Apr 27, 2008

Be frugal about "going green"

Retailers and manufacturers seem to be suddenly jumping on the "going green" bandwagon. While it's a good thing on the surface, it's also seemingly creating a "going green" fad, and retailers want to take advantage of it, just as they do any "fad". On the surface, it appears the manufacturers want what's best for the planet (and in some cases, I'm sure this is true). But look closely -- is that what's really going on? Here's a great article from Treehugger.com on the new "recycled coke bottle" t-shirts that are being advertised on television that proves my point splendidly. While Coke appears to be concerned about the planet, what they truly are concerned with is how much money they can make from the "go green" fad. So what can we, as frugal consumers, actually do to "go green" without hopping on the go green bandwagon? Instead of buying the local chain grocery store's $5 tote bags, how about recycling the plastic bags you already have? That's right... take those plastic bags back to the store and re-use them! I think I take home an average of 10 bags per week. If I simply carry those same bags back to the store with me, that's 520 plastic bags I'll NOT take home per year. Our store also give you a .05 refund per bag - so that's a savings to me of $26 per year. Not bad. Want something a little stronger than the normal store's plastic bags? Well, once again, recycle your plastic bags by fusing them with an iron to make a new, stronger shopping bag! Here's a tutorial on how to do it. Now doesn't that make more sense than buying a NEW bag? There are things you can do that won't cost you money but will actually SAVE you money and do your part in going green. These are things that I, personally, am committed to doing: -- Hang my clothes out to dry. Not possible for everyone, I know, but if you can do it, please do! Secondary benefit? Your clothes will last longer (where do you think all that dryer-lint comes from?!) -- Turn my computer off at night. By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year. -- Eat one meatless meal per week. One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. For example: It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also also save some trees. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed. -- Brush my teeth without running the water the entire time. You'll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop. -- Post unwanted items on Freecycle. Instead of sending perfectly good items to the landfill, check your local Freecycle and see if someone else can use them. I have never posted one item on Freecycle that wasn't gone within 24 hours. -- Plant a tree. I've mentioned before that we cut down 10 mature trees from our yard two years ago. This year we planted 20 to replace them. -- Buy your produce locally. You can check out Local Harvest's web site and find a locally owned farm that will sell you produce directly, as well as local Farmer's Markets in your area. Just think about the amount of gasoline that is used trucking produce around the U.S. when it's right there in your back yard! You can find more great low or no cost "go green" ideas at the 50 Ways to Help the Planet web site. "Going green" doesn't have to be about falling into the fad of going green. If you are truly frugal, going green means not just helping the planet we live on, but saving your money with lower electric and water bills! What are YOU doing to frugally go green? I'd love to hear more ideas!

1 comment:

pampapa said...

And there is always the washing in cold water instead of hot....and not idling the car for more than 1 minute....and shutting off lights when leaving a room.....and unplugging the small appliances when not in use (coffee pot, toaster, hair dryer, etc)...those are some of the ones I also use. Would love to find out more ways to save not only $ but also go "greener". Pamela