There are dozens of ways to go green across your life. From your home to work, food to fun, there are so many opportunities to make environmentally-friendly choices that benefit the world around you.
There are five basic principals to help guide you in greener daily life: reduce pollution, conserve resources, conserve energy, reduce consumption and waste and protect the earth’s ecological balance. Eco-friendly choices can preserve natural resources as well as your personal finance resources — why wait to go green when it can help save some of your own green? We uncovered some of the most popular ways to choose the sustainable route in every walk of life, many of which will help you save money.
Go paperless with cloth hand towels in your bathroom and kitchen — ditch the paper towels.
Opt for LED light bulbs. They use 85% less power than conventional bulbs, so they save you money and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.1
Take showers, not baths. The average bath uses 265 litres of water, whereas the average shower only uses 94 litres.2
Don’t charge electronics overnight or leave things plugged in unnecessarily.
Upgrade to an app controlled thermostat so you can regulate the temperature of your home while you’re away.
Replace furnace filters regularly for increased efficiency.
Green your laundry routine. Hand wash your delicates and hang dry as much as possible.
Choose reusable batteries. The charger is an investment to start with but will save money over time. If you must use disposable, recycle them.
Pick cloth diapers over disposable. While it take a little more effort, you’ll minimise waste and save a lot of cash.
Rugs add great style to a room and provide great insulation. Save up to 4 – 6% on your energy bill.4
Open the blinds in your home — you can save up to 10% on heating bills.4
Turn off your computer or put it in sleep mode before bed. Those hours can save up around 40 watts per day, which adds up to about £14 per year.3
Use leftover water from cooking (boiling pasta, potatoes, etc.) to water your plants and add extra vitamins and minerals to the soil.
Grind up eggshells and work them into the soil to avoid blossom end rot.
Used coffee grounds make great fertiliser. Sprinkle it in your garden after you’ve made your daily cup of coffee.
Water your lawn in the late afternoon after the heat has subsided to avoid evaporation — it’s a much more efficient practice than watering in the morning.
Capture rainwater to help water your plants.
Compost! It reduces the need for water, fertiliser and pesticides.
Rethink your commute. Share a ride with a co-worker, take public transit or ride your bike.
Opt in for direct deposit, if it’s available, to avoid pointless paper statements.
Skip your daily coffee stop and make coffee at home or bring it to work in a reusable tumbler instead. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll help cut back on wasted paper cups, stirrers and more.
Enable power saving modes on your electronic devices to help preserve energy and minimise the frequency of your charging.
Go paperless. Share documents, spreadsheets and presentations online via email or tools like Google Docs when you can.
Eating eco-friendly can be an activity all its own when you go on a picnic! Enjoy the outdoors and avoid carryout boxes from takeout. Packing your own food using reusable containers saves on waste and money!
Choose e-books and digital magazines over print. Many magazines provide discounted rates for digital-only subscriptions.
Skip purchasing books altogether and share (for free!) with your community. Your local library carries much more than just books. Visit a local branch to find movies, magazines, CDs and more.
DIY projects are a great way to repurpose items you no longer have a purpose for into something new.
Going green is about enjoying the environment too! Instead of choosing wasteful activities, prioritise outdoor fun like hiking, biking or just sitting at a local park. If you have the time, consider volunteering to make these public areas even better. There are many programs dedicated to enriching the environment and the local wildlife, like Woodland Trust.
Choose reusable batteries for video game controllers or hand-held devices. If you’re not playing the game actively, save and close down rather than pause and leave the device on. They both serve the same purpose, but the first saves far more energy.
When you check in for your flight, opt in for e-tickets for your mobile device. You’re much less likely to lose the ticket in the hustle of travel and you save paper.
Bring your own toiletries rather than using the ones the hotel provides.
Skip daily change of towels and sheets at your hotel unless they are necessary.
Keep your car up to par with regular check-ins with the mechanic. It will help keep your car running as efficiently as possible and reduce emissions.
Heading on a road trip? Use cruise control. It can increase your petrol efficiency up to 15%.3
If possible, choose walking or biking over using a car. The success of this will vary greatly depending on where you live, but if you can commit to it there are several benefits. You will save on gas, help the environment by reducing emissions and increase your activity levels, which is great for your health.
Move the junk out of your trunk! The heavier your vehicle, the more petrol it takes to get it on the move. Store only the essentials.
Choose eco-friendly destinations. Many hotels and resorts have started practicing sustainability and putting the environment first.
Sign up for paperless statements.
Choose online bill pay over checks. Not only is it usually safer, but it will also cut down on paper use and excess mail.
Sell! Make money with a garage sale, the original “reuse, reduce and recycle.” Earn some money while helping others find what they need rather than wasting energy on the production of something new.
Buy! Be a customer at garage sales or visit second hand stores when you can. Reducing consumerism decreases demand and helps minimise energy wasted in production of goods we may not need.5
Recycle aluminum, glass bottles and more to help reduce waste and make a few quid.
Don’t defrost food by running warm water over it for prolonged periods. Try to plan ahead by thawing out food overnight in the refrigerator.
Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water cools.
Don’t opt for disposable dishes, flatware and cups. It may make clean up easier, but you’re throwing your money away, literally, when you could be reusing basic dishware and saving money (and the environment).
Carry a reusable water bottle. It’s cheaper than purchasing bottled water and you avoid making excess waste.
Use a pressure cooker. These wonder machines are an all-around great choice for someone aiming to go green. Pressure cookers can take up to 70% less time to cook a meal, which means less energy spent and more time saved.5
Bring your own shopping bag to the market.
Cook from scratch when you can. Not only will you save money from dining out, but you will use fewer resources than would be spent dining out or buying pre-made food. Pre-packaged foods are usually over-processed and the factories that create them expend absurd amounts of waste and emissions.5
Eliminate food waste and only buy what you need. Overpurchasing increases demand for food supplies. That translates to more unnecessary food transport and more garbage filling landfills.
There are many ways to start going green, so just jump in! A little bit of effort can make a big difference in the long run. Committing to an eco-friendly lifestyle is a mutually beneficial process for you and your community. You’re helping create a better world for your children and your children’s children, all while making helpful financial decisions that help you save!
1 Light bulbs. (n.d.). Retrieved 24 February 2016, from http://www.ecooptions.homedepot.com/energy-efficient/light-bulbs/
2 Jen, T. (n.d.). Shower or Bath?: Essential Answer. Retrieved 25 February 2016, from https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=28853
3 50 ways to help the planet. (n.d.). Retrieved 25 February 2016, from http://www.50waystohelp.com/
4Anderson, J. C. (2014, October 1). 50 cost-efficient ways to make your home more eco-friendly. Retrieved 25 February 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/01/eco-friendly-home-50-ways-to-do-it_n_5916442.html
5 English, N. (2014, April 14). 41 eco-friendly tips to save cash. Retrieved 29 February 2016, from http://greatist.com/happiness/eco-friendly-tips-save-cash