Don't panic. You don't have to make your own cleaning products or use cloth diapers.
Here are 17 easy ways to be green any day of the year, culled from utility experts to moms everywhere.
1. How many times do you forget to bring your bags inside the grocery store? Instead of telling yourself, "OK, next time I'll remember" (you probably won't), just go back to the car and get your bags.
2. Avoid the temptation to use the drive-through lane at pharmacies, banks and fast-food joints. Walk inside, and you'll get a little exercise.
3. Wash clothes in cold water. That way you don't turn the whites pink if a red shirt sneaks in with the load.
4. Don't stand there with refrigerator door open while you ponder. There's nothing good in the house to eat anyway.
5. Unplug unused cellphone and laptop chargers.
6. Pay bills online or by phone. Sign up for electronic statements for bills, banking and credit cards. Stop unwanted mail by going to www.ecocycle.org/junkmail.
7. Switch to reusable water bottles and coffee cups.
8. Keep tires properly inflated.
9. Don't run the water while brushing your teeth.
10. Walk the kids to the school bus. Take the bus to outings in Seattle: It saves on parking fees and parking tickets. You can plan a trip at www.soundtransit.org.
11. Feeling a tad chilly lounging around the house half-naked in shorts and T-shirt? Put on more clothes rather than cranking up the heat.
12. Use light dimmers and energy-efficient light bulbs.
13. Invest in energy-saving appliances. These really do cut bills. Some qualify for utility and income tax rebates.
14. Got lots of grass to mow? Rent a herd of goats. They'll fertilize it while they're at it.
15. Get organized. Know where your stuff is. Before you buy an item, look around the house to see whether you already have something that will work just as well.
16. Buy gently used toys at yard sales, thrift stores or online at sites such as www.babyplays.com.
17. Relax. Quit expending energy. St. Patrick's Day is a fun holiday. Drink a green beer.
Sources: www.snopud.com and www.50waystohelp.com
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