Everyday, I pen a syndicated column called Do Just One Thing that appears in newspapers across the country. Over the past several years, I’ve accumulated thousands of tips that not only help people to live a little bit greener each day, but are also smart ways to cut waste and save money. In each issue of Naturally, I’ll round up my all-time favorite tips that are clever, fun and simple enough that I think you’ll love to try them. –Danny Seo
SOAK ON THIS
If you feel like lingering in a hot shower to luxuriate and relax a little bit, why not take a bath instead? A typical shower uses about five gallons of water per minute, while a hot bath uses around 30 gallons. If you shower longer than six minutes, then a nice hot bubble bath will actually be much more water efficient. And with a bath, you can linger and soak for as long as you want—without the guilt.
PICK THE PERFECT PETALS.
Did you know many exotic flowers sold at the supermarket or by florists come from faraway places like China and South America? If you think flowers that have more frequent-flier miles than you do is crazy, think local flowers instead. Floral stems that come from distant places are flown in on gas-guzzling planes due to their short life span. To find locally grown flowers, use the website LocalHarvest (localharvest.org) to find nearby growers. Just type in your zip code and a list of local farmers, farms and retail stores will pop up.
If you’re a baker, there’s nothing worse than going to your pantry and finding flour that’s gone rancid. When you open bags of flour at home, transfer the contents out of the bag and into an airtight container. And store the flour in the freezer. According to the Wheat Foods Council, flour can last indefinitely if frozen. In the fridge, it can stay fresh for two whole years.
SHARE THE LOVE
If you have a wedding gown that’s less than five years old or a unique vintage design that you’d like to donate to someone in need, consider Brides Across America. The non-profit organization accepts lightly-used wedding gowns in all sizes (and accessories like veils and tiaras), then gives them to military brides in need. The organization has been honored by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for their efforts to support active military members. Learn more at bridesacrossamerica.com
DO GOOD AND GIVE RIGHT
If you want to support your local animal shelter, make sure you’re donating items they actually need instead of creating a burden for the organization. Items like open bags of dog food, old toys, human personal care products, crates or carrying cases and stacks of newspaper are not only unwanted, but can cost the shelter money. These items are not needed for their rescue animals and the shelters are forced to dispose of them, costing them money and manpower that can be used to help animals. If you want to donate, call or visit your shelter and ask for a shopping list.