Green Living: Save Money and the Planet

Green living and sustainable energy

Green living is not just about saving the environment. It can also help you save money. For example, you can spend less by changing your consumption habits. If you use eco-friendly products that last longer than traditional ones, you will not have to spend as much replacing things. Furthermore, you can cut your utility bill and carbon footprint by using sustainable energy and smart appliances. In short, if you want to save money and the planet, you should embrace these green living tips.

Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs with LED Light Bulbs

While energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs have become more popular, many households and businesses still use the traditional incandescent light bulbs. That is because a lot of people still prefer the light emitted from incandescent light bulbs. Furthermore, some people resist changing their buying habits - or resent the idea of governments trying to mandate the use of LED light bulbs because they are better for the environment. However, LED light bulbs are not only eco-friendly (using 80% less energy), but they are also wallet friendly as well. That is because they can last 50,000 hours - which is nearly 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs last. Plus, they use a lot less electricity. Therefore, you can save money on your electric bill and by not having to replace your light bulbs nearly as often - while doing something good for the environment.

Go Solar

Much of the electricity produced in the United States still comes from carbon-producing sources that are bad for the environment. Furthermore, as electricity costs continue to rise, your power company will likely have to keep raising your electric bill. Therefore, one of the biggest ways that you can embrace green living is by embracing solar energy. While installing a solar energy system in your home is a major investment, many homeowners can qualify for federal and possibly state (depending on the state you live in) tax credits that will offset a significant portion of the costs. Furthermore, if you can generate all of your home's electricity from solar power, your electric bill will go to zero. Even if you must continue buying a little electricity from the power company, you will still save thousands a year on your electric bill. Those huge savings on your utility bill will more than pay for your solar energy system. You can learn more about potential green energy tax credits online.

Use Smart Appliances

As household appliances continue to get "smarter," they are also getting more energy efficient. For example, smart washing machines can wash clothes using less water than traditional ones. Smart-home hubs can sync all of your home appliances and electronics together, turning off lights and electronics when you leave a room, as well as adjust your thermostat when you leave your home for more energy savings. If you are interested in learning about how energy-efficient an appliance is before buying it, you can check its rating on the Energy Star website - which is run by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Use Rechargeable Batteries

You can spend a lot of money buying disposable alkaline batteries. Furthermore, alkaline batteries are made with hazardous chemicals - like mercury, lithium, and dangerous acids - that are bad for the environment. When batteries are thrown away and end up in a landfill, it takes them up to 100 years to decompose. Unfortunately, many of their harmful chemicals can end up contaminating the soil. Therefore, you should start using rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones. In addition to helping the environment, you will save money too.

Turn Your Trash Into Compost

Anything that you throw away that ends up in a landfill can take years - sometimes hundreds of years - to fully decompose. Furthermore, when trash decomposes in a landfill, it releases methane gas which contributes to climate change. That's because methane absorbs heat from the sun. Therefore, if you want to stop contributing to the growth of landfills and harmful gases that are bad for the environment, you should start composting your trash. You can actually buy a trash can compost bin - or learn how to build your own on the Internet. Even if you don't want to turn all of your trash into compost, you can at least compost your food scraps. Then, if you have a garden, you can use the compost to fertilize it.

Donate and Buy Used Items

Whenever you decide to get rid of something that you no longer need/want, you should donate it instead of throwing it away. For example, you can likely find a thrift store in your community that will be more than happy to accept your old clothes, furniture, dishes, and possibly even electronics and appliances. Furthermore, instead of only buying everything brand new, you should start buying some used items as well. By donating and buying used items, you are reducing the amount of precious resources that are used up each day to produce new items. Plus, you will save money buying things second-hand instead of brand new.

Drive Less

You can save money and reduce your carbon footprint by not having to fill up your gas tank as often. Therefore, you should drive less and walk/bike/carpool more. Furthermore, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. If you live too far away from work to walk or bike, you might be able to carpool with coworkers.

Find New Uses for Old Things

Lastly, if you really want to save money and the planet, you must learn how to find a new purpose for old things instead of throwing them away. When you are constantly buying something new to replace something old, you can end up spending a lot of money. Likewise, when you are throwing away something old each time you buy something new, you end up further polluting our environment by filling up landfills. The Internet is a great resource for getting ideas on how to reuse old things that no longer serve their original purpose. In fact, you can usually find a lot of good ideas from others on sites like Pinterest and YouTube.In short, saving money while saving the environment can start with something as simple as changing the kind of light bulbs that you use: Replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. You can cut your electric bill and carbon footprint by switching to solar energy. Even if you cannot afford a solar energy system, you can still reduce your electricity usage by using energy-efficient appliances. Start buying rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones. Compost your trash instead of sending it to a landfill. Speaking of landfills, donate or repurpose things instead of throwing them away. Stop driving your car as much when you can walk/bike/carpool instead.

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