11 Green Ways To Save Around The House
Going green doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money on cleansers that don’t use chemicals, or on organic foods. Going green means you can save your green. Ok, that’s a little hokey, but take a look around your house. What products do you use the most? What appliances? Think about how you can make minor changes to be more environmentally friendly and save money. Here are some suggestions to get you started along the greener path.
1. Trade Ziploc bags for Tupperware.
This can be a toughie, because Ziploc bags are so easy to use. Grab them, put in your lunch or your leftovers, and seal them up. After you use whatever’s in the bag, just toss it out. Stop buying Ziploc bags and invest in some Tupperware instead. Get a variety of sizes, so you can use them for leftovers and pack your family’s lunches each day. There’s a little more work since you wash the Tupperware instead of just tossing out a plastic bag, but the impact on the environment is dramatic. Buying Ziploc bags every month or two might not seem like a big expense, but it adds up. Reusing plastic containers could save you several hundred dollars a year.
2. Turn in your recycling.
Does your city have a recycling program? If so, check the guidelines and see what can be put in the bin. Some cities accept anything and sort it themselves. Some cities only accept glass, plastic, metal, or paper. Only recycle what your program accepts, but that doesn’t mean you should throw out the rest. Look up other options for recycling in your area. Do you get money back on plastic or glass bottles? Five cents a bottle might not seem like a major payback, but it’s better than nothing. Some places also accept bundles of paper and pay according to weight.
3. Use surge protectors.
Not only will surge protectors protect your electronics from power surges and outages, they can also help you save money. When your electronics are plugged into an outlet, they’re using power — if the appliance itself is turned off. To keep from draining power and raising the cost of your electric bill, use surge protectors to plug in everything else. Surge protectors have switches on them so you can easily stop the power flow by turning off the switch. Make it a routine to turn off your surge protectors before bed each night — it’s much easier than unplugging each individual appliance from the wall! Just make sure you keep your alarm clock plugged in directly so you don’t miss work.
4. Open your windows.
Spring and fall are great times to open your windows and let fresh air in! Spring is not yet hot enough to need the air conditioner, and fall is just cool enough to not need the heater — take advantage of it. The fresh air also helps your house release the stuffiness acquired in the reuse of air for months at a time.
5. Have your utilities analyzed.
A lot of power companies are offering a service where you can have your utility use analyzed. This service isn’t free, but it’s worth the one-time cost to save money each month, while helping the environment. This service will tell you if you’re using more electricity, water, and gas than necessary for a house and family of your size. You’ll learn how to conserve your utilities, which will help you conserve your money.
6. Get a cost-effective washer.
How many loads of laundry do you do each week? Have you thought about the cost of providing energy and water for each load? If your washer is over ten years old, consider investing in a new model. You’ll use about ten less gallons of water per load, saving over two hundred dollars a year. In addition to being more efficient with water and energy, these new energy-saving washers also have bigger tubs, so you can wash more clothes at once — and therefore wash fewer loads of laundry. Win-win.
7. Use dryer balls instead of sheets.
Buy a set of wool dryer balls instead of buying a pack of dryer sheets every couple of months. You’ll save money in the long run and create less waste – in two different ways. You won’t have dryer sheets to throw in the trash after each load, and the dryer balls still suppress static just like the sheets do. And the bonus is that the balls bounce around in the dryer, keeping the clothes from staying in one damp lump, which cuts down on your drying time and electricity use.
8. Hang clothes up to dry.
You don’t have to have a big yard with a clothesline stretched across the back to hang your clothes up to dry — though that’s nice. If you have a yard but no existing clothesline, look online for easy installation kits. Some modern versions have one pole — either with line coming out of “branches” at the top of the pole, or retractable lines coming from a container you can mount on your house or shed. But if you live in an apartment or don’t have enough space in your yard, you can still hang up your clothes. String a line from the upper cabinets of the kitchen, or hang them in a room you won’t be using for a few hours. There are also collapsible drying racks that you can drape clothes over until they dry. The rack folds up for storage behind a door or dresser.
9. Start a garden.
This is another thing you can do whether you have a yard or not. If you have a yard, you can plant fruits, vegetables, and herbs on a larger scale. See what you can grow depending on your type of soil and the climate in your area. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can still grow some vegetables and herbs inside in window boxes. This is a green way to save money while brightening up your home.
10. Use alternative cleansers.
Instead of buying chemical cleansers, save money and the environment by finding alternative ways to clean. Baking soda and vinegar, for example, can be bought in bulk and used for pretty much anything around the house. Baking soda can be used instead of toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo, and it’s also great for scouring grease off pans. It also can be sprinkled on a damp sponge to clean everything from messy microwaves to marks on walls. Vinegar mixed with a little water can clean computer keyboards, sticky scissors, and unclog drains.
11. Reuse as much as you can.
Think twice about everything before you throw it away or recycle it. Stitch up old clothes instead of tossing them, or cut them up to be used as cloth napkins or rags. Save cardboard boxes for shipping gifts to faraway family and friends. Buy new ink cartridges instead of tossing the pen when it runs dry. If you’re crafty, save paper scraps to make beads or your own paper. Once you start looking at things differently, you’ll find you can actually reuse a lot of old stuff instead of throwing it away and buying new.