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Thursday, June 22, 2017

 

Going green without going broke

How to help the environment without spending a fortune.


 
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 them:

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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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