Going green sounds simple, but can sometimes seem overwhelming as we tend to think of installing solar panels, buying hybrid cars, or eating expensive organic foods. But there are a number of other ways you can live environmentally-friendly without blowing your budget or inconveniencing your day-to-day routine. Here are a few ways to to reduce your carbon footprint and save a few extra bucks each month.
Drive less, walk & bike more
Not all of us can buy hybrid vehicles, but we can make an effort to drive less. Whenever possible, try walking to the grocery store, telecommuting, or riding your bike into the office. Not only are you saving time and getting healthier, you’re contributing to cleaner air.
Remember to unplug your electronic devices and appliances when they are not charging or in use. Leaving them plugged in triggers a “phantom load” and can drive up your energy bill substantially.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a thing of the past. Upgrade your CFLs to LED bulbs as they can last up to ten times longer, thus saving you money on replacement costs and reducing your trips to the hardware store.
Say no to plastic bags
When heading out to the grocery store, remember to bring reusable bags. Keep them stashed in your trunk so you’re always prepared and avoid adding plastic bags to the landfill.
Homemade household cleaners
Store-bought cleaners can sometimes contain chemicals that are toxic to your health and damaging to the environment. Instead, opt for an inexpensive, easy-to-make DIY household cleaner using water, baking soda, and vinegar.
Paper towels in moderation
Try to use paper towels sparingly and instead grab a washable cloth for cleaning up spills.
Recycle and compost.
Hopefully, you’re already recycling, if not – it’s never too late to start. Also, save your scraps and leftovers by composting instead of tossing them in the trash. If can’t utilize your compost, give it to someone with a garden or lots of potted plants.
Long showers might help to destress, but they can also waste gallons and gallons of water. Try installing a low-flow showerhead and faucet aerators to save water and money.
No need to dry out your hands
It might be a hard habit to break, but try using your dishwasher instead of hand-washing dishes as it uses less energy, soap and water. Be sure it’s completely full and avoid running a half empty dishwasher.
Cold water > hot water
Heating water for the wash cycle eats up lots of energy. Instead, use cold water as newer machines are powerful enough to fight stains without heat.
Turn it off
Your computer may go to sleep, but it’s still sucking up energy. Turn your computer and monitor off at the end of the day. In addition, take steps to create an eco-friendly workplace.
Even when it goes to sleep, your computer consumes energy. Whether at home or the office, be sure to shut off the monitor.
Not only is local food fresh and better for your diet, it also reduces fuel emissions as it travels less to get to your kitchen. So support local farmers, save energy, and eat veggies and fruits that haven’t lost their nutrients on a week’s long road trip.
How are you living green in the home? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments!