11 Simple Ways to Go Green AND Save Money

Living a more eco-friendly life is really simple, yet it can have a great impact on our planet Earth. There are plenty of small changes to “go green” that will not only reduce the negative impact on the environment, but they will also save you money. It’s a win-win!

The following ideas are all low-tech, affordable, and easy to do. Pick out a few (or all) to incorporate into your home and work life,  and join the go green initiative.

If we each make small changes toward reducing our negative impact, it will make a difference on our environment. May knowing you’re helping our precious environment bring you joy.

 

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11 Eco-Friendly Ideas to Go Green AND Save Money

Consider which of these eco-friendly ideas you are willing to try. Each and every time you do the low-impact option, take joy in knowing you’re helping our environment!

1. Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips

Tip 1: Reducing hot water use is an easy, affordable way to save energy. Try washing your clothing in cold water as much as possible. Today’s detergent formulas get clothes just as clean when washed in cold water. Besides, hot water can make some clothing shrink, wrinkle, and fade.

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Tip 2: While we’re on the topic of laundry, air dry your clothes as often as possible. When you do use a dryer, clean your dryer’s lint trap before every load to help the dryer be as energy-efficient as possible.

Tip 3: Make your own laundry detergent to reduce toxins and save money. With a good nontoxic detergent, your skin and the environment will have reduced exposure to toxins. Here’s the recipe for the 4-ingredient DIY non-toxic laundry detergent that I use.

2. Go Green by Thinking Reusable Rather Than Disposable

Use reusable water bottles instead of buying disposable bottled water. Refilling water bottles is much less expensive than purchasing bottled water, and think about how much less plastic would be in our landfills if everyone did this! Use a water filter if needed.

Popular Stainless Steel Water Bottles
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My favorite types of water bottles are stainless steel, insulated water bottles.  Insulated bottles keep drinks very cold, even in warm temperatures.  I appreciate this the most when we head out for a day of boating – my drink stays ice cold!

Stainless steel bottles are also safe in hot temperatures, so I can keep it in my car as I run errands. (Plastic water bottles may leak toxins into the water when left in the sun.)

3. Condiment Bottles

This one seems like 100% common sense, but maybe someone doesn’t do it.

When salad dressing or ketchup bottles get low, just turn them upside down when returning them to the refrigerator. You’ll get 2 or 3 more servings from the bottle. Frugal yet should be done.

4. Tube Trick

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

My aunt has done this for years. Although I cannot get myself to do this, you may like it.

When a tube of toothpaste is “done”, she cuts off the flat end and squeezes it out from that end. Apparently she gets another whole 1-2 weeks worth.

She uses this trick with anything that comes in a tube (hand lotion, sunscreen, etc). Thanks for the tip, Aunt Donna!

5. Refrigerator Tips

Tip 1: Be energy-efficient and minimize the time you need to have the door open.

  • Get what you need and close the door! Standing there browsing with the door open lets out cold air, and then the  refrigerator needs to work harder to cool down.
  • After grocery shopping, gather all your items that need to be refrigerated before  opening the door – put them away in one fast shot.

Tip 2: Unplug an extra refrigerator or freezer you might have in your basement or garage even though you don’t have much in it. Generally these extra appliances are older and not as energy efficient. Try to better organize your main refrigerator so you can get more in it and stop using a second refrigerator or freezer.

Tip 3: If possible, replace older refrigerators made in the early 2000s or earlier because they can use more energy than today’s energy efficient models. When purchasing a new refrigerator, look for the ENERGY STAR® models.

6. Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Change out light bulbs to compact fluorescent or LED light  bulbs.

This not only saves money, but has the added benefit of avoiding the inconvenience of a burned out bulb. And your mother was incredibly smart when she so wisely told you to “turn off lights!”

Bomcosy has an LED “filament” bulb that has a great, fun look. It is energy saving LED without the unusual look like other LED bulbs. Actually, the yellow filaments look very cool.

The Bomcosy bulb might seem expensive, but let’s put it into perspective. The life span is estimated at 30,000 hours. Even if you leave the light on 24/7, it would still last almost 3 1/2 years!

No more bulbs inevitably burning out at an inconvenient time.

Oh, and turn off the lights when they’re not necessary!

7. Baggies and Containers

I used to roll my eyes when my mom did this, but you can reuse plastic baggies. It really is eco-friendly and cost-wise. I don’t washout sandwich-size, but I do wash and reuse quart-size and larger that aren’t too messy.

To reduce usage of plastic baggies, I got reusable storage containers for sandwiches, chips and other lunch items that I otherwise would have put in a small baggie.

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A co-worker reuses jars and other food containers to bring lunch items to work. Great way to reuse perfectly good containers and reduce waste.

8. Reduce Food Waste

In the United States alone, Americans waste $160 billion of food, which is nearly 30 to 40 percent of the entire U.S. food supply.

Ways YOU can reduce food waste:

Tip 1: Proper refrigeration.

