This Earth Day, make a pledge to be green and save some green! By following the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra, you can help the environment while helping your wallet. Take a look at the list below, and try to find at least one thing you can change or improve.
1. Gas – The cost of gas is no joke. Carpooling with a spouse or coworker even one day a week can make a significant difference on emissions and how often you need to fill your tank. If your job allows it, you could also try working from home a few days a month, or working four 10 hour days to save a trip a week. If you are one of those lucky enough to live close to work, try walking or biking on nice days.
2. Electricity – Even when turned off, anything connected to a plug sucks energy. Try to unplug items that you aren’t using, or at least those that you don’t use very often. If your outlets are hard to get to, plug several electronics into a power strip that you can just flip off when you need to. Another easy way to save on electricity is to switch to Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs.
3. Water – Simply turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth can save enough water to make a difference, but there are several other ways to conserve water around your house. Get a low-flow toilet, or for a cheaper option, displace the water in the tank with a plastic water bottle or rocks. This will leave enough water to flush, but reduce the excess water that isn’t needed to do the job. Also, modern dishwashers tend to use less water than hand washing, and professional car washes use less than you would at home.
4. Paper/Plastic/Styrofoam – Do you find yourself constantly leaving notes around your house for yourself or others? Pick a central place in the home and put up a dry erase board instead! Another easy way to reduce the amount of paper/plastic you use is to move away from paper plates and plastic utensils. It is actually better for the environment to use the little bit of water to wash a plate and fork than to throw away disposable dishes. You should also take your own coffee mug and/or water bottle to work. By keeping these items at work and rinsing them daily, you are lowering the amount of trash you produce.
1. Containers – Those boxes or plastic containers are perfect for home or office organization! Simply cover them with wrapping paper or pretty duct tape to make them match your current décor.
2. Compost – Potato skins, egg shells, vegetable stems, coffee grounds, leaves, and even dryer lint can all be reused to fertilize your lawn or garden. Learn the basics of composting.
3. Water – Get a rain barrel and use the water for your lawn, garden, or outdoor water feature. You can also use this water to bathe your pets or wash your car.
4. Tools – Most homes will purchase a tool for one job then let it sit in the garage or shed for years. Buy cheaper tools at a garage sale, borrow from a friend or family member, or rent from a home improvement store.
1. The staples – Most neighborhoods and offices now allow you to recycle paper, plastics, and aluminum. The lucky ones can even recycle glass containers.
2. Electronics – Donate or recycle old phones, computers, or pretty much any other electronic device. A quick Google search can give you local recycling options, and many of them will actually pay you!
3. Styrofoam – This one is a bit more tricky, but can be done. For those that shop online, you may have an excess of Styrofoam packing or packing peanuts. Many shipping stores such as FedEx or UPS will take those packing peanuts off your hands, but larger chunks have to be recycled at a certain facility. Visit Earth911.com and enter your zip code to find a drop-off location near you!
4. Batteries – Batteries should never be thrown away with your normal trash. If there is a Best Buy near you, they normally accept batteries and recycle or dispose of them properly. You can also visit batteryrecycling.com for other options.