Earth Day is a holiday that honors this beautiful planet we call home, but sadly, it doesn’t get quite the attention it deserves. Being eco-friendly and mindful of your carbon footprint doesn’t sound quite as fun or carefree as a St. Patrick’s Day parade or a Labor Day barbeque, but preserving our environment for future generation starts with us, and best of all, going green can be financially beneficial. Here are some simple ways to save money and the Earth at the same time.
Whether you’re planting your own herbs, fruits or vegetables, growing your own food is therapeutic, healthier, more affordable and greener. You can look for title loans in your area if you need a little extra cash to jumpstart the process, but you can start growing at home using the seeds from strawberries and pineapple with some space and a few minor preparations. Check out Pinterest for tips on how to turn the seeds from the food you’ve already bought into your own little garden by growing things you like that are pricey at the grocery store. Most importantly, your food doesn’t have to be transported from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, saving huge amounts fuel and reducing your carbon impact.
When you finish a jar of salsa or a tub of yogurt, does it go straight into the recycling? Try re-using these durable containers to store leftovers. If you have paper that’s only been used on one side, give it a new lease on life by sticking it back into your paper tray blank side up, or keep a “scrap” pile so little ones always have something to draw their next masterpiece on. And when it comes to groceries, more and more stores are charging for paper bags and doing away with plastic ones altogether – investing in reusable grocery bags saves you on future shopping trips and is an eco-friendly solution.
Most all-purpose cleaners and room freshening products can be toxic, and those costs add up, too! Avoid those harsh chemicals and use lemons, vinegar and baking soda to make your own cleaning supplies instead. Paper products like napkins, paper towels, paper plates and plastic silverware might sound like cheap and convenient options at the time, but these can all be replaced with reusable alternatives. Check out swap meets and yard sales for inexpensive flatware, utensils, and tea towels or cloth napkins that you can use instead of opting for their disposable counterparts.
Saving the planet (and a little cash) is something you can do with the kids, too! If you are lucky enough to live near the school your children attend, why not take advantage of that and walk or ride your bike to school with them? That’s a little more time you get to spend with your little ones, and a little more you save on gas and the pollution of driving your car. Making a group-activity of walking or bike-riding sets a great example for young kids and gets them excited about exercise from an early age.
Recycling is something that we can all do to help our environment. Why throw away valuable natural resources that can easily be reused? Check out Call2Recycle.org to find locations that will accept rechargeable batteries and cell phones rather than throwing them away. You can also check with your local recycling center to see if these are redeemable for cash in your area, so you can go green and make some extra cash in the process. And if your workplace isn’t recycling already, you can take the lead and help your company realize the financial benefit of recycling tax incentives.
We all know that saving water and energy can save us money, but being mindful of turning off the light when you leave a room or the faucet when it’s not in use is an easy way to conserve valuable natural resources. Using credit cards or title loans to cover an unexpectedly high utility bill can leave you paying well after you pay your bill. Turn the water off while you’re brushing your teeth, or irrigate all those herbs and vegetables you grow with your rinse water. When you involve your kids and make family fun the foundation of good habits you raise your kids to be more conscientious adults.
This one’s probably the most important item on the list. We can all do our part to conserve and recycle, and there is no doubt that it helps the environment. But if you see ways to make your community more eco-friendly, communicate with your state or city representative to make it happen. Outline your points and call them directly instead of writing them a letter or jumping on Facebook or Twitter. If you are part of an advocacy group, attend town hall meetings and invite local government officials to your events to show them how you are improving your community. It doesn’t have to be Earth Day for you to be a Planeteer – the power is yours!