We’re becoming more environmentally conscious across the country and the entire world. In whatever language they speak, people across the globe are rallying others to “go green.” We are hearkened to reuse, reduce and recycle and to find ways to keep garbage out of our water or littering our environment.
If everyone were environmentally conscious, we wouldn’t have this pollution and waste to contend with. You can petition your elected officials to make and change laws to protect the environment. But other than that it is up to you to do your best to make a difference.
It’s noble to want to protect the environment, but it can also be a financially wise decision. Here are five easy green changes you can make just around your house which will make you more green and keep more green in your pocket.
Limit Car Use
Think about your daily commute or other reasons you drive your car and consider if it would be possible to walk or ride a bike instead. There are certain situations where this is impractical or even dangerous, but see if it works for you.
Gasoline is expensive, and burning it pollutes the environment. If you could ride a bike, walk or take mass transit even just during the warmer months you would be saving quite a bit on gas, maybe even tolls or parking fees.
If driving is imperative, consider carpooling with co-workers. The more cars off the road, the less fuel that is being burned. Another option is working from home one day per week and eliminating one day’s commute.
Decrease or Eliminate Meat Consumption
Farming livestock such as cows and hogs makes up about 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your consumption of beef and pork will reduce the demand for meat. Vegan meals are more healthy for you, and the ingredients generally cost less than meat.
Even having one or two “veggie only” days per week will help. Eating healthier makes you feel better. It’s better for the environment and healthier for your body.
Reduce Water Waste
We are blessed with hot and cold water on demand, so we don’t even think about how much we use. Because of this we tend to waste water unconsciously. We start the shower and let it run supposedly to let it warm up before we get in it.
Who knows how many gallons are going down the drain before we step foot in the shower. Many of us brush our teeth with the faucet running, even though we only need water to rinse the toothbrush twice and our mouths once.
You can reduce your water waste by being more conscientious about your water use. Besides limiting your shower time and shutting off the faucet while brushing your teeth, you can invest in water saving appliances which will decrease your consumption significantly. You’ll have to spend some money, but you will also save money in the long run. When it’s time to replace your appliances, choose those which save water.
If you do one load of laundry per day, an energy efficient washing machine can save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year. You will find similar results investing in water conserving dishwashers and hot water tanks. A water-restricting shower head doesn’t cost much, but it saves a lot of water. You will like the way it sprays, too.
Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your house, you are wasting energy and money. Feel how hot a 100-watt bulb gets when it’s illuminated. All of that energy is wasted on light. Swap those bulbs out with LED’s (light emitting diode) or CFL’s (compact fluorescent light).
You can save an average of $75 per year by switching your five most used light fixtures over to energy saving bulbs. Energy saving lightbulbs last longer too, anywhere from 5 to 25 times longer.
If you don’t want to throw away working light bulbs, just commit to replacing them with LED’s or CFL’s when they burn out. You will save energy and money and you’ll be shopping for lightbulbs less frequently.
Make Your Own Coffee
Coffee shops are quite popular, and people like to treat themselves to a national chain brand of coffee to or from work. But did you ever think about what happens to the cup after you are done drinking your coffee? Starbucks alone is responsible for 4 billion non-recyclable cups going to landfills each year.
You could make your own coffee at home for a fraction of the price you’d pay at a coffee shop. Buy a fancy reusable cup and treat yourself to some flavored creamer if you don’t like your coffee black. In fact, you could take it a step further and brew your coffee with a percolator which uses no filters of wasteful non-biodegradable expensive pods.
Green changes aren’t difficult. It’s just a matter of being conscious of what you consume and what you waste, and making some changes in your habits. If you do your part, you can help decrease your carbon footprint and keep more of your money while you are at it.
Emily is a sustainability and eco-friendly living blogger.