I’ve been thinking about eco-friendly habits lately. Or maybe I’ve been thinking about how to justify lazy habits as eco-friendly. I’m not sure, exactly. But I thought I’d share my ponderance with you. Here are five things you can do that sound kinda gross, but are actually green. Most of them will help conserve water.

Seriously, some of these may challenge your inner-princess. I’ll start with things low on the ick scale and move up the ladder.

1. Keep your spoiled food and compost it

I’m lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where I can compost leftover, unused, and spoiled food (and other organic materials). You may not think composting is an option for you, but there are lots of places around the nation that accept organic materials for composting. Go to www.findacomposter.com and find the facility nearest you. There may not be a location close or convenient for you, but you can still keep your commitment to composting. Consider dedicating one of the shelves in your freezer to save food items. That should help the food stay as non-icky as possible while you drive to the nearest location once a month — or however often you can manage. You can also buy containers to store food for composting. Or you can try composting yourself! Just make sure you follow any state, regional, or city ordinances regarding composting.

2. Skip a shower for a day or two
Is he singing because he's happily showering after skipping a day. Or is he happy because he's letting go?

Is he happy because he’s showering after skipping a day? Or is he happy because he’s letting go?

I don’t mean to send us back to the dark ages where people are covered in muck and mire and feared bathing. I’m just suggesting that we don’t all exert ourselves daily to the point where a shower is necessary. Maybe you stayed in bed and read Harry Potter all day. Maybe you got caught up in an 8-hour [Downton Abbey, Dexter, AbFab, The Wire] marathon on television. Maybe you went to a theatre a watched all the Lord of the Ring films before The Hobbit opened. These things happen. And they don’t make you dirty. Er…I guess it depends on what you are watching / reading. Anyway, you could skip a shower on a day like this and not cause wrinkled noses. In fact, bathing too much is bad for you skin.

3. Wear your clothes more than once before washing

Most of us already do this with our dry cleaning because dry cleaning can be expensive. It isn’t too much of a leap to apply this philosophy to all our clothes. Well, maybe not underwear. I don’t know if I can reuse my skivvies between washes. But other apparel…I’m okay with that. Especially on an aforementioned — and totally hypothetical — day where I spent most of my time watching / reading. But if you spend the day working in dirt or mud (or worse), you should totally wash those clothes (and yourself) after one use.

4. Don’t flush the toilet every time
What color is the water? Your guess is as good as mine!

What color is the water? Your guess is as good as mine!

You may have heard the saying, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” That’s pretty much what I’m suggesting. You won’t save much money, but like #1 above, leaving #1 in the toilet will save water. Saving water is pretty important for us Texas gals. Water use and water conservation are hot green and hot political topics here. Letting it mellow can cause toilet stains, though, so be sure to stay on top of cleaning your toilets. If you’re still creeped out by this idea, here’s step-by-step on how to adjust to this advice.

5. Pee in the shower

Maybe it’s the sound of falling water. Maybe it’s the sensation of being engulfed in warmth and steam. But there’s something about being in the shower that makes me do the toddler pee-pee dance. But apparently, I shouldn’t fret. I should just relax and…well, you know. Don’t judge! Lots of people pee in the shower. In a 2009 survey of nearly 1,000 women, about 75% of respondents admitted to Glamour magazine they tinkle in the lavatory, but not in the toilet. And rightly so! Not flushing the toilet can save between 365 and 2,555 gallons per non-flush per year. Heck, Brazil encourages peeing in the shower and even produced a public service announcement to educate the populace. So open the floodgates people! At least in the shower. [Note: This advice does not -- in any way, shape, or form -- apply to taking baths.]

So there you have it. Am I suggesting you live unhygienically? No. Am I suggesting you be lazy and stinky? No. I am suggesting you loosen convention enough to conserve and recycle. What do you say? Can you do it?!


+ Featured image: New (in 2007) state of the art recycling facility at the Tesco Hypermarket, Irlam, UK.