Saturday, May 23, 2009

Don't Litter

I don't think this requires an explanation. Also, pick up trash that others leave behind and recycle what can be recycled.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Green your Wedding

With wedding season rapidly approaching and brides-to-be planning their nuptials, I decided that it would be timely to post suggestions on greening you wedding while saving money. Here are my tips:

Engagement and Wedding Rings:

Previously worn engagement and wedding are widely available for a fraction of the cost of new. A wide variety of previously worn rings are available on websites like Craigslist or E-Bay or in local consignment stores. Or, check out vintage and antique rings like these. By choosing previously worn rings, you are not only saving money, but also resources by reusing rings that

Or, consider having rings made from recycled gold. GreenKarat, will make wedding rings from gold submitted by you and your family. They offer a registry which allows family to send in old, unwanted, gold jewelry for use in your rings. If enough gold is send, then your rings are free.

E-invites: Although e-invites are generally considered tacky for wedding invitations, consider them for bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and any other pre-wedding events. As and added advantage, e-invites can include a link to your wedding site, blog, or registry information. E-invites save money and are eco-friendly simply because they skip the paper and the delivery miles.

Invitations: Invitations and envelopes without metallic printing and lining are more easily recycled. Also, skip the double envelop. The inner envelop really serves no purpose other then wasting paper and increasing the weight of your invitations

Or, make your own paper by recycling newspapers or used office paper. Flower petals, seeds, tinfoil or bits of ribbon can be added to homemade paper to create a unique look. Homemade paper can then be printed on a home printer.

Location: Plan locations for your ceremony and reception as close to home as possible. That way, you will minimize the travel time and expenses for your guests.

Limit your Guest List: The fewer people you invite, the fewer invitations you send out thus saving paper, envelopes, and postage. You will also have fewer people attending the ceremony and reception. That means that you will be using less food and fewer drinks for your reception.

Use Bridal Registries: You have heard the horror stories. Newlyweds receiving four toasters, six hand mixers, and no blender only to search the state for a store that will return the excess gifts. Many stores offer free bridal registry services. Using a bridal registry not only saves your guests the time and energy of shopping around, it reduces duplicate gifts and helps insure that you only receive the items you really need. With a registry, you can chose not to register for the items you already own. Already have a great set of cookware? Then don’t register for another. There is no need to waste energy and resources replacing perfectly good items.

Rewearable attire for the wedding party: It was a running gag in 27 dresses that the main character could rewear all 27 of her hideous bridesmaid dresses. And, lets face it, most bridesmaids dresses really aren’t rewearable unless we start throwing grown-up proms. Purchasing special occasion wear for weddings that will hang unworn in a closet is a waste of energy and resources; not to mention money. When deciding on what the bridesmaids, groom, mothers, fathers, groomsmen, flowergirls, and other members of the wedding party will wear,consider whether the items you chose are really re-wearable. When doing so, consider the individuals lifestyle and style of dress. Does the person go to church? Then look for something that can also be worn on Sunday. Can a mothers outfit convert to a business suit for a working mom? Can items be dresses down for a more casual look? Can they be paired with other accessories to be worn to the office?

Previously Worn Wedding Dress: Wedding dresses use a tremendous amount of fabric, resources, and energy to produce. They are also very expensive for a one-time wear item. However, there are an abundance of adds on classified sites like Ebay, Craigslist and advertising previously worn wedding dresses for sale in current or vintage styles. Most are at steeply discounted rates and have only been worn once or twice. Deseret Industries usually has a selection of current and older style gowns, often for under $50. Or, consider wearing your mothers or other family members wedding dress. Not only will you save money and resources, but you will add to the sentimental value of the dress.

Reception Décor: There are many things that can be repurposed or borrowed for your reception décor both helping the environment and saving money. Consider the following for your floral centerpieces:

ItalicTin cans, either bare or covered in a decorative paper, can create an urban contemporary look.

Use tin cans with pretty or interesting labels.

Or, consider covering tin cans with fabric, birch bark, or anything else you can think of to create a unique look.

Canning jars or brown glass bottles filled with wildflowers are excellent for a country or english garden theme.

Or, consider using canning jars for tea lights.

Terra Cotta pots filled with flowers can create a fun garden look or add a touch of rustic charm:

San Pelagrino, Izze Soda, or Coca Cola bottles used as flower vases, create a fun retro feel and a casual party atmosphere. These bottles are fun displayed in rows or clusters with single floral stems (also saves flowers).

Cut crystal vases that your mother or grandmother already have create a classic look. They don’t all have to be the same shape or size for your table. Consider borrowing vases from friends and relatives if your family doesn’t have enough.

Or borrow simple glass vases from family and friends.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reusable grocery bags

Reusable grocery bags are a great way to reduce your environmental impact while saving money. According to this article from, either paper or plastic bags are detrimental to the environment and to human life and health. The answer is to take reusable bags with you shopping. You probably do not have to go out and purchase bags to take. Before you purchase bags, go shopping in your closet. You may find canvas tote bags or beach bags that you have not been using that would be suitable to take shopping. Otherwise, thrift stores often have a variety of tote bags available.

Reusable grocery bags that have been offered by grocery stores over the past couple of years, although they cost a nominal amount of money (often a dollar or two), meet the criteria for saving money because many grocery stores will give a 5¢ or 10¢ credit every time the bag is used. Therefore, the bags will pay for themselves in as little as ten uses. Since these bags are designed to be used hundreds of times, the savings will gradually add up. If you are purchasing bags, look for ones that are designed for 500 uses per lifetime.

If you don't want to purchase reusable shopping bags, you can reuse the paper and plastic bags from the grocery store. You will still be saving resources by giving these bags an extended life. Grocery stores typically will still give you the bag credit for reusing these bags. If you chose this option, I suggest using paper bags and ask the bagger to make them full. Paper bags are designed to hold much more then plastic bags and you can usually get many more uses out of them. When the bag rips, recycle it.

Happy shopping.

Green for Nothing

Awhile back, I read a comments post from someone lamenting that she could not go green because she was a poor college student. She discussed how she could not be eco-friendly because she could not afford a hybrid car or solar panels. She commented on the multi-million dollar eco-friendly homes that some celebrities and politicians are building. She concluded that, because she lives in an apartment, can only afford her old gas-guzzling truck, and she can't afford organic foods, that she can not do anything for the environment.

It is not hard to imagine where she got this impression. I have found many green products are more expensive then their conventional counterparts. All we have to do is stroll through the local Whole Foods store. I looked at and found jeans made from designer organic cotton starting at $270 a pair and a designer reusable shopping bag for $80. They feature many more sustainable and eco-friendly products that, while fabulous, are unaffordable for most people.

Her post bothered me. I began thinking of many, many ways that a person can live a more eco-friendly lifestyle without spending money. I decided to create this blog in order to highlight these ways. Every post on this blog will feature green tips that either cost nothing or save money.