Every time we turn on the news these days, we hear people telling us that we
should do our part to help protect the environment. While I agree with that, the
simple fact remains that most people simply cannot afford to go out and buy all
new "green" appliances, a more fuel-efficient automobile or trade in their oil
or wood burning stoves for a new electric heat pump. Place some expensive solar
panels on the roof? Forget about it!
When it comes right down to it, I believe
that making a few simple changes to our lifestyles can do a lot more to help
clean up the environment than spending a heap of cash. Here are just a few of
- Use rechargeable batteries wherever possible. A set of rechargeable AA
batteries is actually cheaper than an 8-pack of quality non-rechargeable ones,
and if used and maintained according to the instructions, they'll likely last
for several years.
- Buy used whenever you can. Need a new power drill or vacuum cleaner? Buy a
good used one instead and you'll possibly prevent an old one from being thrown
in the landfill a long with the packaging material that comes with a new one.
Used appliances are also a great deal for the same reasons.
Sure, new ones are
more energy efficient, but when you consider the energy it takes to manufacture
them as well as the materials and fuel used to ship them, the total energy consumption
and greenhouse gas emissions will probably be about the same either way. Oh,
and when you buy used, there are no additional raw materials being consumed.
- Walk instead of driving when traveling short distances. A one-mile drive to
the store just to pick up a single small item uses a not-so-insignificant amount
of gasoline. Walk instead and you'll help save the planet, save money, and get
the exercise benefits of a two mile walk.
- Keep all of your filters clean and replaced as necessary. A clean air filter
on your car helps it run better and more efficiently. Likewise, a clean filter
in your home heating system can keep your heating bills low and make your
furnace or heat pump last a lot longer.
- Buy a filtering water pitcher instead of bottled water. A filtering water
pitcher will pay for itself in no time if your family buys and uses a lot of
bottled water, and even after replacing the filter on occasion you'll still save
tons of cash overall. Better still is the fact that water from these pictures is
often clearer and contains fewer contaminants than the bottled variety. Even
better, you'll be keeping countless plastic water bottles from filling up
the landfill (they won't have to be manufactured either).
Well, there you have it. Five tips for helping save the environment while
also saving money. I'm sure there are plenty more of course, but hopefully the
ones listed in this article will get your creative juices flowing.
About the author: Sharon Nettles is a longtime homemaker, Sunday School
teacher, and mom to three wonderful children and seven grandchildren.
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