Limit Zest in Your Compost

Our 5 favorite Earth- and money -saving ideas

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 smart ways to cut waste and save money as well. 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 Naturally love to try them. –Danny Seo


When it comes to composting, organic matter like vegetable and fruit peels are great things to add to your compost bin. But there are some exceptions: the peels from citrus fruit like lemons and oranges. Because citrus oil is a natural pesticide, adding citrus can actually be a deterrent for worms to thrive in your compost. It’s best to scatter citrus peels around the bin to let them naturally degrade and also act as a natural pest repellant.


Soda and beer in aluminum cans are a greener choice than plastic bottles since metal can be recycled infinitely. But care must be taken when recycling them. Any residual liquid inside aluminum cans intensify when they dry out, and the strong smell of sugar or beer is too tempting for wildlife. The razor sharp edges of the can’s opening may harm wild animals. Before recycling, simply rinse out the inside of the can and crush it. And consider using a recycling bin with a tight fitting lid instead of a plastic bucket to keep curious critters out for their own good.


There’s one simple thing you can do to help support critical honey bee colonies: Plant more blue and violet colored flowers. Researchers have found that honey bees are naturally attracted to blue- and purple-hued blooms, and they will produce more nectar as a result. So plant more blue
and purple flowers wherever you can to create natural habitats that will keep bees buzzing and happy. As always, never use chemical insecticides and fertilizers in your garden when planting these deep hued flowers.


Got an extra shower cap you nabbed from a recent hotel stay? The plastic caps can be used for more than just keeping your hair dry. When packing, wrap the bottom of your shoes with shower caps to create a barrier that prevents all the germs, bacteria and dirt that rest on your soles from getting on the clean clothes in your suitcase. You can also use them to create mini greenhouses for seedlings. Just cover planters that are holding freshly planted seeds with a shower cap to create a warm, moist growing environment for your seeds.


Microfiber towels have gained a tremendous following because they are reusable and do a great job at gripping dirt, germs, and bacteria when you clean around the house. But as with anything that literally absorbs toxins, it’s important to clean your microfiber towels, too. Here’s a simple technique: Add a few drops of dishwashing soap to the towel and run warm water from the tap over it. Wring out the cloth until the water runs clean, then microwave the damp microfiber towel in the microwave on high for 90 seconds. This will steam heat any germs away, and give you a fresh smelling towel.