times in 2 and a half years, and that was when the weather was so bad that it was basically dark in my office. Some of my coworkers tease me for not using the light- but why would I when the sunshine does the job for me?
9. Re-wear your clothes. Now I know this gives some people the skeevies. And some people really can't rewear their clothes (ie my fiance in the dead of summer). But most of the year, I can get away with wearing my clothes a few times- especially my work clothes because I'm not in them a really long time, nor am I sweating in them. I also wear my jeans quite a few times before washing them because jeans are so durable. And I don't stink. Honest. It saves quite a bit of water and electricity (and therefore $!), and your clothes last longer because they don't fade/pill/fall apart as quickly as they do when they are washed often.
10. While we are on the topic of reusing things, reuse your drinking glass. We only drink water when we are at home, so there is never a need to get a different glass because our beverage of choice doesn't change. We generally will use a glass (we each have our own, we aren't that crunchy!), for 2-3 days before we put it in the dishwasher. It's our own germs; they won't kill us.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. I'm going to try to post them more often, and post more creative ones. Have any crunchy tips to add to the list?