March 6, 2012

How-To Tips: Green Lifestyles That Don’t Break The Bank. ~ Sara Consolati

I thought I’d share a little bit about how we live green without spending copious amount of money and supporting ugly philosophies.

Hyderabad, 2006

We recycle 50-75% of our trash. We utilize The Town Dump, and we do 100% of the work. This helps to know how the process works. The dos and don’t s, if you will. Another important factor to us is that we can see the process, witness the start to end: How we consume.

Compost. This is still on our Green To-Do List, unfortunately we do not have the space or the means to make this more of a convenient process for us while living in an apartment. All the going out of the way would only add more waste to our process. But, if you have the means I urge you to try it. The process is very rewarding.

We shop locally 75-80% of the time, with the exception of Etsy, and consequently purchasing from international craftsmen. The only exception I am willing to make for travel time of any item is how the product was made and by whom. For us, stories and faces are everything in the consuming process.

98% of our groceries are bought, sold and grown locally –– within a 100 mile radius). Instead of one-stop-shopping at let’s say, Stop N’ Shop, or your equivalent of a hometown grocery corporation, wander, ask around –– observe. There are more and more people and places popping up that are supporting local farmers and craftsmen, in an attempt to make it easier and accessible for The Average Joe. Check out your local farms, roadside veggie/fruit stands, check out your newspaper for weekly farmer’s market’s and mom and pop shops. 

Buy organic whenever possible, push your local stores for these options.

PVC Free Shower Curtains. Plastic shower curtain liners are one of the largest current problems in our landfills, and have no biodegradable components. Look for the PVC Free options to help speed up the time it spends on our earth, and is a healthier option for your family.   Here.

Garbage Bags made of Recycled Content. Those Glad Guys have caught wind of the sweeping Green trend in our current times, but there are many other options. Amazon is another resource. *Note: This is part of the 20-25% I have had a hard time finding locally, and unfortunately I catch myself still having to support corporation policies and customer service I may not agree with. I remind myself there is only so much control I have as a single human. My only advice is: do what you can and come to acceptable terms with those circumstances you may have to compromise your ideals for reality.

Reuse plastic bags, canvas, backpacks and gym bags to load and carry your groceries, to organize your recyclables,  or to line your garbage cans. I keep a couple of canvas bags in my car for those impromptu grocery stops or thrifting extravaganzas.

Walk More, Drive Less.

Sew your own cloth napkins.  There are a slew of sewing tutorials out there to help you along the way (maybe one of these days I’ll get around to making one of my own). Save paper, trees, and the landfill. By using old scraps of fabric, old t-shirts or long johns are great for dish cloths and cleaning rags. Rip them up and keep them in a bucket under the sink, in a supply closet or in the garage.

Most Importantly: Seek out your local Goodwill & Salvation Army locations, secondhand and consignment shops, even antique stores/dealers. There are many mom and pop shops still thriving, we just need to be looking and more willing to seek out even the most obscurest of places. I urge you to talk and ask questions because these are the people who know where to look.

Even with this eco

nomy, in my community I am seeing a lot of turnover in retail spaces, but this gives the thrifters more opportunity. Honestly, look, wander and you’re bound to find something new.

Churches, auctions etc. Flea markets, or simply ask your neighbors and family members. Tag sales, and better yet: Estate sales. This is where it’s at. Certainly not the death part, if that’s the case. But in many cases estates are being cleaned out by family members or realtors that either don’t want to deal with the mess or the memories, OR they have picked through and taken what does carry the memories, and they are emptying the house as much as possible before having to call a truck to load it all away. Nonetheless, this is where you can find the vintage stuff, and the more you buy the more you can haggle and bend prices to suit your bulk buys.

 Set up clothes and housewares swaps with your friends.

I don’t know about you, but I always have a Goodwill Box going, and essentially always something to spare. Some other great opportunities to share your vintage, homemade and other creative items are: Etsy, Ebay, and even Amazon offers a venue to set up shop.

Please share other ideas or venues with us in the comment section. We’d love to know where else to look and other secrets up your sleeves.

We support small businesses. I do yoga locally. I have a baker and a candle maker. I buy my bras locally. Coffee, and eat out at restaurants that serve local ingredients. It’s doable. For me.

It should be noted: I am not trying to preach, but I think it’s important for myself to think about what and whom I support, and essentially how I consume. Simply, these questions are where my values stem from.

We all deserve the choice to live healthy and should have access to the information to support those values.


Editor: Lindsay Friedman


Sara Consolati lives and writes in The Berkshires Hills of Western Massachusetts, where she works for a Neurologist, and indulges in farmers markets, hiking, and Hot Yoga on the regular! You can shop with her on etys.com: RobbinTheHood Vintage, Follow her Blog: JustMadForASentence.tumblr.com, or by email: [email protected].

Read 4 Comments and Reply

Read 4 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant journal  |  Contribution: 1,375,490