It doesn’t take a lot to help the environment – here are 17+ simple ways to live green and even save some money and energy along the way. These are easy and things you can do without really thinking about it!
Right now there seems to be a lot of emphasis on “going green.” I know a lot of people are really into that movement, which is great, but it’s one of those things that I know would be good to do…but then I have other things that take precedence in my mind.
I do love saving money though, and quite often, when you live a more green lifestyle, you tend to save money. Regardless of whether or not that’s the best motivation or not for making more environmentally friendly and energy efficient choices, I figure it’s at least some motivation. As I thought about it, there are really so many simple ways to live a greener lifestyle – many of which you might do without thinking.
Here are a few ways I came up with that may not seem like that big of a deal, but they end up making a big difference.
Tubeless Toilet Paper Did you know that more than 17 billion toilet paper rolls are used annually? You can see how much your family uses here. The toilet paper company, Scott, recently introduced Scott Tube-Free , which eliminates the cardboard in the center, making it so all of the toilet paper is useable.
Not only does Scott’s Tubeless toilet paper help the environment, it also simplifies your life. Since August 2-8th is National Simplify your life week, it’s the perfect time to start using it.
We recently started using this brand, and it’s pretty awesome. By using tubeless-toilet paper, it helps eliminate so much waste – it doesn’t require any extra work, and it works just as well as other leading-brands of toilet paper, in my opinion. It can be found at Walmart and other local retailers – you can find a store using this Local Retailer Locator and a Scott Coupon here!
Grow a Garden This is the first year we’ve grown a garden, and it’s been a neat experience to teach Jack about where some of our food comes from and to have the satisfaction of eating food that we’ve grown ourself. It has helped us save on our grocery bill and encourages us to be outside more. It also helps the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide (as well as many air pollutants), releases clean oxygen, and helps to reduce erosion and keep sediment out of streams, storm drains and roads (source.)
You also know exactly where your food is coming from and how it was grown, which I know is important to a lot of people. The website I referenced earlier said that environmental landscape designs can help cool and warm your home and reduce energy costs up to 20%.
Reusable Grocery Bags We have tons of reusable grocery bags laying around the house, but I often forget to use them. We just need to remember to put them in the car! Some stores will even give you a small discount for using your own bags. If you don’t have any, I’ve found that most stores sell them (and you can use them anywhere!)
Light bulbs There are light bulbs specifically designed to help cut down on energy costs. If a light bulb is Energy Star certified, then it typically uses 70-90% less energy, lasts 10-25 times longer, and can save between $30 and $80 over its lifetime. On the Energy Star website it says:
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with one that has earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 2 million homes for a year, save about $460 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 6 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions from about 550,000 cars.
So switching out your lightbulbs not only effects your energy use and cost but the environment as well!
Unplug unused electronics
If you have a habit of keeping chargers, lamps, or any number of items plugged when they aren’t being used, make sure to try and unplug them to save energy! Wash clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot
Use public transportation
If you live near a major city, they most likely have public transportation! So if you are planning to go downtown, work near a drop off point for the transportation, etc. you could consider taking this means of transportation. It helps a lot with pollution! We used to live in Utah, which had HORRIBLE air quality (quite honestly, it was one of the main reasons I wanted to move), and they had a great public transportation system in place. It was unfortunate more people didn’t use it. Carpooling is another great option!
Turn off Faucet I often think of an episode of Sesame Street from when I was younger that was all about turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth. It had a fish getting less water in a lake because someone kept their faucet on. I’m not sure if that’s actually true, but I do know that it’s a very good idea to turn off the faucet while you are brushing teeth and other times that you may turn it on for an unnecessary extended period of time.
Cruise Control Forrest is a huge fan of cruise control when we are on the freeway. By using it, you can get up to 15% better gas mileage.
Adjust thermostat By adjusting your thermostat to be one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter, you can save a lot of energy! Each degree can save about 10% of your energy!
Batch Errands I’m the worst at this – I’ll go out for one thing, and then a few hours, we’ll go out for another thing. We’ve been trying to be better about this though and before we go anywhere, we discuss what else we need to do that day, and if it can all be accomplished in one trip.
Reusable Objects In general, if you can avoid a product that is just for one-time use, you should. This can be anything from reusable drinking cups instead of water bottles, mugs for hot chocolate or other hot drinks, investing in reusable storage containers, etc.
Turn off lights when they aren’t needed Electric Lawn Mower
I didn’t even know these existed until a few months ago when we went to Home Depot to buy a lawn mower! It was the same price as other machines, but we felt like the fact that we wouldn’t have to buy gasoline was a huge plus. It works great. We got one that you have to plugin, but for just a little more, they had ones available with a rechargeable battery.
Opt for eBills
We get so much junk in the mail – it seems like such a waste! We were able to cut down on that significantly by opting for eBills and eStatements from banks, credit card companies, etc. We also pay our bills all online, so we don’t have to waste paper or stamps sending in checks (it’s also just so much more convenient!) Sometimes companies will even give you a discount for doing eStatements. For instance, the credit union we use has a rewards program, and one of the options to get points is through having eStatements.
Work from Home
This isn’t an option for everyone, but telecommuting is becoming more and more popular/common in the workplace. Working from home takes discipline, but it can be a great option for saving money on gas (and obviously not driving very much is better for air pollution!)
We love using rechargeable batteries! They sometimes require more of an investment in the beginning, but they last much longer than just single-use batteries.