Green Journal: Green Life Tips

In January, 2008, The Chicago Tribune published an article “50 Simple Tips from a Year of Living the Green Life,” by Karen Klages. Beth Botts, Marjorie David, Elaine Matsushita, Tiffany Meyers, Cindy Dampier and William Hagerman contributed to this story. Here are some highlights from the article and my commentary.

Water-saving Planting

Plant thirstier plants closer to the house. Choose fescues for lawns. Mulch to keep water from evaporating. Use native plants.

My Favorite Peperomia. Photo: Amy Rudberg.

Commentary: For indoor plants, choose Peperomia or plants that don't need a lot of care. You should water your plants in a sink once a week; let the water drain completely before putting them on a flat storage dish or in a small plastic container. You can get away with watering Pepperomia once every two weeks once in a while. They're difficult to kill so you'll save money on buying new plants every year.

Plastic Bags

Bring your own re-usable bags to grocery stores (plastic, canvas, net).

Plastic Bags
Ten in One Bag. Photo: Amy Rudberg.

Commentary: Whole Foods will give you 5 cents per bag if you re-use them. Just store them, one inside of the other, and then take them to the store when you need them. If you're buying something you can just put in your bag or pocket, refuse a bag. You can re-use store plastic bags instead of just throwing them away: use them as garbage bags, trash bags for small waste baskets, snack bags, storage bags, and so forth.

Light Bulbs

Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs; replacing 5 bulbs will save you $25 to $65 a year in energy costs. CFLs contain small amounts of mercury so recycle CFLs responsibly. Go to IKEA stores for free CFL recycling. Go to for information on recycling sites.

CFL in the Bedroom. Photo: Amy Rudberg.

Commentary: CFLs may cost more than incandescent bulbs but they last 10 times longer. Since CFLs contain small amounts of mercury, you still need to be careful if they break; don't just throw them in your garbage. Accumulate the CFLs when they're depleted and then drop them off at a recycling center. Better yet, call the stores where you buy them or write to the manufacturers and tell them you want them to take the bulbs back for recycling.

Study About Recylcing

Learn about recycling from these web sites:

More Green Life Tips will be discussed in future blogs.

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