What does green mean to you? Your freshly mowed lawn in summer? The beauty of a tropical rainforest? The frog who taught you the ABCs? Or are you one of the growing number of people for whom “green” has become a lifestyle?
The last few centuries have been pretty rough on our planet, and as we’ve become more aware of the consequences, everyone’s talking about the latest ways to “go green.” Everyone knows that saving energy can save the planet, but it can also save some green a little closer than the Amazon rainforest: your money. A few easy changes to your routine, and you’ve done your part to contribute to a cleaner planet and a fatter wallet.
Get There Cheaper
Gas prices: everyone’s least favorite roller coaster. Not only is the ever rising price of oil a big drain on the average family’s budget, since 2006 cars have accounted for over 30 percent of America’s emissions. There’s an easy way to save gas money and air molecules: try public transportation. Cleaner, cheaper, and often faster, riding the train or the bus also gives you a chance to multitask, or some quiet reading time on your morning commute. Crowd sourcing has brought us some cool new options like Zipcar and Uber, becoming common even in smaller towns. It’s never been easier to get where you’re going on someone else’s tank of fuel.
Streamline Your Utilities
You have some ideas about saving on transport: what about savings when you’re home? Everyone loves the idea of cheaper utility bills, and those are easier to come by than you might think.
- Heating and Gas. Did you know your hot water heater is one of the biggest draws on your gas bill? Most families in the US run their water heater slightly hotter than necessary: try dialing it down a few clicks and see the difference in your bill! A programmable thermostat is also a worthwhile investment. Turning the heat down overnight is a great way to add up savings over time.
- There are lots of options to save water. Ditching expensive and wasteful bottled water for a filter pitcher and a refillable bottle is the easiest. It’s also well worth it to upgrade to water saving models when your old washer/dryer and dishwasher break down.
- You know the obvious one: turn the lights off when you leave the room. And when those bulbs burn out, grab a compact fluorescent: those spiral bulbs that look like modern art. Not only are they more efficient, they have around one hundred times the lifespan of an old bulb.
DIY Cleaning Products
Have you ever wondered what magical ingredient is in a bottle of surface cleaner that makes it worth so much? Here’s the secret: you’re mostly paying for the packaging. It’s easy to mix up your own cleaning products out of ingredients in your cupboard, and you’ll spare the planet wasted packaging and polluted chemicals. As Good Housekeeping reminds us, there aren’t many surfaces that a little vinegar won’t leave shining.
Green is important, and it needs protecting. All it takes is a little effort from everyone and there will be green everywhere you look: green home, green world, green wallet.