My Best Green Tips for Earth Day

    Because Earth day is coming up, I wanted to list a couple of smart and not-so-obvious tips from me to be more green. Hope they inspire you!

* Read reviews before you buy stuff. This will help you avoid stuff that breaks quickly or simply isn't suitable for you, and then ends up in the landfill. It is also vote for quality and durable items and against crappy quality. For beauty items I like to check on Makeupalley, for other stuff Amazon. There are of course also amazing local review resources (in Germany I recommend Pinkmelon, Öko Test, Stifung Warentest and

* Making crafts with wine corks and plastic bottles isn't going to save the earth. I mean, it's cute and all that, but it's really low impact for that much time and energy and I feel like it's just a quick way to lessen the guilt. How about avoiding non-recyclable plastic bottles altogether (or maybe even giving up bottled water) and buying organic wine ?

* Carry cloth bags / totes / shoppers. The plastic / paper bags you get from the store are not only bad for the planet, they also make the wearer look cheap. And the ones from higher-end stores with logos simply look gauche.

* Bea from The Zero Waste Home just published her book: Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste. I read the beginning of it at the preview on Amazon, and found it deeply interesting. For many people, a minimalistic lifestyle emerges out of thriftiness or a generally alternative lifestyle. But Bea and her family had it all and were living the American dream and it was the search for fulfillment and happiness that got her down the path to zero waste. On a side note, as an European it is really hard for me to imagine living very far away from cafes, libraries and culture!

* Recycling isn't all it's cracked up to be. Refuse, reuse and compost whenever possible.

* Get a watt-hour meter. It is a small and cheap device to monitor how much electricity the appliance is using. It goes in between the plug and socket. Compare the numbers to the electricity usage of energy-saving models on the internet. I found out that my old fridge guzzled 300€ worth of electricity a year, and the new one just 30€!

* If you're not buying fair trade chocolate, you are most probably supporting child labour.

* Beware of green-washing. Compostable plastic is not really green in practice. Neither is the The Body Shop, soy, bio-diesel.

* DIY and repair skills are green, even if it's just darning and knowing the proper way to glue stuff together or a pot of herbs on your windowsill.

* Consider BIFL, aka Buying It For Life: choosing durable, practical and well made products that you won't have to rebuy continually. Obviously you can't BIFL nail polish or T-shirts, but you can choose a hair dryer, comb or brush, cooking pot, vacuum cleaner or snow boots.

* How and with what ingredients a company produces their products has much more impact than any social projects it claims to be involved in. Just do the math.

* Biking is fun.

* There is always a something you can change right now to lessen your ecological footprint on the earth that is neither expensive not difficult. Do it, right now.

* And finally: our wants and addiction to comfort isn't always the most important thing in the world.

And just to end things on a positive note, here is a cute guy for you:

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