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5 Easy ways to really go green

Lauren Fairbanks is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor who has penned for AOL, Young Money, and Eating Well Magazine, among others. She's also the founder and editor of LifeStyler, a NYC centric guide to budget living.

Green living tips

Going green isn't just about carrying around canvas grocery bags and shopping for organic fennel at your local green market. There are plenty of ways that individuals and families can go green without spending loads of money on overpriced produce and organic cotton T-shirts. Try the following five practically free ways to really go green.

CFL Lightbulb

Green tip #1

Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones

Energy-saving lightbulbs, like the CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulb), may cost a bit more upfront (around $15 compared with a standard bulb cost of a couple of bucks); however, CFLs can last up to 10 times longer, so the long-term benefits are well worth the initial investment and can drastically cut future costs of expensive lighting by nearly 75 percent.

Green tip #2

Join a CSA

Joining the locavore movement is an easy and cheap way to "go green." Sourcing food from local farms (sometimes called "community supported agriculure," or CSAs) helps out the local agricultural industry, provides healthy and in-season food for you and your family, and is typically cheaper than supermarket fare because there's little to no food transportation costs. CSAs typically deliver in full- and half-shares and run for an average of 20 weeks, providing food for almost half of the year.

Green tip #3

Wash clothes in cold water

Washing clothes in cold water instead of warm saves energy. According to World Watch, up to 85 percent of the energy used during washing comes from heating up the water, so by nixing that luxury you can save a fair amount of energy over the long term.

Green tip #4

Use natural light

Keep window treatments open during the day to take advantage of sunlight. Using natural light instead of artificial lighting light allows you to cut down on electricity use and also warms up your home from the sun.

Green tip #5

Unplug kitchen appliances

Small appliances can suck up a surprising amount of energy while just sitting around -- even when they are turned off. Make sure toasters, coffee machines and other appliances are only plugged in for the duration of the time they are in use.

Go green and save green

Homemade laundry detergent

Learn how to make 442 oz of laundry detergent for $1.47 in just 15 minutes!

More green tips for home, family and work

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