By Mary Mazzoni on Jan 16, 2012

10 Ways to Green Your Day Off


If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably had the Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day weekends circled on your calendar since November. But don’t forget the planet while you’re basking in the glory of your extra day off. From volunteering to weatherizing, here are 10 ways to green your three-day weekend.

Green Tip #1: Use your time off to explore a farmer's market in your area. You never know what you may find! Photo: Flickr/Marc_Smith

1. Visit a farmer’s market

Since you have some free time on your hands, make a trip to that unexplored farmer’s market you’ve been eying. Buying local and sustainably-farmed produce dramatically decreases the footprint of your nightly meals, and these picks tend to be healthier and tastier, too. From heirloom veggies to homemade hot sauce, you never know what you might find from farmers and vendors in your area.

Not sure where to find a farmer’s market near you? Just punch your zip code into the USDA or Local Harvest databases, and you’ll get a list of choices in your neighborhood.

READ: Your Local Guide to Winter Produce

2. Explore your neighborhood

If you’re ever stumped for a green activity, the best thing you can do is get outside. Spending time outdoors helps you remember why protecting the planet is so important, and you’ll also save some cash on your electric bill, as you won’t have to use energy for heating and lighting your home.

So, pile on the winter gear, and head to a local pocket park, botanical garden or uncharted walking path to experience something new in your town. Don’t know where to go? Head to your town or municipality’s Website to find listings of nearby parks, outdoor events and more. Once you get home, get cozy and enjoy one of our yummy coffee shop-free winter beverages to warm up.

READ: 10 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors

3. Volunteer

Take a page from Dr. King’s book and do a little volunteering in your spare time. Lend a hand at a local community garden or animal shelter, or take part in park or beach cleanup.

Most municipalities have a calendar of upcoming volunteer days on their Website. But if you don’t see an event that strikes your fancy, a simple Google search with your town’s name and the words “Martin Luther King Day (or Presidents’ Day) volunteering” should point you in the right direction.

SEE: Great American Cleanup Kicks Off in Times Square

4. Relax the natural way

Planning a day full of much-needed TLC? Skip the pricey eco spa, and do a little relaxing right in your own home. Dim the lights, spark up some all-natural candles and test out one of these five luxe spa treatments that you can do yourself on the cheap. Most treatments cost less than $10!

And if the winter weather has been taking a toll on your bod, this is a great time to get your fix on. Check out our DIY guide to curing common winter woes like dry skin, chapped lips and frizzy hair using common pantry ingredients.

SEE: Spa Treatments Made from Wilted Roses

5. Do some winter weatherizing

If you’ve noticed a few drafts in your home, apartment or dorm room, your day off is the perfect time to make things a little more comfortable (and energy-efficient!). Start by taking a walk through all of your rooms, and make note of any drafty areas. Then, use our weatherization guides for homeowners, apartment-dwellers and dorm residents to fix the problem.

Also, take a moment to check out your heating system. Make sure the exterior of your system is clean and free of obstructions, and change the air filter if it looks dirty. If you live in an apartment or dorm room, speak to your landlord or RA about heating system maintenance, as an inefficient system can suck up loads of energy and cost you or your school big bucks on utilities.

READ: Cheap Ways to Do a ‘Lite’ Home Remodel


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