10 fresh ways to eco-nomize

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

5. Forgo disposables Think beyond the canvas shopping bag. "Even for vegetables or fruits, we don't use plastic," says Eszter, who has a closet full of colorful reusable bags collected on her travels. "We also reuse containers ― just wash them and refill at the bulk-food section."

6. Buy local food Strawberries in January? Be aware of how far your edibles travel to get to grocery shelves. Shopping for food at farmers' markets can take a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. But even at the supermarket, all you have to do is ask.

7. Compost and recycle "I take the trash, recycling, and compost bins out every week, and the lightest container is always the trash can," Dan says. Get a head start by putting an end to junk mail (one option is stopjunkmail.org). Keep a lidded container sink-side for easy compost collection.

8. Clean with natural products Use nontoxic cleaners (we love the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day line), or go DIY. "I try to clean most things with water, vinegar, castile soap, and lemon," says Eszter. Her recipe for pristine glass surfaces: 1 cup white vinegar to 1 cup water in a spray bottle.

9. Unplug Invest in central switches so electrical equipment doesn't keep humming when you're not home. Eszter's favorite energy-saving tip? "Wash only full loads of laundry and line-dry whatever you can." It's eco-friendly and easy on your clothes.

10. Garden wisely Conserve water by choosing plants that thrive in your climate. "All our plants are low-water or native," says Eszter. "We have succulents in the backyard and lavender and rosemary on the patio."

INFO  EmmaRose Papery, San Francisco; 415/235-6802.

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