10 fresh ways to eco-nomize

Low-cost, no-fuss ideas to go green - every day

Eco on a dime

Thomas J. Story

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Being green doesn't have to mean investing in solar panels or a new hybrid. "It's just about taking that little extra step," explains Eszter Rabin, the founder of EmmaRose Papery, an eco-friendly stationery line in San Francisco.

When Eszter and her husband, Dan, moved into their rented San Francisco apartment five years ago, one of the first things they did ― after painting the interior with nontoxic paint, adding energy-efficient lightbulbs, and converting the wood-burning fireplace into a candle haven ― was to get rid of their second car. "Once I saw a whole family on a bike ― dad, mom, two kids ― and the guy was holding an umbrella," Eszter says.

"If that's possible, what can't we do?"

1. Free yourself from matchy-matchy Used furniture doesn't often come in sets. Don't be afraid to mix and match: Choose pieces with the same general shape and materials for a look that's both eclectic and cohesive. (See photo at top.)

2. Become a one-car family "We use the car only when carrying something heavy or if we're going out of town," says Eszter. Otherwise it's pedal power and an easy-to-park Vespa.

3. Turn your fireplace into a decor statement Woodsmoke contributes to air pollution; candles don't. "I got this idea in Amsterdam," Eszter says. "It creates a warm feeling without having to burn wood."

4. Support green businesses Seek out local, eco-friendly companies. "It's important that I set an example with my own business," says Eszter, whose home office is furnished with a salvaged desk. "We use mostly recycled paper and soy inks."

 

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