Blogging over 5 years ago by Liz Adams

Five Ways to Be More Green Right Now

Five Ways to Be More Green Right Now

Undoubtedly one of the best parts of Summer is the opportunity to spend extra time outdoors, whether that means long bike rides along Lake Michigan, trips to the beach or maybe even some hiking (my family reunion in Oregon is coming up, and I can’t wait!). All that time outside tends to inspire me to be a bit more friendly to our environment so that we can all keep enjoying it! I wanted to share a few efforts I’ve been making to be more “green” lately: 

Five Ways to Be More Green

  1. Keep reusable bags on hand. As organized as I like to think I am, I can’t say every single trip to the grocery store is planned. Keeping a stack of reusable grocery bags in the trunk of my car or one of these net bags in my tote saves me from unnecessary plastic bags usage. When you are at the grocery store, skip the plastic bags for fruits and veggies—you don’t need them! 
  2. Make an effort to unplug. Up to 10% of your electricity usage can come from devices that stay plugged in 24/7. Making an effort to unplug some of these items can both cut down on your carbon footprint and your energy bill. Some things you leave unplugged that you probably never think about: phone and laptop chargers, lamps, your coffeemaker, or your TV. 
  3. Walk or bike when you can. I always feel so guilty taking Ubers or driving in the summer—we spend so much of the year indoors that it feels wrong to waste the good weather! I love using Chicago’s Divvy system to get around, and I’ll try to choose walkable dinner spots when meeting up with friends. There’s nothing like ending a summer evening with a stroll home (especially if there’s ice cream involved). 
  4. Bring your own tumbler. Some of you may have seen that Starbucks plans on eliminating single-use plastic straws next year, and I’ve noticed that many restaurants are ditching the straws, as well. I’m so guilty of straw usage—it’s hard to skip the iced coffees—but I’ve really been trying to bring my own coffee cup or even my own stainless steel straw. It seems like a lot of effort at first, but you’ll find it’s not that bad…and it’s more than worth it to reduce all the plastic going into our oceans! 
  5. Shop local. Spending the morning at a farmer’s market is a great way to spend a Saturday morning, in my opinion, as well as a wonderful way to support sustainable businesses in your area. Plan to cook a meal with food you get at a farmer’s market, or bring a farmer’s market-inspired dish to a friend’s house instead of going out. 

It’s all about the small acts—they add up to make the biggest difference! What are your favorite ways to be more green? Happy, happy Saturday! 
Xo, Carolyn 

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  1. While reusable grocery bags are a great way to eliminate waste, most people don’t know that they should be washed after every use (even if they just carried bulk items because those touched the grocery conveyer belt that’s covered in bacteria). Leaving them in a hot car without washing them first is a big no no and just leads to even more bacteria growth on your food, especially if you didn’t use plastic bags for your produce! It’s important to wash your bags plus also consider the environmental effects of using the additional water to keep them clean. Does that mean we shouldn’t use reusable bags if our ultimate goal is to have less trash? Of course not, its just important that people consider all the effects of their decision first, and I rarely see this mentioned in articles advocating them.

    1. That’s a really good point, Molly, and definitely something I don’t do often enough! Thank you for the reminder!

  2. Thank you for talking about this! It’s 109 here this weekend, and I worry about what’s happening to world. I want my daughter to experience the outdoors the same why I did!

  3. I try to do all of this! Years ago, I bought a reusable cup from Tim Hortons for my iced capp. I use it all the time. Sadly if I go to a different Tim’s than my regular one, a lot of them are so confused by it so I end up using one of their cups!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated