Was your New Year’s Resolution to go green? To make better choices about how you treat the environment? Maybe you are still looking for a great resolution. If so, this is it! Now is a great time to reduce your carbon footprint, and save some money along the way.
- Stop Wasting Water Bottles
Bottled water is extremely wasteful in more way than one. First of all, they’re unreasonably expensive to purchase, especially if you buy them individually. $1.69 seems pretty crazy when it’s the same liquid that comes out of the tap. Secondly, about 80% of them won’t get recycled, which means there will be a lot of plastic debris ending up at the landfill or on the side of the road. It takes more water to produce the plastic bottle than the amount of water that will fit in the bottle (about three times as much!) That leaves us with wasted money, wasted materials, and wasted water. Stop buying disposable water bottles, and invest in a reusable/travel bottle. It will save a lot in the long run and help you to go green.
- Mobile To-Do List
If you’re a type-A, you probably love list making. Unfortunately, traditional lists require you to use pens and paper each week. While just one list may not seem like a big deal, they really add up over time! Instead, try making lists on your phone (there are apps for that!) Then, you’ll always have your list with you and won’t have to worry about losing it or leaving it at home. Your life will also be a little less cluttered without all those post-it notes stuck everywhere. Remember, little things can make a big difference!
Find somebody with a similar route as you and share the ride! You can alternate back and forth so the same person isn’t always stuck with the driving. Carpooling saves you money because you won’t need to spend as much on gas. It reduces the number of cars on the road (imagine the decrease in traffic if everyone carpooled!), and helps the environment by creating fewer gas emissions. Your drive will become a little less boring with someone to chat with along the way.
- Reusable Grocery Bags
It’s a good idea to keep them in your car so you don’t forget to bring them to the store with you (because what good are cloth bags if you leave them in the closet at home?) You can find them at most grocery stores now for just a dollar or two, and they last a long time! It will make unloading the groceries faster and easier. Plus, you’ll be keeping those pesky plastic bags out of the waterways and landfills.
- Compost Bin
If you aren’t already composting your organic materials, now is a great time to start! Thanks to Pinterest, making your own DIY compost bin is incredibly easy. Put in your biodegradable products, such as produce scraps. There’s a large number of miscellaneous items that can be composted as well, such as hair and cardboard. This will cut down on the amount of trash you have, as well as produce compost that is great for helping gardens thrive. Don’t have a green thumb? You can donate it to a farm, neighbor, or restaurant to get good use!
- Cloth Napkins.
Using cloth napkins is a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of trash you have at meals. It will save you money, because you won’t need to keep buying more paper napkins. They’re easy to clean and don’t require any extra work. Just throw them in the washer with your clothes when you do laundry. You can make your meals seem a little bit fancier, all while saving money and the environment.
- Short Showers
Sure long, hot showers are great, but they aren’t necessary! And they’re very wasteful of precious water. You really only need 5 minutes or so to get squeaky clean. You can turn off the shower while you lather up your body and hair, and use the water only to rinse off. Make it a race against the clock. Put on your favorite song and try to finish showering before it ends. Even shaving off one minute from shower time can save thousands of gallons of water annually. That should take a bit off of the water bill as well!
- Turn Off Lights
A simple one we are taught as children, but it also one that is easy to forget. If the light isn’t being used, turn it off! Make it a habit, and you’ll start to see a reduction in the cost of your electric bill. A little bit of effort goes a long way. Go the extra mile and replace any incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones. You’ll see a difference over time and save the environment!
- Wash Clothes in Warm (or Cold)
Don’t wash in hot water unless it’s absolutely necessary (and usually it’s not…) Choose to wash in warm water instead, or even better, wash your clothes in cold. They’ll still get clean like always, and you won’t notice a difference. The majority of energy used to run a washing machine is used to heat the water, rather than actually cleaning your clothes. Choose an Energy Star washing machine with a low “water factor” to be sure you’re conserving water.
If you aren’t already recycling, this should be your first resolution for the New Year. Many grocery stores offer bottle return centers or recycling of certain items, such as batteries and plastic bags. You can often recycle bulkier items at relevant stores: tires to an auto shop, mattresses to a furniture store, or computers to an electronics store. Some recycling pays money! So you might find yourself with a little extra pocket change to save up for a rainy day! If you make this a habit, it’s another one that adds up quickly!