Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ways to save the planet (and some money)

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd bring you a lost of some of the most important ways to save the planet, while saving money at the same time.

Buy less stuff

The things we buy, particularly the extraneous things, put a huge burden on our planet. From manufacturing to transportation to disposal, the impact of a single object can be enormous. Multiply that times the number of things that you've bought that you didn't want, and multiply that times the number of people who do the same thing, and you have a huge impact. Annie Leonard does a great job of explaining this in her video The Story of Stuff.

Think twice before buying something, particularly a uni-tasker or the next new gadget. This will save you money and ultimately make you happier by decreasing the amount of clutter that you have to clean and deal with.

Use less energy

Cut back on your household's use of energy. The main uses of energy for most people are transportation and temperature control, so those are great places to start. Keep an eye on your thermostat, drive a little bit less, and find other ways to save gas.

But the little things count too. Check for wasted energy in your house. Unplug chargers and appliances that use energy in standby. Turn off your computer at night instead of just letting it sleep. Replace your lights with compact fluorescents. Turn your refrigerator up a degree or two. Every little bit that you can do will help save the planet.

Throw less away

Reduce, reuse, recycle. In that order. The most important thing is to have less to dispose of in the first place: don't buy disposables, buy food with less packaging. In most cases, this will save you a ton of money too, since whole foods tend to cost less and be healthier than packaged food.

The next step is to reuse things. Buying things that can be reused is a great start, but try to make everything into something reusable. A mustard jar can make a candle, a ripped shirt can become dishrags, old greeting cards can be reused to make new ones.

Finally, recycle. Even if it takes a little more time, recycling saves energy, saves landfill space, and preserves resources, which makes it a great way to save the planet.

Eat less meat

The production of meat is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet. Becoming a vegetarian or a vegan is a great decision to save the planet, but even reducing meat can make a huge difference. And, since meat is one of the most expensive part of most people's grocery budget, this move should save you money as well.

We all want to save the planet. Hopefully, if everyone can do just a little bit, we can all work together to make that difference.

More ways to save the planet:

Save Gas
Cascading Changes
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Hybrid cars
Vinegar and Baking soda in the kitchen
Small Changes
More Small Changes