Earth Day is celebrated every year as a way to introduce people to the concept of becoming more eco-friendly. But you don’t have to wait until Earth Day to do something useful for the planet or your own family. Turn every day into Earth Day with these easy-to-implement household changes!
Light Bulbs – You’ve all heard this already… so just do it! Go change your halogen light bulbs for the CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent bulbs) and not only will the environment feel the effects, but so will your pocketbook. Plus, these bulbs are said to last anywhere from five to seven years and you’ll be able to save hundreds of dollars on your power bill over the life of the bulbs. Imagine the savings!
Cloth Shopping Bags – If you thought changing light bulbs was easy, then you’ll be amazed at how easy switching to cloth shopping bags is. Many grocery stores and places like Wal-Mart have already started selling their own brand of cloth bags. These bags run approximately $ 1.00 per bag and a general household can probably get by with about six bags to do your weekly grocery shopping with (you’ll obviously need more bags if you shop monthly rather than weekly). That’s only $ 6.00 and you’ve just saved about twenty plastic shopping bags from being used by you each week. I, personally, despise those little plastic grocery bags. I swear the local bag boys around here only put 1-3 items in each bag before going to another one. It’s annoying!
Combine Errands – Everyone has those weekly errands that never seem to go away. You need to put gas in the car for the next week, buy groceries, stop by your grandmother’s house for a quick hello, drop off some goodies at your friends house, pick up little Suzy’s favorite ice cream, and numerous other things. So instead of doing one or two of these every day over the course of a week, why not just combine them all into one day? Pick a day (like Friday) and just do all of your running around on that day only. Make a list so that you won’t forget something and get to it. My errand day is Friday. I do everything from paying bills, to buying groceries, to buying clothes… everything that needs to be done in town. Even my kids have learned that Mommy only goes to town on Fridays, so if you want something special you’ll have to wait until Friday. By doing this you’ll be saving gas (and at the cost of gas, that’s a huge positive) and you’ll be reducing car pollution being added to the environment. Stop driving around aimlessly all week long and just pick a day!
Eat From Your Own Cabinets – You know those nights when you look in your fridge and can’t for the life of you figure out what to fix for dinner. Or your fridge is bare and it’s still a few days until your scheduled weekly shopping trip. Well, it’s time to look into those things beside your fridge… the cabinets (or pantry if you have one). Everyone has stuff in their cabinets that you don’t think will make a complete meal. But a lot of it really will. I came from a very poor family and we had to make do with what we had and a lot of times my mom had to be very creative with our dinner menus. I, myself, have had to be creative with my family’s meals at times also. There’s nothing wrong with having breakfast for dinner or making a casserole out of a box of mac & cheese, one pound of ground beef, a can of carrots, and a jar of salsa. It’s actually pretty tasty! So don’t rush off to the store before you’ve exhausted all possible menu choices. I’ve been known to adamantly refuse to go to the grocery store as long as there’s flour, milk, and eggs in my house.
Eco-Friendly Household Cleaners – One of the newest eco-friendly choices available on the market is the “green” household cleaner. At first I was a little skeptical, thinking that this was another way to raise prices by slapping on a “green” label. But, I have been happily surprised to see that these new eco-friendly cleaners are running about the same prices as their not-so-friendly counterparts. That makes it even easier to become an eco-friendly shopper without doing extra damage to your wallet.
Go to Paperless Bills – You already do your banking online. So why not stop receiving paper statements all together? While you’re at it, go paperless on your billing statements as well. Most companies all all for going paperless because it saves them postage and printing costs. You’ll receive an email whenever you have a new bill and you can either pay it then or schedule your online banking to pay it for you on a specified date each month. This also saves you postage on mailing out checks and saves the environment from paper usage and air pollution from the postal delivery of your payment. Go paperless and you’ll never want to go back!
Recycle – No well meaning eco-friendly article would be complete without mentioning the simple act of recycling. Unfortunately there are still cities in this country who don’t make it easy for its citizens to recycle. But with persistance and patience, even those cities will eventually become recycling-friendly.
Purchase Recycled Products – Since you’re recycling your used products, why not purchase products that have already been recycled? There are so many things out there that are made with recycled materials and most run close to the same prices as their non-recycled counterparts. You can even buy playground “dirt” that is made from recycled tires. It boggles the mind!
With these tips, you’ll not only become a more eco-friendly human being, but you will also be able to save time and money. You’ll be making an impact on the environment without dragging your wallet down during it. Yes, we’d all love to be able to afford to install solar panels on the roof of our homes, but some of us will have to be financially happy with purchasing half a dozen cloth grocery bags instead. Every little bit that we can do DOES help the environment… no matter how big or small. Happy Earth Day every day of the year!