Easy ways to save money, go green, help the planet

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

There is a myth that “going green” costs more, when in fact it can be just the opposite.Hand holding a fan of dollars

Here are my “Great Eight”, 8 simple and easy ways you can save money, save resources and help the planet be healthier:

1.  Save 25% of your copier ink or toner simply by downloading the free “Eco-Font”. When you make the font super large, you can see why, there are holes in each letter but at a small scale you can’t tell. Genius!  Download it today at www.ecofont.com.

Ecofont

2.  Aerators. Those little tiny screens on your water faucets. You can replace them with (cheap) low flow aerators; you won’t be able to tell the difference, but you’ll save hundreds of gallons each year. Saves you money and saves the water supply too. Just take yours off and visit a home improvement store to replace them. Small step, but big savings!

Aerators for faucets

3.  Use less (or no!) paper towels and napkins: buy reusable paper(less) towels, they work like a sponge and take the place of your paper towels for many jobs. Throw them in dishwasher to clean and disinfect. Each towel lasts longer than 15 rolls of paper towels.  That adds up to a lot of savings!  Also, instead of paper napkins, use linen napkins.  They feel nice, your family will feel pampered…and they can often be used for 2-3 meals before washing. Inhabitat reports that we could save enough trees to cover Alaska if 1 in 4 Americans quit using paper towels, read more here.

Skoy Paperless Towels

4.  The average elementary student throws away their weight in plastic bags and food packaging each year if they take their lunch. Save the cost of sandwich and snack baggies by using better choices…stainless steel containers or reusable sandwich bags.  If you insist on using plastic, at least verify that it is BPA-free plastic and never microwave it.  But please remember plastic comes from oil, and when we one day hopefully reduce our dependency on oil, now there’s some real savings!!

5.  The term “Phanom Energy” reminds me a Scooby Doo episode. But it brings up an easy way to save money, just unplug small appliances when you are done using them, like hair dryers, coffee pots, toasters, razors. Not only will you save electricity (even when they are off, a plugged-in appliance uses ‘phantom’ power), it will make the appliance last longer. Double savings, just pull the plug every day!  According to Treehugger.com, phantom energy could be “haunting” your house: http://www.treehugger.com

6.  Take a large rock or brick, or use a 1-liter empty plastic bottle full of water, and put it in the toilet tank after you flush it and before the water fills back up the tank.  The brick or bottle simply consumes space in the tank, so it saves the equivalent volume of water with every flush.  No more cash down the toilet…

7.  Put an insulation blanket around your water heater, it’s an easy and inexpensive way to reduce energy and save money, paying for itself in just a few months.  The insulation will reduce the amount of heat lost through the tank’s walls by 25-45 percent.

8.  Baby proof!  Just add childsafe plugs to all your wall outlets along outer walls, it is a cheap and easy insulator and also helps when the babes come to visit!


Plastic bags are an unnecessary evil

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Bag ladies have reused bags for centuries, and they have the right idea:  Reduce your use of plastic and Reuse the existing bags you have handy…over and over and over.

If you NEED bags, you can check with a bag lady…or, better yet, check out my website at VerdeMom.com for fashionable, strong and affordable grocery bags and perky produce bags, too!Reusable Shopping Bags by EnvBags

Why do we need to worry with reusable bags?

In the United States we use enough plastic shopping bags annually to consume about 12 million barrels of oil for their production.  To further the problem, less than 4% of these plastic bags are recycled!  They pollute our country and leave toxins on land and on sea…and they are an UNNECESSARY EVIL!

Good news is on the horizon…take a look at what’s happening around the globe!

When Washington, D.C. implemented a 5 cent tax on plastic bags in early 2010, a massive shift in habits happened immediately.  They dropped in the first month from 22 million to only 3 million plastic bags used.  Read more…Plastic Bags in DC

In Texas, some teenagers who are determined to eliminate plastic bags in their small town rounded up 5,000 cloth bags to hand out to local residents for free, in hopes of “bagging” the plastic in Coppell, Texas…and eventually around the globe!  Read more…

Ireland starting charging 15 cents a bag in 2002…China joined in 2008…Italy banned the bags last month, joining Mexico City.  Other US cities have followed suit, including Brownsville, Texas, Edmonds, Washington and Westport, Connecticut.  Read more from Do Your Part on other cities joining in the ban…

LA River with plastic garbage

 

 

From Saveourshores.org, they cut right to the problem:  Plastic Pollutes!

•     Plastic fragments contaminate even the most remote locations on earth. Plastics leach toxic chemicals, which are now being found in human tissue.  Over 80% of the pollution in the ocean is plastic.

•    Plastic pollution harms people, animals, and the environment. Plastic never biodegrades, it just breaks down (eventually) into smaller particles.  Wildlife eat these small pieces and voila’ ~ it’s now entered into our food chain.  As if our food wasn’t contaminated enough by the U.S. manufacturing methods, let’s add some plastic toxins to the stomach stew!

•    Consumption of throwaway plastics, such as bottles, containers, bags, and packaging, has spiraled out of control.   We are a society who wants convenience.  Convenience comes at a high price.  Were the old fashioned ways really too much work?

•    Recycling is not a sustainable solution. Most of our plastic waste is landfilled, downcycled or exported to other countries.  We need to discover new ways to design plastic without toxins…recover plastics without tremendous energy use…and find disposal techniques that make sense and can be sustainable.

•    Plastic pollution is the visible symbol of our global crisis of over-consumption. Once we all begin embracing a culture of sustainability, we can save money, time, toxins…and save the planet at the same time!  Baby steps are where you start.  Change takes time, but only after the wheels start turning…

•    Our health, our children, and the survival of future generations depend on us. Save our Shores has volunteers cleaning up beaches and rivers…take a look at the typical plastic trash they pick up in the image above.  We should be ashamed, just as our children will be if we don’t make changes now.