We’d all like to go green – trade in that gas-guzzling SUV for an electric car, transform the backyard into an organic vegetable garden, and remodel the house using sustainable, environmentally friendly materials. But these changes represent a substantial investment of time, effort – and money.
Did you know that you can go green without emptying your wallet? A few small, simple changes can help your family be eco-friendly and economical at the same time. Try these inexpensive – or even free – going green tips.
When you stop by your local neighborhood coffee shop for your morning java, bring your own mug. This is probably the easiest of all the going green tips that can have a big impact. According to Daytona State University, the 16 billion paper cups Americans use each year require 6.5 million trees and 4 billion gallons of water to produce – 6,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth – and create 253 million pounds of waste! That’s not even counting the 25 billion Styrofoam cups that end up in landfills each year and then sit for up to 1,000 years without degrading!
You probably already turn off your lights when you leave the room, but did you know that electronics and appliances keep using energy even when they’re off? Known as standby energy drain or “vampire energy loss,” unused, plugged-in devices account for 5 to 10% of an average home’s annual energy use; that translates into about $130 per year! Unplug it if you’re not using it and save some cash.
Instead of newspapers, magazines, CDs and DVDs, purchase your media in digital formats. Downloading files, movies and music saves money – you only have to buy the content you want – and cuts down on clutter. If you can’t bear to lose the feel holding an actual newspaper in the morning, recycle or donate used papers to pet shelters.
Avoid disposable plastic shopping bags; they’re made from non-sustainable petroleum and more than 1 billion bags are dumped in landfills each year. Even worse, millions of sea birds, mammals and turtles die from consuming or getting tangled in plastic. Instead, bring your own reusable cloth bags to the market.
So ignore the frog: Following these simple, cheap going green tips proves that it is easy being green!