Earth Day and Arbor Day are upon us and it’s time we show how much we care about our dear planet. Here are a few simple tips you can put into play to become a little more eco-friendly, without breaking the bank.
BRIGHT IDEAS. Switch to Energy Star-rated CFL bulbs, like GHRI fave Satco’s Mini Spiral S6202; they use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than standard bulbs. You’ll knock $30 off your electric bill for each bulb over its lifetime. And be sure to turn the lights off in any unoccupied room.
CUP OF JOE ON THE GO. Not brewing at home? Take a travel cup to your favorite java joint; they may fill it at a discount.
DISH IT. Run a full dishwasher whenever possible — it uses half or less of the water and energy of washing the same dishes by hand. And don’t waste water by rinsing before loading (today’s machines are designed to power off the mess).
CONTROL YOUR TEMPER(-ATURE). Install a programmable thermostat, which can save an estimated $150 yearly if preset to cool your home’s air or pump up the heat, before you get home from work. If that’s too much of a commitment, lower your thermostat by 2 degrees to potentially lower your bill about $40 a year.
BYOB. Bags, that is. It’s good for your wallet, too: Some retailers, such as CVS, now pay you for every disposable bag you don’t take ($1 on a special CVS card for every four trips on which you bring your own).
WATER DOWN. Taking shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
PULLING THE PLUG. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use.
SMART HYDRATION. Invest in a faucet-mounted water filter for a low $30. While you’re at it, ditch the plastic bottles and switch to refillable aluminum bottles.
GREEN THUMBS. You may not have the greenest thumb in the world, but designing a garden and caring for it can plant a deep sense of appreciation for the earth. Plant a few vegetables over the summer or a plethora of wildflowers and revel in the beauty of your personal green space. Literally going green in your home is great for the environment, as plants express your desire to be environmentally sound and help process and clean the air inside your home.
RECYCLE. This is the most common way to be more eco-friendly. But recycling goes beyond placing plastic bottles and aluminum cans in their respected bins. The essence of recycling is the cyclical movement of materials through the system, eliminating waste and the need to extract more virgin materials. Supporting recycling means feeding this loop by not only recycling, but also supporting recycled products. Make a more conscious effort to buy recycled.