A Recessionista’s guide to Earth Month

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.
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BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel also blogs at greenLAgirl.com.

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