It’s tough to argue against the idea of leading an environmentally conscious existence. But, a concern for many people is that going “green” means spending extra money on eco-friendly products. We’ll put that myth to rest with a list of products that will not only help preserve our environment, but our budgets as well.
It is estimated that Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups and 18 billion paper cups every year. Paper and cardboard make up over 40 percent of the solid waste buried in American landfills. Of that, 40 percent is attributed to disposable coffee cups. Adding to the waste are the plastic lids, straws and cardboard sleeves associated with the purchases made at coffee shops.
One way to help counteract this issue is by purchasing an insulated travel mug. A product that we love is the GoGreenMug available at gogreenmug.com. For less than $15, you can completely personalize a 16-ounce travel mug that will take the place of the hard-to-recycle paper cups found at most coffee shops.
How will this save you money? Many baristas will actually fill your 16-ounce GoGreenMug for the same price as a small coffee. It’s also not unusual for coffee shops to offer discounts to customers who provide their own mugs. Regardless, the GoGreenMug is a fun way to take your coffee on the road while also reducing waste.
CFL Light Bulbs
Switching to compact florescent light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to diminish the energy used in your home, as well as the associated costs. While CFLs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they last about 10 times longer. Each bulb actually pays for itself after the first six months of use, and will save you at least 30 dollars over the course of its lifetime.
Aside from using less energy, CFLs reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury released into the atmosphere. To find out more about CFLs, as well as to find a retailer near you, log on to energystar.gov.
Water Filter and Reusable Water Bottles
The bottled water industry is thriving, so it’s no wonder there are concerns regarding the oil it takes to manufacture and ship the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles, as well as the effects on our landfills after they’re discarded. The good news is that the recycling of these bottles is on the rise. The problem, however, is that our dependency on plastic as a whole is taking a toll on our environment.
Another issue is the cost of bottled water. While tap water is not free, the U.S. Conference of Mayors estimates that bottled water costs between 1,000 and 4,000 times more!
We suggest that a great way to do your part, and save money while doing it, is to invest in a water filtration system for your home, as well as a reusable stainless steel drinking bottle. There are many out there to choose from, so opt for models that are right for your lifestyle and budget. No one is saying that bottled water needs to completely go away, as there are many practical uses. A reduction in our use of plastic water bottles, however, will benefit everyone.
Even more disturbing than the millions of batteries purchased and thrown away each year, is the fact they contain heavy metals (lead, cadmium and nickel), which can leach into our environment. Whenever a battery is no longer of use, we suggest storing it in a non-disposable container. Every few months you can take the used batteries to a local recycling center. To find a center near you, log onto earth911.com. The search engine located at the top of the homepage is sure to help.
If you are looking to also save money on your battery usage, you may want to think about purchasing rechargeable batteries, as well as a battery charger. Both can be found in many retail locations, but for a great selection and prices check out amazon.com.
Faucet Aerators and Low-flow Showerheads
It is fairly easy to understand why both of these products are good for the environment, and your budget. Not only are you using less water, but you are also heating less water. In turn, your bills will decrease.
Gone are the days when “low-flow” meant a lackluster shower, or drippy faucets. New technology allows for air to be mixed in with the water. In layman’s terms, the aeration provides for less water usage without pressure being sacrificed. In addition, both products are fairly inexpensive and can be easily installed, without the use of any tools.
While both of these products can be found at many hardware and home improvement stores, we ask you to check out ItsEasyBeingGreen.com. There, you will find no shortage of the aforementioned products, as well as many others that are sure to save on energy used, and money spent.
Stainless Steal Drinking Straws
This may not be a product for everyone, but if you’re partial to using drinking straws, or you have children who enjoy smoothies on a regular basis, they’re perfect! In addition to reducing your waste, they add cache to any drink you may serve to dinner guests. Figure on spending $10 for a set of four, but understand that they have the ability to last a lifetime.
Most endurable drinking straws are guaranteed to never rust or tarnish, and can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher. As an added bonus, they add to the coldness factor of any beverage. Conducting a simple Google search should turn up a plethora of buying options.
The fact that you are reading this article means you are already online. So, as long as you have a reasonable understanding of computers and the Internet, you may as well be using it to save money, as well as trees and landfill space.
Nowadays many banks and companies are offering “paperless” statements and online bill paying. Just think of the paper that just one person would conserve if they never received a bill in the mail or wrote a check.
The money you’d save would come from not having to mail the check to the company. But, there is another bonus. With online bill paying comes the ability to pay whenever you want. In other words, no more mailing a check a week before it’s due. Simply pay the bill on the day it’s due.
Yes, you read it correctly. White distilled vinegar may be one of the most versatile products, not to mention environmentally friendly and downright cheap to buy. Not only can you do some healthy cooking with vinegar, but it also has over a thousand household uses, everything from cleaning and laundry to pets, garden and automotive.
For tips on how to effectively use white distilled vinegar, log onto vinegartips.com. You will be amazed how many toxic and expensive products you will no longer need to buy.
Final Thoughts on Being Green
There are two final thoughts we’d like to share. The first is the items presented in this article only scratch the surface of products that are both eco-friendly and budget-friendly. Look around your home for products that you regularly use and then discard. Simply replace them with products that are reusable.
Lastly, doing your part to preserve our environment doesn’t have to be about making drastic changes to your life. It is more about making a few minor changes and sticking to them. Don’t feel the need to use all our suggestions. Instead find one or two that work for you and go for it. But whatever you do, please don’t believe the myth that going green means going broke.