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4 Ways to Go Green For Earth Day This Weekend

Written on April 20, 2012 at 10:08 am , by

Another way to go green? Bike rather than drive for your close errands. (Photo by Alexa Miller)

Living an eco-friendly lifestyle has become a year-round affair. However, the environment gets a little extra love in April, and on Sunday in particular for Earth Day. Here are four fun ways to mark the holiday this weekend…no composting required (unless you want to, of course)!

  1. Make a pledge to go green. Plant a garden, unplug appliances you aren’t using, cut a minute off your shower time…it all adds up. Do an “act of green” this weekend and log it at earthday.org to be a part of the Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green.
  2. Find earth-smart family entertainment at your IMAX theater. Step into the polar bear-filled world—you’ll feel like you should have brought your winter coat to the theater the 3D is so real!—for a virtual trip To The Arctic. The 40-minute film narrated by Meryl Streep shows the struggles animals and wildlife are having in the region as global temperatures rise. It’s sure to spark some interesting family discussions!
  3. Head to Target for a free reusable shopping bag. On Sunday, the superstore will be handing out 1.5 million totes across the country to encourage visitors to shop more sustainably. Grab one near guest services, and while you’re there, snag a booklet for savings on Earth Month products. For more details, click here.
  4. Check out page 24 of our April issue for our favorite eco-friendly finds. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your garden, wardrobe or walls, we selected six of our favorite environmentally-conscious and wallet-friendly goodies to feature. Take a look and treat yourself or a pal!

Now tell us: How will you be celebrating Earth Day this weekend?

15 Easy Ways to Go Green on the Cheap

Written on April 21, 2011 at 10:51 am , by

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

During the past few years, “green” living has gone mainstream. Words like “carbon footprint” are commonplace and many companies are trying to highlight (sometimes even fabricate) how eco-friendly they are so that consumers will view them more favorably.

But one thing you may wonder, whether you’ve considered switching to plant-based cleaners, energy star appliances, organic cotton clothing, or a backyard composter made from recycled plastic is this: Why does “doing good” for the earth have to be so darn expensive? Organic, natural, plant-based, recycled, biodegradable, and fair trade do—for the most part—cost more. And that higher expense, unfortunately, deters many consumers from changing their ways.

But if you’re willing to spend a little time and think creatively, there are plenty of zero- and low-cost options to green your lifestyle, diet and home. In honor of Earth Day tomorrow, here are some of the cheap ways you can go green to protect our planet:

1. Buy secondhand. If you do need something, buying secondhand is always better than buying new, even if that new product is eco-friendly. Buying secondhand uses existing resources instead of tapping into new ones.

2. Stop buying single-use disposable goods. If you are regularly buying single-use disposable items, such as bottled water, disposable toilet scrubbers and the like, consider investing those same dollars into a more permanent solution to save money and decrease waste that goes to landfills.

3. Unplug and turn off. When plugged into an outlet, many electronics are using power even when they’re off. You could invest in an expensive “smart” power strip to prevent this, or for free, you can simply make it a habit to unplug your electronics whenever you aren’t using them.

4. Opt out of mailing lists and switch to paperless billing. This will save you time, paper waste, and postage. Each time you buy something from a website or catalog, request that company not share your address with anyone else and say you do not want to be added to their mailing list. And don’t forget about officially opting out of credit offers (it’s free and easy!) to prevent even more junk mail from coming your way.

5. Buy fewer packaged foods. Those little plastic produce bags for your apples and broccoli—totally optional. When possible, forgo food packaging or try to make some of your purchasing decisions based on foods that use less packaging. This most often will apply to processed foods that you often don’t need to eat anyway. When you do, choose the larger sizes in lieu of small packages or single serving items to decrease packaging waste.

Continued: 10 More Tips to Be Green on a Budget


More From Spark People:

30 Days to a Greener Lifestyle

6 Ways to Get Lean Going Green

The Proven Weight-Loss Program That Isn’t a Diet