I am what I like to call an armchair environmentalist.
What is that? Well, it means I like to be environmentally friendly…but I am lazy as hell and want to do it in an easy way.
Hey, I am just keeping it real.
I will probably never drive a hybrid vehicle. Solar panels? Too expensive. Taking the bus and giving up my SUV? Not happening.
But I can recycle.
And I can turn off lights when I leave a room.
And I can not use Styrofoam.
See what I mean?
I may not save Mother Earth, but I can do my part to lessen the damage I personally inflict on her.
1. RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE!
Recycling is really super easy. If you have recycling pick up in your area, you can either invest in a separate container for your recyclables or simply use a plastic bag to hold your recyclables until it’s trash pick up day. If you are new to recycling, just concentrate on the easy stuff: glass containers, aluminum cans and plastic. These things literally take years to break down in our landfills, so make them a priority. And Styrofoam? If you can’t avoid using it, make sure that you recycle it. My local grocery store actually has a big bin out front where you can deposit your egg cartons, meat liners and other Styrofoam so that they can recycle it. How awesome is that? Styrofoam NEVER breaks down – what you put into that landfill will stay there forever, so please do your best to recycle it!
2. UNPLUG YOUR ELECTRONICS WHEN NOT IN USE!
A few years ago, I read somewhere that unplugging your computer when not in use could save us $10 a month on our electric bill. So I started doing that. It actually did save us money! Did you know that your electronics are tapping into the electric even when they aren’t turned on? Unplug them completely!
Over the years, I’ve gotten better about wasting electricity: now I unplug other things too. Aside from saving us a few bucks each month on your electric bill, unplugging those household appliances that aren’t in use also helps conserve energy – less electricity, less nuclear energy…it’s a good thing. Since I began unplugging various household appliances and electronics, our monthly electric bill has gone down about $15 – $20, depending on how often we use certain things.
5 Household Electronics to UNPLUG when not in use:
- Unplug off your coffee maker until it’s time to actually make the coffee. Do you rely on that automatic setting to brew your coffee for when you wake up? Fine. Just turn it off after you’ve had your coffee and turn it back on before you go to bed. It takes 2 minutes to reset it in the evening, and that 2 minutes saves at least 12 hours of energy all day long!
- Unplug that the computer! And that includes laptops. They do not need to be plugged in all day!
- Unplug that microwave! Your microwave saps energy all day long, even when you aren’t using it. We only use ours a few times a week, so it sits unplugged for most of the time.
- Unless your television is hooked up to a satellite or cable box that is required to record your favorite programs, unplug that sucker!
- iPads and other entertainment devices – do you really need your iPad plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? If it’s charged, unplug it. Turn it off when not in use to save the charge.
Seriously, this is one of the easiest things that you can do to save money and be more energy-efficient. I know that many think that these compact fluorescent light bulbs are more expensive than regular light bulbs, but when you factor in how long they last, they really aren’t.
4. USE REUSABLE GROCERY SHOPPING BAGS!
One of the easiest ways to “be green” is to use those reusable grocery bags. You know the ones – they are everywhere lately. You can usually pick them up in the grocery store for 99 cents. They have them everywhere from your grocery store to Target, Wal-Mart – hell, even DSW and TJ Maxx carries them! If you really can’t afford or just forget to buy them? Then at least recycle your plastic shopping bags.
5. BUY GREEN HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS!
After working with Green Works earlier this year, I decided to begin replacing our household cleaning products with “greener” options. As I run out of each thing, I make sure to buy a greener option when I replace it on my next shopping trip. I prefer to buy containers that are made with recycled materials as well. Because these items are new, they seem to always be on sale, and there are frequently coupons for them in the local paper. While they might be a dollar or two more than your usual brand, I think that the price difference is worth the environmental impact they make.
There are a ton of easy ways to be more green! I also donate my household items and old clothing instead of throwing them in the trash and letting them end up in landfills. I turn off the lights each time I leave a room, and open the curtains for natural light during the day.
What are some ways that you live a more green life? Can you suggest any easy ideas for us lazy folks?