We only think about conserving energy and saving the planet when the gas price goes up and when we feel the pinch in our budget. But every year Earth Day reminds us that we need to do something whether gas price is up or down. It also gives us opporunity even during this time of unprecedented environmental challenge, for every citizen to make an impact. This year Earth day is on April 22 and I want to share few simple things which I do every day and has an impact. You can also try it out and be satisfied for doing something.
1. First thing, avoid paper bills unless its really necessary. If we all reduce paper usage, it will eventually reduce the number of trees cut for this purpose. Many utility companies, financial institutions like banks, mortgage servicers, insurers are campaigning to reduce the paper waste by requesting customer to signup for ebills over the internet or email. Obviously they have better motive which is to reduce their cost but still it makes sense to help reduce the paper waste by moving to ebill solutions. But do it subjectively.
If you think your bill will change every month and needs to verify before paying, you shouldn’t sign up for auto withdrawal but if they have an option to get ebill and then pay online then go for it. If they only have option for ebill and automate the payment, then continue with paper bill in those situations. On the other hand, if the bill stays same all throughout the year, you don’t need the paper bill. For example, mortgage is always going to be same every month and you can avoid paper bills instead get ebill reminder to pay them or setup auto deduction.
2. Next comes Electricity. We use lot of electricity at home everyday which is either generated by Coal or Wind. Wind is good but we don’t have lot of windmills to support our electricity demand. Currently it’s most electricity comes from coal which has lots of waste and emissions. For your part, reduce electric consumption by using fluroscent bulbs as much as possible instead incandescent bulbs.
You might find incandescent bulbs cheaper than compact flourescent bulbs but things are getting better these days. Even if you pay more and buy flourecent bulbs they will last longer than their counter part. So think again and do the right thing. We changed 90% of lightings to flourescent bulbs. Also Turn off the lights when you leave a room whether at home or office. Start making it as a practice. Don’t forget to Turn up the Thermostat during summer and Turn down during Winter. Turning up to 78 degrees uses less electricity and Turning down to 65 degrees during winter will use less natural gas to heat up. Both saves you money and good for the environment.
3. Plastic is another big chemical waste which is ruining our earth’s composition. Try to reduce plastic waste. It also emits lot of unhealthy gas during decompositon or recycling process. You can help by reducing the plastic use by reusing them as much as possible. For example, save Ziplock bags or any plastic bags after first use and try to use them few times before you throw it out. Avoid bottle water if you can use filteration system like Reverse osmosis. That reduce plastic waste and also gives you good, healthy water for cheap. Check out a Costco offer for Reverse osmosis I posted last week.
4. Water is another precious resource from mother nature. Try to reduce water consumption by not leaving the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving. Nearly tens of gallons of water just goes down the drain during our daily activities. By saving water, you save money and also natual resource which is getting wasted. So try to avoid wastage by only using limited quatity when needed during shaving, doing laundry, watering the lawn, washing the car, washing dishes.
5. Finally, Petroluem/Gas/Oil. Carpooling is the best way to reduce carbon footprint by reducing fuel consumption and also saves money on fuel cost and vehicle mileage. Also there are reports about effective driving can reduce gas usage. May be it’s true but it is hard to change your habit immediately whether it’s good or bad. No harm in trying, so I recommend you try one change at a time and see the effect and go from there. Like try to avoid rising your engine too quickly when you start from lights. Do it slowly which won’t consume more fuel. Try small things like above and you might see the difference in your gas tank.
These are just simple things which I follow and feel good in both saving money and helping save the planet. There are many websites like this one which shares lot more tips to help to do your part and make an impact in reducing bad impact to our Mother Earth.
Happy Earth Day!!