As you can see, I’m still on my going green kick. I’m actually getting a kick out of it, but it’s driving my dear hubby nuts! He can’t seem to remember what gets recycled and what gets trashed. So the rest of it seems to fall on deaf ears. And forget having him to use the reusable grocery bags (which we now have 7 of!) However, I will continue my quest to in doing just a little bit help preserve our planet and environment.
Sidenote, would you believe that I was driving down the street one day last week and actually saw a lady dumping old food down the storm drains? I wanted to physically shake her and say, “Lady, do you know that that mess is going right into our creeks?” But that too would have fallen on deaf ears. So I didn’t waste my time. No, by no means am I one of those “Save Our Planet” fanatics. But I have become somewhat more conscientious of the things that we do on a daily basis that affects our planet. And just by making a few small changes, we can help preserve our planet and its resources for our children. Don’t our children deserve it? Not to mention, going green can also help you save some of your hard earned money. Okay, end of my sidenote.
Now back to the original reason for this post. Looking for more ways to go green? Here are a few that I’ve come across, would you believe from my bank? Go BOFA!!!
5 Ways To Go Green
1. Park It
Promote climate change and save some gas money simply by relying less on your car. If you have access to trains, buses, or subways, use them. If you don’t, organize a car pool with coworkers. For those who simply can’t avoid driving, changing your oil regularly will make your vehicle last longer, reduce the likelihood of costly engine trouble, and reduce emissions. Another way to effect climate change and save at the pump, if your employer will allow it, is to telecommute a couple of days per week.
2. The Green House Effect
Make sure you’re using energy efficiently at home. Installing insulated high-performance windows and investing in energy efficient appliances (look for the Energy Star label) can save you 20-30% on your heating and cooling bill. A simple practice like moving your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter could save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. If you have central air conditioning, don’t close vents in unused rooms — most of the air will simply stay in the tubing, doing nothing to reduce your bill or lower emissions.
Set your refrigerator’s temperature at 37 degrees and your freezer at three — many people set these temperatures much lower than necessary, wasting energy and increasing emissions. When it comes to cooking, a microwave uses far less energy than a conventional oven or stove. You can also cut energy costs and reduce the burning of gas or coal by line-drying your clothes. You don-t need to hang your laundry out in the back yard — simply put a line up in your bathroom or laundry room.
Make sure your household gadgets are powered by rechargeable batteries. This is far more economical than constantly replacing dead batteries and will reduce the amount of dangerous waste in landfills. Energy efficient light bulbs both last longer and reduce the amount of electricity needed to light your home. There’s also the old trick of simply turning off the light when you leave a room.
3. Live Off the Land
If you have the space, the soil, and the green thumb, plant a garden to lower your food costs. Then fertilize it by starting a compost pile. This will reduce food waste and provide you with free, eco-friendly fertilizer. When you do buy food, go local and organic whenever possible. You’ll be supporting eco-friendly farming as well as your local economy. Organic foods are not cheap, but consider joining a food co-op if one exists in your area. Co-ops and farmers markets usually sell organic or locally grown foods and are much less expensive than corporate grocery stores. One should also never underestimate the power of leftovers. Salvaging what’s left on your plate prevents waste and the need to buy lunch.
4. Shop Responsibly
Meat is expensive for you and the fertilizers used in meat production are notorious carbon emitters. You also run the risk of eating meat tainted with pesticides and antibiotics. But the carnivorous environmentalists among us should take note: According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, simply eliminating one 3.5 ounce serving of beef, one egg, and one ounce of cheese from your daily diet will eliminate the need for 40 pounds of fertilizer.
Water may very well be the healthiest thing we can get for free, so why pay to get it out of a plastic bottle? Stop buying bottled water and invest in a simple filter for your kitchen tap. When you do buy heavily packaged groceries, make sure the packaging is recyclable. Then make sure you recycle it.
5. Cut the Paper
Even recycled paper requires an enormous amount of water and energy to produce. Eliminate the need for paper whenever possible. If you’re a coffee drinker, try making your own at home. You won’t produce any waste and the coffee maker will pay for itself with the money you save at coffee shops. Simply eliminating one three-dollar cup of coffee per day will save you almost $700 per year. Many cafes will also offer a discount if you bring your own mug. If 50 customers of a gourmet coffee chain were to use a reusable mug each day, they could help eliminate the need for 150,000 disposable paper cups daily. This equals 1.7 million pounds of paper, 3.7 million pounds of solid waste, and 150,000 trees a year.
Then there’s junk mail. According to the Center for a New American dream, a nonprofit organization promoting responsible consumerism, the average American receives 11 pieces of junk mail each week. All that unsolicited mail amounts to 100 million lost trees a year. You can personally save two of those trees simply by removing yourself from as many mailing lists as possible. In most cases you will still be able to receive special offers through email. Many companies now offer electronic statements via email and online bill payment options. These solutions will help cut down on paper and save you money. Relying more on email and less on hand-written letters will have similar benefits for the earth and your budget. Add a footer to your outgoing emails encouraging recipients to forego printing them. When you do have to use paper, print on both sides as often as possible.