Unless you have something seriously wrong with you, you probably aren’t specifically opposed to helping the planet. While you might not invest much into environmentalism (or anything at all), you will most likely agree that little things should be done to at least minimize waste and production, or to keep from utterly destroying our world.
Even if you aren’t up for going out of your way to make a difference, you will be surprised by what small things you can do to help out. They might seem like nothing, but in the end they will really add up over the years – especially the more people that do it. Just reducing the garbage you throw out by going with something reusable has a huge impact over time.
Want further incentive? You can save more than the planet…you can save cash, too! You will find that living a little more responsibly will have a positive effect on your wallet, which is one consequence I think we can all get behind.
Here are ten easy ways that you can go a little greener while keeping a bit more green in your pocket.
- Buy big. One of the biggest problems with grocery stores is that they sell so many individually packaged items. Even diet experts tell their clients and viewers to do portion control by buying packaged goods. But all that extra paper and plastic is not only more harmful to the planet, it costs a lot more by volume. Instead, buy in bulk and divvy it out yourself into reusable plastic containers.
- Cook big. Buying larger packages at one time can be hard when it comes to cooking for a smaller family or yourself. But if you make more at one time you can pack and freeze the rest. Tupperware is great for this, and it will save both money and time. Just think how much you will cut down on fast food on those night where you don’t feel like cooking. You can pull the meal out of the freezer, reheat and serve.
- Use glass. Whenever I get spaghetti sauce or jam I save the mason jars. Then I use half of them for water containers (it is a great way to get in your eight glasses) and half for storage. Rather than using plastic containers, I save glass ones of all sizes for sauces, jellies and even some cooked vegetables. I have a jar of left over peas in the fridge as I type this.
- Make your own cleaners. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. I use one tablespoon of vinegar in a spray bottle of water with a five drops of tea tree essential oil. It costs cents on the dollar and it cleans better than anything I have ever used. It is also safer for both you and the planet. I reuse bottles and since the ingredients are natural I don’t have to worry about poisonous or toxic mixtures. I also use baking soda, lemon and club soda.
- Buy better, not cheaper. Yeah, it might be tempting to buy that all-in-one entertainment center from that superstore down the street for $1,000 less than other brands. But you can bet that the quality for something cheaper just won’t be up to scratch. Whether clothes, furniture or personal items, saving up for higher quality items will save you a lot in the end when you don’t have to constantly replace them.
- Dress appropriately. If you are cold in the winter, put on a sweater. If you are hot in the summer, open the windows and pop on some shorts. The thermostat should be set at 68 degrees and kept there. This will save you a lot of money and save the planet a lot of resources.
- Go used. I cannot tell you what amazing things I have found at thrift stores and on Craigslist. I bought a new bike, barely used, for $50 just a few weeks ago. Buying used from swap meets, second hand shops, eBay or garage sales is cheap and helps lessen what is thrown away.
- Utilize public transport or green alternatives. Even if you choose only one day a week to ride the bus, ride a bike, walk to school or work, or carpool, you will be saving a ton on gas and emissions that. Not to mention what you will save on your monthly petrol budget.
- Get what you need, not what you want. If there is any item that you know you will never use, or maybe just use once or twice before ditching it, don’t get it. Be honest with what you need, because buying wasteful products clutters the home, the landfills and wastes a ton of cash.
- Get an eReader. This is a big one for me. I am a bookworm and I have bookshelves full of everything from biographies to technical manuals to trashy dollar fiction paperbacks. I love to read. But the toll it takes on forests is intense, and besides, I am running out of room. So I bought myself an ereader and took advantage of the fact that my library offers compatible ebook formats for many titles. Not to mention the many public domain books now available to read from Amazon, vaarious book software programs and other sites. Anything else I can buy without harming a single tree.
Any other tips from your experience? Please let us know!
Annie is a green and DIY blogger. She also collects DIY gadgets and ideas on her personal green blog.