A Recessionista’s guide to Earth Month
By greenlagirl on April 04, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
Earth Month's a great time to go green, but you don't have to be an eco-blogger to get overwhelmed by all the "go green!" advice coming at you from all directions. So this April, my big eco-idea for fellow BlogHers is this: Keep it simple -- and save money.
How? Well, since many BlogHers have a Whole Foods near them, I thought I'd use their Earth Month calendar -- dubbed 30 Ways in 30 Days (PDF) -- as the basis for making one small green change a day this month. Unfortunately, Whole Foods has a rep for being unaffordable -- which is where the save money part comes in. Through the posts this month, I'll incorporate how to make each of Whole Foods' tips affordable -- and even money-saving -- for the "I can't afford Whole Foods" crowd.
This being day 4 of April, we've got a little catching up to do:
Day 1: Get a reusable bag. The people who don't bring their own totes to the grocery stores usually have totes -- They just forget to bring them. This is why I recommend everyone keep a compact reusable bag in their purses, to unfurl at a moment's notice.
Mine's an Envirosax tote, but Calypso Studios makes a similar foldable tote -- and is giving away $10,000 worth of them this month! Enter the giveaway now -- and start toting your tote when you win.
Most grocery stores will reimburse you a nickel for taking your own bag to the store, so this is a money-earning tip!
Day 2: Cut down on bread packaging. Whole Foods, being Whole Foods, advises buying its brand name bread, which they say uses 25% less plastic in its packaging. But how about doing away with packaging altogether -- and saving money while at it! Amberb at Re-Nest names 7 Green Reasons to Use a Bread Machine -- with packaging-elimination being one of those great reasons, and money savings being a nice side bonus. Reader Amber77 does the math in the comments to that post:
let's figure you pay $3 per average loaf ($4-5 for organic) at the store. i bought 4 lbs of untreated organic bread flour at 49 cents a pound...all the other ingredients clock in at a few cents each (yeast in the jar is very cheap), water, dry or regular milk, maybe an egg...everything but the bread flour and the occasional wheat germ-type ingredient is a pantry staple that most people have on-hand anyway. let's generalize and say it costs $1 per loaf to make yourself, but you'd pay $3-5, so you save anywhere between $2-3 dollars a loaf.
the mid-range price for bread machines falls around $130. so that means you'd pay for it with, um, 40 to 60 loaves?
I don't have a bread maker because I don't eat that much bread, but you really can bake your bread and eat it too!
Day 3: Switch to CFLs. Whole Foods, again, recommends its own CFL bulbs -- but I think if you're gonna buy something that's gonna last you 7+ years, you should invest in a bulb that lights a room up attractively, among other things. Otherwise you'll be wasting money on a CFL bulb you end up not using because of its eerie bluish glow.
So -- One of my earlier posts, The Quest for the longest-lasting, lowest-mercury CFL bulb, gives you an idea as to what to look for -- and some specific bulb recommendations (which don't include Whole Foods' brand). Light happy --
Day 4: Turn out the lights when you leave the room. That's self-explanatory -- and requires no new investments on your part.
Now you're all caught up -- and even a day ahead, since day 5's about greening prom and you're probably past that age! Got ideas for saving money while tackling next week's eco-tips on the 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar? Share them (or links to your posts about them) in the comments, and I'll include them in next week's post.
BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel also blogs at greenLAgirl.com.