How to Be Green on the Cheap

Family, Natural Living

Going green doesn’t require a lot of money. These earth-friendly ideas won’t cost you a cent. In fact, going green can even save you some green.

Turn out the lights. The party’s over for wasted electricity at your house. Turning off the lights when you leave a room takes less than .0219 seconds. It will also save you money. One exception: leave fluorescent lights on if you know you’ll be back within 15 minutes.

Unplug appliances. Just because you’re not using them doesn’t mean they’re not using electricity. Unplug small appliances when not in use. Computers and related electronics are the biggest culprit. Plug all those things into a power strip, so you can flip one switch when you’re finished.

Recycle. Recycling has never been easier. Most public places have special trash cans for recyclables. And many communities provide crates or recycling bins for home use.

Reuse. Stop throwing away items that can be used again. Donate old clothing to a second-hand store, or sell it at a consignment store. When you need clothing, consider buying it from those stores. Used clothes are considerably less expensive than brand-new clothes and are much more eco-friendly.

Clean up litter. Go one step beyond not littering by picking trash up when you see it. Every time you go to a park or take a walk, pick up a piece of trash. Better yet, grab some work gloves and take the family out for a neighborhood cleanup.

Load up. Washing machines, dishwashers and dryers account for a large percentage of home energy use. Make sure to wash or dry only full loads.

Ditch the bottles. Bottled water is expensive. It also requires the unnecessary use of plastic. Use a home water filter instead.

Drive wisely. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests several ways to make your car more energy efficient, including avoiding high speeds, properly inflating the tires and using air conditioning only when needed. Avid unnecessary trips, and try walking or biking when possible.

Support local farmers. Food grown locally tastes better and doesn’t need to be transported halfway around the world to get to your table. Since you have to buy food anyway, it might as well be local.

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