I enjoy reading David's Do One Thing series as I find it useful for not only the recycling, waste reduction but also the recycling, money reduction aspect that many ideas have.

Below are the ideas and how effective I have been in doing them. This series has been ongoing for him since 2008. There are quite a few ideas and I thought I would go through 20 at a time. The first set of 20 are here if you missed it.

1.Buy Checks Made From Recycled Paper and Printed With Soy-Based Ink -
I so rarely write checks that it is taking forever to get through the 150 that I bought two years ago. However, I have Check Gallery bookmarked and will be buying recycled paper checks next time around.

2.Avoid The Antibacterial Soaps (link)
I don't seek out these soaps, I just grab what is on sale usually, though lately I am looking at buying local homemade soaps and they aren't anti-bacterial.

3.Clean Out The Lint Filter
Gosh, this should be standard practice but it seems that if you live in a complex with a shared washer/dryer unit everyone assumes that the other person will take care of it. And cleaning out the air vent is a good idea as well.

4.Install A Motion Detector
Minimal lighting, use only what you need. I recall that as a kid my parents used outlet timers for lights when they were away, and that could be setup as well as a cheaper alternative.

5.Avoid Using The Toilet As A Trash Can
No more cleaning out the hair brush and dropping it into the toilet then flushing 1.8 gallons of water. Though I do toss lighted matches into the toilet but I don't flush until the toilet is used again.

6.Reuse Reply Envelopes In Unsolicited Mail
My mom is GREAT at this, myself, not so much. I just forget to hold onto them. But they do make great shredded paper and I've heard of some people sending their junk mail back

7.Buy It In Glass Instead
I am actually working on this because I am just tired of drinking my water out of plastic and it not tasting as good as when I drink it out of a glass container. And I haven't broken a container yet... except in the freezer.

8.Bring Your Own Utensils To Work
I bring my lunch to work so I should be more disciplined to include utensils as well. I really only bring them when I have to have a steak knife, otherwise I just use the plastic ones at work.

9.Forgo The Produce Bags
When I am buying a small amount of items, running in and out, I don't grab them but when I need 5 apple and 2 pears I need a bag. It is handy and habit to tear off a bag nearby. It's the same kind of memory trouble I have when I forget the canvas bags in the car.

10.Get Yourself A Broom (link)
In this case David is talking about sweeping the concrete instead of using water to clean it off. I have a broom and I use it well.

11.Borrow Before You Buy
Truly I only remember having to borrow a carpet cleaner, I did eventually buy one but I don't recall the need to borrow anything. Oh wait, we have a sander that is gathering dust and taking up space, probably should have borrowed that.

12.Take Off Your Shoes
I could do better, but then that is one reason we got a carpet cleaner - winter is just sadistic towards carpeting.

13.Stop Washing Your Clothes
I haven't sold my washer, but the clothes are washed less frequently and instead I let the clothes air out so that I can wear them again later. I don't think I'm alone in that I wear my clothes, especially jeans, longer than a couple of days.

14.Use A Lid!
Warm up water faster, boil the egg faster, fry ham quicker and eat sooner. Oh, and it saves on electricity as well.

15.Leave No Trace
This is more of a green idea that when you are outdoors you leave the place the way you found it. I guess it could be attributed to dumpster diving as well, leave the dumpster cleaner than what you found it to be.

16.Hand Wash Plastic Cups (link)
I don't do this, maybe because it isn't promoted as a big deal. I rarely wash anything by hand really as I waste a lot of water doing so.

17.Give Up The Dryer Sheets
I haven't used dryer sheets at all in Colorado, my unprofessional opinion is that the low humidity may be a reason. I don't miss the dryer sheet smell, instead the clothes and towels just smell like washed clothes and towels and not violets, which is fine by me.

18.Shred Paper For Packing Material
Done! I have trash-bags full of the stuff. I should give the extra away on freecycle or something. The shredded paper goes into plastic bags so that they don't make a mess for the receiver.

19.Print Seventh Generation Coupons
Coupons are frugal and 7th Generation is a green/eco company that sells their products on most all grocery shelves. I have bought a couple of items, they are more expensive so you are buying first for the earth and second for the wallet.

20.Forego The Receipt
Most all places give a receipt automatically, and frankly I would like to have one in case I need to return and item. However David mentions that at the pump you can choose not to have the receipt print. However, I never have my checkbook handy to write the amount down, so I would have to write it on my hand so I can remember until I get home.


  1. Steffen // Wednesday, October 28, 2009 5:32:00 PM  

    For #1, forgo the checks altogether and use your bank's bill pay option. They will write the check and pay the postage. Most banks provide this service for free. If yours doesn't, balance the price of checks with the number of transactions per year.

    For #5, yes of course, but you can take it one step further. Many people think this is gross, but just as many think it's fine - if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down. My family is one homme and two femmes. TP is an issue, but common sense applies - don't get a clog. This saves money and resources. Bonus!

    For #6, the real value is if the envelope is postage paid. Printed labels cover the addresses. I figure if I'm solicited and they offer me the envelope, it isn't unethical to take advantage of their generosity.

    For #9, string bags are awesome for produce bags. I take them to the farmers' market all the time (and the arts market, the mall, the museum and more). You can wash them and they keep their shape.

    For #19, often, coupons from a manufacturer's site will print one on a whole page. Flip the page over and print on the opposite side in the opposite direction to get two coupons on one page.

    Keep up the incredible frugal work.

  2. Lawrence @ CRB // Friday, October 30, 2009 1:40:00 AM  

    Online web bill pay is fantastic. It saves time, money, and makes paying bills a much less painful experience.

  3. techwriter // Friday, October 30, 2009 9:15:00 AM  

    The problem is that even the power strip is sucking a little bit of juice. What would be good is if there were a wall switch for every outlet. Then you could turn off the switch when you leave the room.

  4. techwriter // Friday, October 30, 2009 9:17:00 AM  

    Oh, and turning off your computer has a dual purpose--not only do you save electricity but your computer is less likely to be hacked if it's turned off! :-)

  5. Sabrina Ahmed // Sunday, June 13, 2010 3:10:00 PM  

    I must really say that I like this article. As a member of the Green and Sustainable community I am always looking for new ways to lessen my human impact on the earth. These tips not only save time and money but also help the environment by recycling what would normally be wasted.

    Everyone can do something, even if its something as small as installing a water filter in your home. The other day I purchased a rain barell from http://www.greeneutopia.com so that my kids could learn to water our organic garden with recycled rainwater instead of pulling it needlessly from the tap. If your interested the site also has lots of info on current green trends and issues for those of you who, like me are always seeking to educate myself on how I can further my home and business efforts to live off the grid! Good Luck Everyone and Go Green!