It's Easy Being Green
Earth Day – celebrated in the United States on April 22 – was conceived in 1970 to promote awareness for Earth's environment and to encourage conservation efforts. This year, as the holiday approaches, we're thinking about small changes we can make in our daily lives to help the planet thrive.
The good news about an eco-friendly lifestyle is that it doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. In fact, there are many ways of going green that are kind to your wallet. Here are a few easy tips to help you cut back on wasteful and destructive habits and save money at the same time.
- Unplug appliances when you aren't using them, or use 'smart' power strips that cut phantom power. You can save 40 watt-hours per day (up to 4 cents per day) by turning your computer off at night.
- Wash clothes in cold or warm water. If all the households in the U.S. switched from hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day. Also, only launder clothes when you have a full load.
- Replace older incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light blubs (CFLs). CFLs use 75 percent less energy, prevent greenhouse gas emissions and have a much longer lifespan than traditional bulbs.
Reduce Water Use
- Take shorter showers, or shower with a partner, to reduce water use. This practice will lower your water bill and heating bill, as well.
- Instead of buying bottled water, which is both expensive and produces a massive amount of plastic waste, use a filter to purify tap water from the faucet.
- If you do like a to-go drink (water, coffee or otherwise) when you're traveling or commuting to work, get in the habit of carrying a reusable aluminum bottle instead of a plastic one.
- Consider buying items from vintage or second-hand stores. Shopping online? Check out Craigslist or eBay to find great deals on everything from furniture to bikes to musical instruments.
- Buy in bulk. Purchasing products in larger quantities cuts down on packaging waste and saves you money in the long run.
- Buy groceries from local growers. Most produce in the U.S. is shipped an average of 1,500 miles before being sold. Buying local cuts down on carbon emissions and supports community farmers.
Pare Down on Paper
- Bank paperless. Not only does it cut down on paper waste from printed statements, but it also prevents mail mix-ups and, in many cases, you will enjoy faster turnarounds on requests.
- Pay bills online. By some estimates, if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we'd save 18.5 billion trees every year.
- Fly with an e-ticket. The processing cost of a paper ticket is approximately $10, while e-tickets cost just $1. And you won't end up spending so much time waiting in line