How to Live with Green Guilt

Don't feel guilty about your not-so-friendly environmental habits.

We've all seen An Inconvenient Truth and know how important it is to be "eco-friendly," but sometimes toting around that Nalgene bottle seems like such a pain. So came up with 16 compromises to relieve the guilt when you want nothing more than to toss your batteries in the trash or leave the heater running all night long.

Green Guilt #1: "I hate the harsh light that comes from those energy-saving bulbs. Can I keep my incandescents?"

The Compromise: There's no getting around using energy saving bulbs, since the savings are enormous, but some bulbs are better than others. Check the Environmental Defense Fund's web site for their light bulb guide, and choose the best size, shape, color, and brightness for your room.

Green Guilt #2: "I never know what to do with old batteries, so sometimes I just throw them away. Is it really that bad?"

The Compromise: When used batteries go to landfills, the metals and toxins in them can eventually seep into the water supply, which is bad for everyone. Luckily, both Whole Foods and Ikea now take your old batteries, so you don't have to worry about them. Also, try to use rechargeable batteries whenever possible, and you won't have to think about recycling as often.

Green Guilt #3: "I can't stand being cold, so I leave the thermostat turned up at night. What's so wrong with that?"

The Compromise: Since heaters run on fossil fuels -- a non-replenishing resource -- they need to be used sparingly. Only turn on the thermostat when you're home, and preserve the most heat possible by checking for drafts around your windows and doors and keeping your attic insulated. Plus, put an extra quilt or two on your bed at night, and you'll be surprised at how warm you'll stay.

Green Guilt #4: "I never remember to bring my thermos or Nalgene bottle to work. Can I just drink out of paper cups?"

The Compromise: Although paper cups are better than styrofoam, the ones that are coated can't be recycled. If you insist on using a paper cup at work, try only using one per day and refill it at your office coffee machine or water cooler.

Check out 12 more green guilt compromises at