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I first heard talk of the three Rs–Reuse, Reduce, Recycle–as a little girl in Colombia watching the Discovery Kids channel (did anyone else love that network?). It was an ad and I didn’t think much of it because I wasn’t necessarily in charge of doing any cooking or cleaning at our house, so the responsibilities advertised by the Three Rs didn’t fall on me, but on our maid.
(And let’s face it: Maids in Colombia don’t really care about recycling because Colombia–at least back then–didn’t care about recycling.)
Then we moved to the States and we started hearing about recycling and what-not. As a kid–ahem, pre-teen–who didn’t care about politics, I wasn’t marred by any “environmentalism is all for and by liberals” business my parents believed more of. To me, it’s just common sense to not throw as much waste into landfills, you know? Plastic bags can stay there for thousands of years and I’d rather not contribute to global warming if I can avoid it.
My parents are starting to get into the environmentalist’s bandwagon, but for them it’s more about the economics. And because we all care now, we focus a lot on the type of environment we’ll leave for future generations and about leading by example. So regardless of what camp you’re on, one thing is for sure:
(Also: Don’t forget about the GuiltFreeEnergy Giveaway [for $1,000 in Gift Cards!] towards the bottom!)
And here are seven easy ways to live a greener live and save money doing so:
Reusing, Reducing, Recycling (duh)
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to both reuse and reduce at the same time is by reusing cloth towels or microfiber towels when cleaning up spills–something my boyfriend (who’ll happily grab five paper towels for a tiny spill) has yet to learn. Don’t be like him: If you don’t have a cloth alternative, then grab a smaller piece of a paper towel and fold it once or twice depending on how much you need. You don’t need a LOT!
Then the simplest way to get your own recycling done is by having two+ bins at home next to your trash can. If having more than two is impossible inside, then put recyclables in one bin and trash in another, and have two larger bins outside so that you can separate your recyclables as you take out both bins.
Some cities require residents to separate paper/cardboard from plastic and glass, so make sure to check which bins you’ll need. If no separation is required, you’re basically good with just one trash bin and a separate recycling bin. (Note: Neither fabric nor dirty paper towels are recyclable!)
Rinsing before recycling
On that note, you should wash the recyclables you can before throwing them in your bin. How does this save money? Well, my mom kept talking about about how she had heard on a local Conservative talk show that it’s not necessary to rinse our recyclables because a recycling center will do so. (Don’t get me wrong; I’m a Conservative, but I’m not crazy..) So I was like, “Oh mom…” Look: If we do the washing, then they won’t have to waste any time–or money–doing so. Because when the government wastes time and money, guess who’s stuck with the bill!
Suffice it to say, now we rinse what we can :).
Using recycled batteries
Speaking of recycling…
Yes, you saw right: Recycled! The brand new Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries are the first on the market to use recycled batteries as its materials. In fact, these are “Energizer’s longest lasting alkaline ever” and transmit more responsible energy than its other alkaline batteries (which contain no recycled batteries).
If the fact that they’re made with recycled batteries doesn’t convince you that they do in fact help you recycle and save money, consider this: Not only were these made from those same batteries you and I throw out every day, but they also hold up to 12 years in storage.
I’m so smitten that both my wireless mouse and keyboard at work are now powered by Energizer EcoAdvanced!
Cooking and eating healthy
Why eat crappy food when making good, healthy food is actually cheaper and doesn’t take that long? Why contribute to the waste of dirty wrappers and cups when you can just wash your dishes?
Here’s the thing: Eating healthy(healthily?) forms part of what’s known as preventive medicine (exercise and sleeping well are also included). Preventive medicine allows you to be safe rather than sorry as it puts your body in better shape from the get-go rather than having you incur expensive bills and become a load on our already overburdened (and kinda inefficient?) healthcare system.
It turns out making healthy things isn’t the inly way to save money: My family recently discovered that making the coming week’s dinners ahead of time (like that weekend) has begun to save us about HALF in grocery costs.
Seriously! The easy way to think about it is that there’s less to no waste because everything that’s purchased is used right then. This way the only that’s left that hasn’t been prepped in advance are our fruits for the week. Another reason why this saves us so much money now is because instead of resorting to cooking–and having to suddenly buy–more of the same thing because there wasn’t any planning ahead, there are many options and everything was purchased with a reason. Last but not least, it’s also an affordable way to live green is because it save SO.MUCH.TIME that you could use during the week for other important things.
(If you’re not into slaving away in the kitchen all weekend, don’t worry because you won’t have to! It takes our family of three adults just a couple hours to prep our dinners + another hours for the lunches–we just make soup we can take to work. Lastly, you can make it a fun activity with the kids! They’ll love knowing they helped you cook.)
My family owns the top alterations shop in two counties here in Utah, so we, like all our clients, are able to save significantly instead of having to purchase new clothes each time our sizes change or are looking to update our styles. For instance, my mom keeps taking her tops and bottoms in as she loses weight and her clients love to have her add sleeves to sleeveless tops, or hem their pants, or make brand new things. All of this undoubtedly saves money and reduces their footprint as they only have to drive to the shop rather than travel to another country or across a sea to get a new item of clothing!
Did you know that even when they’re turned off, things that are plugged in can still suck in power? In fact, the average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode) (NJ Clean Energy). That’s where, when you don’t want to unplug each thing individually when not in use, power strips come in handy. Save money, live a greener live, and unplug.
NOW WHO’S READY FOR A GIVEAWAY?
Enter the GuiltFree Energy Giveaway for $1000(!) in gift cards!
So there you have my top seven ways to live a greener live and save money doing so. How do YOU like to live green?