The Conscious Shopper Challenge: Coming in 2010

>> Sunday, December 6, 2009

I've mentioned before that I am an obsessively organized person. I'm talking seriously, seriously organized. To the point that it drives my husband crazy.

One day, I was thinking about my green journey, and I thought how nice it would have been to have a nice organized guide to going green - maybe even with little boxes for checking off when I completed each thing.

I also thought that it would be nice to reanalyze my green side, make sure I'm still committed in some areas and push myself a little farther in others.

So here's what I've come up with....

The Conscious Shopper Challenge: A Year to Go Green without Going Broke

I hope you'll join me as I systematically green my life with categorized challenges and weekly goals, from baby steps to jogging stride to marathon runner. And I promise any other obsessively organized people out there...there will be plenty of little boxes for checking off.

In 2010, you can...

1) Calculate your carbon footprint

Challenge #1: Trim Your Waste-Line

2) Keep track of your trash for a week
3) Switch to cloth bags
4) Start using a reusable water bottle/thermos
5) Make your own household cleaners
6) Dispose of your disposable paper products
7) Go green in the bathroom
8) Dispose of your disposable diapers
9) Reduce packaging
10) Start composting
11) Recycle everything
12) Pack a waste free lunch

Challenge #2: Energize

13) Change your bulbs
14) Get a home energy audit
15) Save energy through heating and cooling
16) Save energy when cooking
17) Save energy when washing dishes and laundry
18) Slay your vampires
19) Upgrade to energy star
20) Support renewable energy

Challenge #3: Water Down

21) Reduce your indoor water use
22) Reduce your outdoor water use

Challenge #4: Travel Sustainably

23) Walk
24) Bike
25) Use public transportation
26) Keep up with your car maintenance
27) Learn to hypermile
28) Upgrade to an energy efficient vehicle
29) Travel sustainably over long distances

Challenge #5: Non-Consumption

30) Avoid temptation
31) Buy used
32) Reuse/repair
33) Start a swap network
34) Have more fun, less stuff
35) Observe an ecosabbath

Challenge #6: Green Your Grocery Bill

36) Shop sustainably
37) Shop smart
38) Learn to cook
39) Eat less meat
40) Eat seasonally
41) Buy local
42) Buy organic
43) Plan a garden
44) Limit your special occasion foods

Challenge #7: Beyond Your Front Door

45) Vote
46) Bank sustainably
47) Get involved
48) Get to know your neighbors
49) Plan an act of eco-service
50) Pay a tithe


Robyn December 7, 2009 at 3:33 AM  

Erin- I love you and I want to be like you when I grow up. :)
I'm a somewhat organized person with dreams of being more organized and you always impress me.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper December 7, 2009 at 9:25 PM  

@Robyn - Aaaw, thanks...I aspire to have visited as many countries as you. :)

Scott Case December 16, 2009 at 1:10 PM  

I love "to do" lists. I hope you don't mind that we excerpted and linked to your post from our blog at

Scott Case

jennygranola December 16, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

Very nice blog! I live in Raleigh too. I found you through Kirsti Erickson Ehlers FB page. I'm trying to figure better ways to cook and eat locally without busting my budget. Currently I do most of my grocery shopping at Aldi's and the farmer's market where do you shop? And now I am going to check off "change light bulbs" Cheers! :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper December 17, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

@Scott - that's great! Thanks!

@jennygranola - Any friend of Kirsti's...:) Her husband Eric is my cousin. I shop at the state farmers market and Whole Foods. Kroger has the best prices on organics, but Whole Foods has greater selection and a rockin' bulk section (buying in bulk is one of the main ways I keep my costs low). I do shop a bit at aldi for things like crackers and cereal - did you know they're owned by the same company as Trader Joes? I'm also doing a winter CSA with Coon Rock Farm and am going to sign up for Papa Spuds when we get back from holiday travel....Also you might be interested to know that I'm starting a Sustainable Triangle blog in January. It will be all about going green in the Triangle area. Phew! Long answer!

Condo Blues December 28, 2009 at 6:19 PM  

while hypermiling can save on gas, isn't it dangerous? And some practices like drafting are illegal because they can cause accidents.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper December 28, 2009 at 6:37 PM  

@condoblues - From the very little I know about hypermiling, I'd say some extreme methods like drafting and the crazy thing where they shift into neutral would be very dangerous but that there are less extreme methods that are fine. I plan to look into it more later.

I saw this episode of the lazy environmentalist where a driving expert was teaching a delivery woman to hypermile and he improved her cars mileage by 10 mpg. But he was doing all sorts of things I'd never do. It was totally crazy.

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