It’s April and along with Easter, another celebration will take center stage. Earth Day is more than just another annual event. Together with celebrating the Mother Nature’s goodness, the spotlight is about finding more effective ways to save our planet throughout the year. Join the quest by going green and to help you get started, we’ve compiled 22 smart ways through which you can show your love for the environment and save money as well. Here goes…
1. Recycle waste
From paper and plastic bottles to aluminum cans and your old phone, everything can be recycled. Before you throw away anything in the trash, think if it can be recycled. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives information on a number of recycling programs at work, school or in your community.
2. Buy green
Buying products made out of recyclable or recycled materials helps close the recycling loop and is lighter on your pocket as well.
3. Reuse kitchen items
Items like empty egg cartons and plastic bags can be reused rather than throw away after being used just once. Empty egg shells can also be used to create decorative items and more for your home. The blog Buy Nothing Project will tell you how.
4. Turn off the lights
Don’t leave switches on unnecessarily around the house. Save energy by turning off light switches or electronic appliances after use.
5. Drive Less
Walk or cycle to work. Leaving your car home a couple of times a week can reduce toxic emissions by 1600 pounds a year, informs the EPA while giving tips for Earth Day. While saving fuel, it’s good for the planet and your health too.
6. Drive electric
If you have to commute a long distance everyday, think about driving an electric vehicle (EV). It’s expensive to buy one initially, but it runs on clean energy and you save on fuel and insurance costs in the long run. The Hartford AARP offers a 5 percent discount on premiums for owners of electric vehicles.
7. Use public transportation
This is a good option for students, retirees and long-distance commuters. Taking advantage of your city’s public transport facilities puts fewer private vehicles on the road and reduces pollution.
8. Save H2O
Use water sparingly not just while taking a shower, but brushing teeth or doing household chores. Even pre-rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher waste water, says the EPA.
9. Grow your own food
Let vegetables, fruits and herbs grow in your garden rather than the lawn. Organic food is healthier, it will save you money on your weekly food bill and it’s great for the Earth. Start composting today to grow beautiful plants!
10. Go paperless
From bills to magazine subscriptions, opt to have it delivered online and save paper.
11. Offer a carpooling service
If there’s no frequent public transportation in your area and you have to drive, offer to carpool to share costs and reduce traffic congestion.
12. Carry your own shopping bag
Stitch a cloth bag or buy one to carry along with you when you shop. It will avoid millions of plastic bags from going to the waste stream.
13. Be a smart shopper
Buy in bulk and stock up before the holidays. Impulsive shopping is great, but ask yourself if you really need it. You can even choose to shop online on sites like Craigslist or eBay for cheaper deals.
14. Attend or organize an Earth Day event
Check out your local listings for Earth Day events in your area or start one yourself. It can be anything from an exhibition highlighting an environmental issue to a cleanup drive in your neighborhood.
15. Donate old items
Give away items you no longer use, especially clothes, shoes or electronics to people who can’t afford them. Many charitable organizations accept second-hand items and sell them to raise funds.
16. Start a green blog
Be it deforestation or an oil spill, use the web to get more people to support your cause. Subscribe to EPA’s It’s Our Environment blog to read about several causes already taken up.
17. Download green apps
Your smartphone can be your buddy as you go green. Here our a couple lists of recommended apps from Mashable as well as from our own staff that can guide you in your journey of living a greener lifestyle.
18. Join an online environmental petition
Change.org has several environmental causes you can join or you can even start your own petition.
19. Cut back on heating and cooling in your home
Making slight adjustments to the temperature controls on your thermostat can help save energy and money on your utility bills. A programmable thermostat can give you savings of 5 – 15 % on your heating bills, says the Department of Energy.
20. Purchase Energy Star products
Make your home more energy efficient by purchasing products with the Energy Star label. Just replacing one regular light bulb with an energy efficient one can help light up 3 million houses in America for a year, informs the EPA.
21. Plug into a power strip
Plugging appliances into a power strip helps reduce wastage of energy is an IT energy saving tip from Energy Star. These smart strips automatically unplug electronic items for you.
22. Beware of the shampoos, creams and lotions
You may love your favorite brand, but many of these products contain damaging chemicals and dyes that pollute the soil and water. Switch to more biodegradable brands.
As we celebrate Earth Day, we look forward to more beautiful and greener Earth- reduction in carbon footprints, use of renewable energy, waste recycling and more. Commit to going green beyond Earth Day to show that you care. It will definitely make a difference.
Happy Earth Day!
Elvis Donnelly, a father of two who works from home. I am a voracious reader and like to keep abreast of current affairs on personal finance, technology and innovation. In my spare time, I love taking on home improvement projects and consider myself a closet chef.