Trying to live a greener life can seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? How much money will it cost? How can you be sure you're making an impact?
Mindy Pennybacker, an environmental journalist and Body+Soul magazine contributor, tackles the issue head on in her new book, "Do One Green Thing."
"'One green thing' means something you can do to get yourself started," Mindy says. "It's simple, easy, and doable."
If you're ready to add one green thing to your life, here are a few places to start:
- Buy organic, selectively: Even if you can't afford the time and effort required to buy all-organic, try making a commitment to buy your favorite fruit or vegetable organic. Or, try only buying organic in the fruits and vegetables with the highest toxicity. (Download the list at foodnews.org.)
- Read cosmetics labels: For cosmetics and personal care, avoid the ingredient "fragrance" because that usually connotes synthetics. For skin care, avoid paraben, which has been linked to cancer.
- Pick the right plastics: Steer clear of plastic containers found to release the chemicals Bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates, toxins that have been linked to abnormal development. Check the recycling code number on the bottom of the product, avoiding No. 3, No. 6, and No. 7. (Learn more about plastic toxicity on Mindy's blog.)
- Green your laundry: Use a concentrated, bio-based detergent that's fragrance-free, such as Martha Stewart Clean. Cold water uses less energy, but it's okay to use hot once in a while. And hang-dry -- every time you hang-dry a load, you save 4.4 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
Read more of Mindy's green-living tips at Econundrums and at GreenerPenny.