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Volume II
May 7, 2009

Going Green without Spending Green
By Camille Rhoades

We are all familiar with “going green”, but some of the suggestions for doing so are quite costly. For many of us the cost of such changes really deter us from trying. There are many things you can do to make your kitchen “green” without spending a lot of “green”.

  • Very first, and you are probably already doing this, but recycle! Put a little time into learning what can and cannot be recycled.

  • Don't disposable items if you have a reusable alternative. That means, use microfiber towels instead of paper towels; porcelain or china dishware and utensils instead of paper or plastic; cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, etc. This will actually save you money in the long run.

  • Use your city's resources. Depending on where you live you may have compost, recycling, or other programs. Cities are adding more and more resources like this for their residents so look into what is available in your area.

  • Use your microwave or a toaster oven instead of your stove top or oven whenever possible. They are more energy efficient. But, don't use plastics in your microwave, which can potentially leach chemicals into your food. Not only will you save energy, but your kitchen will stay cooler during the hot summer!

  • Do some spring cleaning and organize your kitchen storage containers so that you're more likely to use it for leftovers. Cooking at home cuts down on wasteful packaging and using the leftovers cuts down on food waste.

  • Use household supplies to make homemade and eco-friendly cleaning solutions. The internet is a great resource for “recipes” for these solutions.

  • Prevent “phantom energy loads” by unplugging kitchen appliances when not in use or plugging them into a power strip that you can easily switch off. Even when they aren’t being used they use small amounts of power that can really add up.

  • Run your dishwasher on a full load, but not overloaded.

  • Use a tote bag you already own for grocery shopping instead of plastic bags. Every store offers bags for around one dollar, but if you don’t want to spend the money you can use whatever bag you have. There is no rule that says it has to look like all the others or be from your favorite store.

  • Arrange grocery runs with neighbors or friends. It will make your errands more fun while cutting down on gas expenses. You may also be able to split bulk items with a friend, which will help you to save money. But obviously, don't shop unless you have to! When you do have to shop do your best to support local products. This gives you fresher products and saves a lot in transportation costs.

    If everybody does a little it will go a long way and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Simple changes in your kitchen will help the environment and your pocketbook.

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