I’ve learned over the years that I’m not always the best teacher. When you’ve been doing something for a while, it can be difficult to instruct someone who is just getting started. This tends to hold true for me in my journey to green living. It’s easy for me to forget that there are lots of people who don’t recycle or care about turning out the lights when they leave a room. And it can be hard to reach them with green goals that seem unachievable.
So for those green newbies, or for those of you who might be stagnant in your green lifestyle, here are a few green acts you can do at home today to make a big impact on your carbon footprint:
Do your laundry in cold water.
You do not need a special laundry detergent to get your clothing completely clean when washed in cold water. We’ve been doing this for at least a year, and we’ve never had a problem getting our clothes clean. With set-in stains, we treat and soak them like we would anyway, then wash the items in cold water. Your fingers might get a little chilly when unloading the machine, but other than that, there’s no noticeable difference.
Run your dishwasher only when full.
With only three people living in our home, we’ve been known to go 2 or 3 days without running the dishwasher. We run it only when it is completely full. As in so full we couldn’t fit another fork, let alone a bowl or cup. OK…that might be a slight overexaggeration, but you get my point. To make this easier and so dishes don’t pile up, we load the dishwasher gradually throughout the day. If we use a cup that we plan to use again, we put it on the counter until we’re ready for it again. With items like plates and forks, where we’d only get a single use before washing, we put them immediately in the dishwasher after use. That way, but the time it’s full, all we have to do is load up the detergent a turn it on.
Eat a meatless meal once a week.
Hear me out on this one, because some people immediately balk at the idea of eliminating meat from their diets. I am not a vegetarian, and I honestly don’t know that I want to be. However, we do make an effort to eat a meatless meal at least once a week, and it’s not hard to do. For us, meatless meals do not mean “cheeseless” meals, but your definition can be as strict as you want it to be. My personal favorite meal that falls into this category is a clone recipe that tastes a LOT like Sbarro’s baked ziti. I’ve made this a lot over the past year, so I’ve noted where I made tweaks.
Sbarro’s Baked Ziti Clone Recipe
2 lbs. uncooked Ziti (I often substitute penne pasta)
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
3 oz. grated romano cheese (I use a mix of grated romano and parmesan)
3 cups Garlic & onion tomato sauce (any brand will do)
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 1/2 lbs. shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook Ziti according to package directions, about 12 to 14 minutes, stirring often. After cooking, drain ziti well, but do not rinse!
Combine ricotta, romano, tomato sauce (reserve 1/4 cup) and pepper in large mixing bowl. Gently combine cooked ziti with cheese/sauce mixture.
In a 13″x9″x2″ pan (I generally have enough for 2 pans), spread the 1/4 cup of reserved sauce over the bottom. Add ziti mixture and top with mozzarella cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake until mozzarella is thoroughly melted (about 12-15 minutes).
Serve with garlic bread and additional sauce if desired.
I love this recipe, because I always have enough for 2 pans, and that lasts us 2-3 days for lunch and dinner. No one ever complains because it is so rich and tasty, and I’m not complaining because I don’t have to cook again for a few days!
If you’re looking for more quick tips like these, check out One Million Acts of Green. If you’re already doing these things, you have a head start! Mark these three acts completed and you’ll also be automatically entered in the Three to Green sweepstakes! So sign up now, join the Green Your Decor group and lets make our lives greener together!
Disclosure: Rockfish Interactive, in partnership with Cisco, has compensated me for my time on this campaign. All opinions and thoughts are my own, as always. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. See what the other green bloggers have to say: Sommer from Green and Clean Mom, Lisa at Condo Blues and Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. (sponsored opp)
Recipe source: Cajun Cooking Recipes