On April 22, 1970, Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and rural farmers marched the streets of America in coast-to-coast rallies in a call for environmentally friendly initiatives to counteract growing levels of pollution. But today, we've come to expect festivals and celebrations on Earth Day as much as demonstrations and rallies. This year, extend that celebratory spirit of environmental education beyond Earth Day and into every day.
While "green" options may not always be the cheapest up-front, there are plenty of ways green living can actually save money in the long run. So with Earth Day (and every day) in mind, here are 10 ways to live green-and save green.
While organic grocery stores have a reputation of being eco-friendly, they're generally less budget-friendly. (Whole Foods? More like "whole paycheck.") However, you can actually save money by shopping for foods that are in season and locally grown, whether from a grocery store or a farmer's market. Locally grown goods cut down on transportation and packaging costs-as well as negative environmental impact. And supporting nearby producers stimulates the local economy.
CFLs use about 1/4 the energy of normal lightbulbs, so when your incandescent bulb has done its time, replace it with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). Yes, they will be more pricey at the checkout stand, but the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that CFLs will pay for themselves in 6 months. Worth it.
We don't need to be told twice-we should save fuel when we can. Biking and walking rather than driving saves cash, saves gas and hey, it tones your stems. So if and when you can, stick to walking or biking.
You can save serious money by keeping your house at a mild temperature. In order to save cash and energy, don't blast the AC or crank up the heat at the slightest weather change. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to change temperature automatically based on time of day and season of the year to avoid unnecessary spikes in your utility bill. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, take the extra thirty seconds a day to set the temperature at a wallet/eco-conscious temp, and pay attention to opening the blinds and windows for added light and temperature control (at no extra expense).
As much as 85 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is spent on heating the water. By using cold water, you can save the energy it takes to heat water, as well as that extra hit to your utility bill. Two birds, one stone.
According to the US Department of Energy, your dryer comes in second as the appliance that uses the most energy (your refrigerator takes the cake for this one). By line-drying clothes, you're saving big time on your bills and conserving energy while you're at it.
This one should be a no-brainer, but we admit it-old habits die hard. We use water all of the time, but we can easily save by making small changes. Keep showers short. Fix leaky faucets and broken toilets. Don't leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth, and invest in a faucet aerator to keep water pressure high, while lowering your usage.
Conserve water, but whatever you do, don't stop drinking water. However, that plastic water bottle has got to go. Not only are they so wasteful, but water bottles are a needless expense that can be easily avoided. Purchase a water filter and bring a refillable water bottle with you when you leave the home instead of purchasing plastic. Savings all around.
We suggest buying in bulk and buying online when you can. Buying in bulk can offer a much cheaper per-unit cost, and it cuts down on excessive packaging. Browsing the web (or local thrift stores) for secondhand and lightly-used purchases cuts down on waste overall, and can save you cash that you might otherwise blow by buying brand new items.
All those chemicals in counter, window and dish cleaners? Unnecessary. Honestly, baking soda can just about do it all. Combine baking soda with white vinegar or lemon juice as the base for most cleaners, and check out this list for more specific instructions on how to make everything you need, while cutting down on harsh chemicals.
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