Help eliminate food waste by maximizing shelf life by storing food at proper refrigeration temperatures.

Watch this one-minute video to get advice on optimal refrigerator and freezer temperatures:

Tip 2: Meal plan and use leftovers.

Instead of throwing out leftovers, designate 1 or 2 nights a week to be leftover night.  Plan ahead so you can turn Sunday night’s roasted chicken into Tuesday night’s quesadillas.

A little bit of planning will save time, money, and garbage. Compost scraps, if possible.

Tip 3: Use your freezer wisely.

If you’re unlikely to use food before it goes bad, get it in the freezer. Did you know you can freeze bananas? Just toss them in the freezer and you can then use them in smoothies or banana bread.

Unlikely you’ll use the whole bag of bread or bagels? Freeze them in more reasonable portions (whatever that is for your family) as soon as you purchase it or soon after.

Tip 4: Sell by date.

First, sell by date is when the store should have it gone, not you. Most food is fine after the sell by date. Even the use by date is negotiable. Give it the smell and taste test before you toss it without giving it a second thought.

Tip 5: Minimize food spoiling.

One rotten apple, orange, potato, strawberry, etc. will make the remainder of the bag spoil more quickly. Keep a watch out and throw the rotten piece of fruit out before it spreads.

Buy only what you need of items that spoil quickly. Leafy greens are a great example of something that spoils quickly.

9. Paper or Plastic? Or Neither?

Help reduce your impact on the environment by using eco-friendly, reusable cloth shopping totes. Inexpensive cloth bags are available at most grocery stores. Or, bring paper/plastic bags back and have the bagger reuse them on your next shopping trip.

After making up your mind to use cloth totes, it’ll be no big deal to remember to put the totes back into your car after putting away groceries.

I’ve found that I much prefer the cloth totes because they’re sturdy and hold more groceries, and of course I like that I’m reducing the impact on the environment.

Here are some fun, reusable cloth bags
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10. Carpool or take public transportation.

A study by ICF International found that in 2004, taking transit saved 947 million gallons of fuel that would have been used if transit passengers had driven cars instead. Just think about how much that would save now, 15 years later!

As often as possible, utilize the option of sharing a ride.

I carpool with 3 other people and we estimate we save about $25 per week just in fuel costs. Plus, it is so much more relaxing to just ride instead of drive every day – it’s a real stress buster. We also save wear and tear on our vehicles, require less oil changes, and of course put less pollution into the air.

Might I even suggest walking or biking if you live close enough to work or school?

Important ways that using public transportation or carpooling helps protect our environment.

  • Improves air quality – reduces overall vehicle emissions and the pollutants that create smog.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions – National averages show that public transportation produces significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than private vehicles.
  • Save energy – By saving fuel, there is less need to extract more fossil fuels that would be used in capital investments to support the infrastructure for transport of fuel and manufacturing vehicles.

11. Save Water

According to South Staff Water, “By using less water, we don’t need to treat and pump so much water, so less money needs to be spent on energy, chemicals and on additional reservoirs or boreholes. Reducing the amount of energy used in the pumping of water reduces our carbon emissions, which contributes to greenhouse gases, and leads to climate change.”

Tips to Conserve Water

1 – The obvious tips here is to turn the water off while your soaping your hands, brushing your teeth, and while washing/rinsing dishes.

2 – Catch rain water to water plants. Put a large plastic garbage can (or any container) under your drain spout to catch water from the roof during rain. Using plastic gallon milk jugs to transport, use that water for your garden, plants and bushes. Get the whole family involved and make it fun.

3 – Fix faucet leaks that cost you money in higher water bills and let unused water get wasted down the drain.

4 – Reuse cooking water. Instead of throwing water down the drain after cooking pasta, try draining the water into a pot where it can cool and then be used to water your plants. I’m sure you can come up with other ways to salvage water that your plants or lawn would enjoy!

5 – Only run your dishwasher when it is completely full.

6 – Shorten your showers or even skip one or two days per week. A quick sponge bath uses much less water.

7 – Install a low flow shower head. It reduces the amount of water used without reducing water pressure. They are very low cost and will really help conserve water.

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We Are All Responsible for the Environment We Live In

Again, you only need to apply a few of these eco-friendly ideas to your life and you WILL make a positive difference for the environment. However, these ideas are all simple enough to implement most if not all into your life.

It’s time  we all start to make serious changes to reduce our negative impact on the environment.

For more ideas, read 10 Simple Ways To Reduce Waste at Home. Drop me a comment and let me know which ideas do you use already, and if there just one more idea you will commit to incorporating into your life.

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3 Replies to “11 Simple Ways to Go Green AND Save Money”

    1. Using reusable storage containers is a great way to contribute toward helping our environment. I try to not use baggies, but sometimes the convenience wins out – but I’m getting much better at using alternatives. Every little thing each of us can do helps!

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