Everyone is aware by now that America’s economic downturn is a drastic one. Many are also aware that our environment needs help as well. However, what many fail to realize is that they can help save the environment by spending less. The following are ten ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while raising your savings:
1. Use Less Water: This is a no-brainer. By taking shorter showers and turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth or soaping the dishes you can severely cut down on water usage, thus saving money on your water bill. Those who want to go the extra mile can fill the shower water that’s wasted while waiting for the water to heat into a bucket, then use it on the plants around their house. If you use a dishwasher, only turn it on when it is full. You can even invest in a low-flow shower head.
2. Use Less Energy: One of the simplest things you can do is to ensure that you turn lights off of rooms you’re not actually in. Another option is to switch to Compact Florescent Lightbulbs (CFLs). These last longer and use less electricity. Furthermore, you should make it a habit to unplug all electrical appliances/gadgets when not in use. Just because they’re not on doesn’t mean they’re not using electricity. You can go one further step and switch off any power strips you use around the home before going out or to bed. Lastly, try layering up with clothes or blankets during the wintertime instead of cranking up the heater.
3. Walk, Bike Or Use Public Transportation: If you live in a city, it can often be difficult to avoid using your car. One option is to try and carpool when going to work or going out with friends. Another is to walk, bike or use public transportation when not travelling far. Sure, it takes longer but you save money in the long run and can get some exercise in the meantime.
4. Sign Up for a Local Community Garden: I realize not every city/town has community gardens around but if you happen to have one, or even just a backyard, you should use it to plant your own vegetables. The transportation of produce can be harmful to the environment. By planting your own you spend less and develop a hobby!
5. Use Rechargeable Batteries: Batteries are not cheap. Over time you’ll probably spend more than you want to know on batteries, not to mention how harmful to the environment they are when disposed of. By using rechargeable batteries you waste less and save money in the long run.
6. Go Paperless: Most companies that deal with billing their clients allow you to go paperless now. This means you can pay your bills online and not deal with writing a check and paying for postage to send it to them.
7. Consume Less: This can take many forms such as re-using certain items instead of tossing them and buying new ones or simply purchasing used items.
8. Recycle: Not everyone has a recycle bin in the building or home. Find out where your local recycle center is and head on over to convert those bottles and cans into money!
9. Say No to Bottled Water: By purchasing a filter for your faucet you can cut down on spending and the use of plastic. For a few dollars you can even purchase a reusable bottle, such as a Nalgene, that you can with you anywhere.
10. Grow Native Plants: Native plants are ones that are found locally and thus adapt well to their respective environments. If you live in a desert, for example, you can cut down on your water bill because plants that are native to the desert require less water.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are a plethora of ways you can help yourself and be eco-conscious. The point is that it’s fairly easy and doesn’t require too much effort—just be creative! Feel free to share below some of the ways you’ve helped our planet and your wallet.