Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
I would like to live more sustainably and make kinder choices on earth. However, the scale of the changes can feel overwhelming.
I can’t see myself living off the grid in a tent with a herd of goats doing landscaping. I need simple ideas – small steps.
So I turned to expert, Chris Bordesa, who publishes “Sustainable” for advice on small, easy changes that will save money and reduce carbon emissions.
I asked Chris for a bunch of easy changes. Here are her suggestions, which I promised so I could do. Do not enter the goats.
1. grow something
Even if it’s just a pot of lettuce, grow something. A package of lettuce seeds that can grow up to 275 heads of lettuce costs about $2, and you can be sure there are no pesticides in your bowl.
Considering that one head of lettuce at the grocery store costs about $2, this lettuce is a no-brainer, right? If you’re lazy like me, plant the lettuce in a pot just outside the back door.
2. Make soup
Chris makes a homemade soup case. “It consumes old vegetables and leftovers, eliminating waste in your kitchen. Plus it eliminates the BPA-lined cans that come with store-bought soup. For the price of one soup can, you’ll end up with a stock pot full,” she says. Says.
I’m a soup challenge, so I asked her for a recipe. She scoffed at the word “recipe” but pointed to her easy instructions for chicken broth. Another trick is keeping a bowl in the freezer and adding leftovers to it.
Just throw in things like pasta with sauce, green beans, sliced onions, and other leftovers when dinner’s over.
Keep in mind not to mix the flavors too often. Keeps separate “Italian Style” and “Mexican Style” containers.
Then, when you want soup, just put chicken broth and a bowl of leftovers from the freezer in a saucepan, heat on the stove, and you’ve got homemade soup.
3. Bring your own container
You won’t be able to grow all of your food. Be honest – you might not even want to give up your coffee shop java. But the first step is to bring your own containers.
How much money does this save? Well a little. Starbucks is offering a 10 cents discount if you bring your own reusable mug. Ask your independently owned coffee shop if they would do the same.
Target gives you 5 cents of your purchase for every reusable bag you use.
All that stuff you push for trash will naturally decompose if given the chance, and composting it will put less stress on your sewage system. Create a compost pile and your garden will thank you.
But Chris also writes about a way to get the benefits of composting in just minutes. Take leftover apples, eggshells, carrots, banana peels, and other food scraps (but not meat) and put them in a blender.
Fill with water and mix until everything is finely chopped. Then dig a few holes next to the plants in your garden, pour the contents and cover them with dirt. It’s that simple and you don’t even need to keep the compost pile.
5. Driving less
This tip requires a little planning. Combine errands, or ask a neighbor to pick up this thing (and hit back if you’re heading to the store).
Use a carpool or use public transportation when you can. With the price of gas, canceling just one trip per week can add up.
Plus, less driving means fewer emissions and less fuel that has to be taken to your local gas station. Also, by canceling trips, you’ll come home more and have more time to work in your garden and make soup.
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