“Going Green” is more than a term for saving our planet; it’s a lifestyle. Changing the way you perform everyday household activities can help you save money, energy and time.
You don’t have to leave home or spend money to turn your house green. The following simple activities take little to no effort to increase your home’s green power. You’ll feel better about yourself knowing you’re doing something to help the environment without spending any green.
1. Open Curtains
Leave your curtains open for as long as possible. Allow the daylight to brighten your home. According to Salt River Project’s Website (SRP), on average, lighting accounts for about eight to 10 percent of the energy bill. Turn off lights when you are not using them. The myth turning your lights on and off costs more is wrong. You save more energy turning them off than leaving them on.
2. Drink Tap Water
It’s no secret that water bottles load our landfills and take an average of 700 years before they decompose. Drinking tap water will not only cut down the price to dispose of plastic bottles, it will cut down the price to make them. According Refillnotlandfill.org, if everyone in New York were to use a reusable water bottle for one week, 24 million bottles would be saved. Switching to tap water will reduce waste and conserve resources.
3. Clean The Lint Screen In The Dryer
Taking the lint filter out of the dryer and cleaning the fuzzy fur only takes a few seconds, but can save you a pretty penny. The dryer filter collects fluff while drying clothes and most people forget to clean it. When the filter is dirty it takes longer to dry clothes causing the dryer to work harder and longer using more energy in the process. By cleaning the lint filter after you dry each load you reduce the risk of a higher electric bill, waste of resources and damaging your dryer.
4. Turn Your Computer Off At The End Of The Day
Although there is an energy saver (sleep or standby) option on your computer that allows the screen to go black and conserve energy, the computer is still receiving electricity and, therefore, costing you money. A typical desktop computer can use between 65 to 250 watts, a laptop can use 15 to 60 watts and a monitor can use 15 to 70 watts. For example, leaving your 100-watt light bulb on all day for a month costs about $5, and that’s just one bulb. On average, $15.60 is the cost for leaving your computer on all month. Turn your computer off at the end of the day so it can rest, and you can save money.
5. Recycle Plastic Bags
After you come from the grocery store, don’t throw away those plastic bags, keep them in a drawer. When you need a small bag to go in your office, bathroom or bedroom trash bins, utilize those. Reusing plastic bags reduces the waste of plastic going in the recycling bins and later to the landfill. If you have no need for trash bags, get a plastic bag recycling bin and dispose of them properly. According to Plasticbagrecycling.org, in 2006 more than 812 million pounds of plastic film and bags were recycled, which is enough to manufacture nearly 1,500,000 composite lumber decks.
6. Take Shorter Showers
Taking shorter showers save on wasted water and money. The typical shower time should be five minutes or less. Water is used at about 2.5 gallons per minute costing $2 per 1000 gallons, equaling .005 cents per minute. That number may seem small but what’s important and worth knowing is how much water you will save. In one year, doing this simple task could save 4,500 gallons of water.
7. Line Dry Laundry
No, it isn’t the 70’s and almost everyone has an electric clothes dryer, but many people put clothes in the dryer that could be hung on a line. Jeans are a perfect example of something to line dry. They are weighty and take more energy to dry. Hanging heavy-duty clothes out to dry saves money, keeps clothes looking newer longer and cuts down drying time. Arizona is a dry state — take advantage of the heat.
8. Get Bills Online
The Internet has taken over in communication. Take advantage of that by receiving your bills online. You’ll save the company printing the bills money, and they will stop charging you a delivery fee — saving you money in return. When logging on to your accounts to pay your bills, choose the option that says “go paperless,” and they will start sending your bills to your email address. You will no longer receive a paper bill, and by doing this you will reduce paper waste.
9. Stop Junk Mail
I can’t think of one person who doesn’t get annoyed by the junk mail filling their mailbox. Not only is it irritating, it packs our garbage bins faster than you may think. Credit card offers, catalogs, newsletters and fliers from places at which you don’t shop go from the mailbox to the trash bin. Stop receiving junk mail by visiting DMAConsumers.org (The Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service). It may take a few minutes, but you will stop getting wasteful mail.
10. Tell Friends About Going Green
There is no chore in talking to our friends. Next time you’re on the phone with a friend tell them of money saving green tips to use for themselves. Word of mouth is the biggest advertising agent. Getting another person to improve their living habits to support the environment will benefit everyone around them, including you. Don’t forget to remind them to pass the news along.