Many times when we talk about “going green,” we think about how much green it will cost us. There are many ways to live a healthier life and be gentler on the environment without spending more. Here are five simple ways that are all free, and some will also save you money.
Stop buying water. Ditching plastic bottles of water and using reusable containers will save big bucks in the long run. But there are other situations where we pay for water without realizing it. Choosing concentrated juices is cheaper than buying jugs. You’ll save about a nickel an ounce. Instead of using expensive irrigation systems in your yard, use rain barrels or other collection devices.
Sell the small stuff. Got gadgets and other electronics collecting dust around your home? They are valuable even if they don’t work. Many major retailers now accept old electronics and will give you a store gift card in return. And, many online sites will pay to have you ship them your stuff. You get a check after they receive it. These items get resold or recycled for metal. Check DoYourPart.com/Columns for a list of resources. Also, take gently worn clothing, sporting equipment, and children’s gear to consignment shops to earn a few dollars.
Refuse to waste gas. To maximize your fuel efficiency and lower toxic emissions, keep up with routine maintenance and make sure to keep your vehicle’s tires properly inflated. Avoid aggressive driving where you accelerate and brake frequently. Use cruise control on flat terrain, and avoid driving with extra weight in the vehicle. Turn the engine off if you’ll be idling for more than 30 seconds.
Put an end to paper towels. What’s worse than throwing out barely used paper towels? That would be spending money on them. The cheapest paper towels on the market are about a dollar per roll. If you go through two rolls a week, that’s more than $200 a year. Keep dish towels and rags handy instead.
Lighten your laundry’s load. Up to 85 percent of the energy used to wash clothes comes from heating the water. Switch to cold water, and you’re likely to see instant energy savings.
Terri Bennett: DoYourPart.com