Economical Ways to Help Save the Planet
There are a lot of easy, environmentally friendly things you can do everyday that will end up having a positive effect on the planet. When people think of environmentalism and sustainability, they often look at the big picture.
This can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If each of us does small things on a daily basis that are good for the environment, we will all have a part in a big positive change. There are a lot of things that you can do, but here are a few easy tips to get you started.
Drive Less – People often blame big factories and corporations for polluting the environment. They do contribute a lot of pollution, but we are also polluting by frequent driving. With gas stations charging around $3.75 for a gallon of gas (Seattle Area) you will save a lot of money by driving less. For some people, driving is the only way they can commute to work, which is understandable. However, you can drive a smaller vehicle. Leave the big rigs at home and drive a commuter car, not only will it help the environment, but it will save you money on gas.
Paper/Plastic - When you go to the grocery store they always ask if you would like paper or plastic bags. Instead of either of those options, buy some of the reusable bags. Many grocery stores offer incentives for people who bring their own bags. Usually, the incentive is something like $0.15 off your purchase. Some stores offer bigger incentives to its customers. At Trader Joe’s, you can enter a weekly drawing for $100 worth of groceries if you bring your own bags. The cost of a good, reusable bag is couple of bucks; however, it will pay off in the long run. You might find the hub Paper or Plastic? interesting.
Recycle – This may sound weird, but some people actually don’t recycle. Recycling not only saves a lot of resources, but it can also bring you some money back. In some states, you pay a deposit on cans or bottles. You can sell those back, and get some extra cash for your next purchase. If you live in an area without a recycling program, start sending letters to the local government to do something about it. You can learn about how to write a letter to your representative by reading Writing Letters to Elected Politicians.
Compost – Composting is great if you have a house and a yard. It can help reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. First, if you have a garden, you can distribute the compost in your garden instead of buying fertilizer at the store. Secondly, more compost = less waste that you have to pay to be hauled away. This way, you can reduce the size of your trash can and pay less for hauling away the garbage. Some cities and organizations will even buy compost from you (I had an Environmental Science teacher once offer to buy our chicken poop to use as fertilizer). Other cities, like Seattle, have city-wide composting programs.
Energy Saver Light Bulbs – Believe or not but light bulbs use a lot of energy. This increases your energy bill, while also increasing your carbon footprint. You can switch your light bulbs to the fluorescent, energy saving kinds. They provide the same quality of light while using less energy. Energy saving light bulbs may be a bit more expensive than regular ones. However, they last much longer and use much less energy, which means savings for you.
Sometimes people expect big changes in their daily routines in order to start reducing pollution. That’s why it seems impossible. But small steps not only help with reducing your carbon footprint, but they can save you money as well.