With all the eco-friendly innovation out there today, it can sometimes seem like truly going green might be too expensive. Between solar panels, reusable containers and other items for daily use, and all the new technology being created every day, it often feels like protecting the environment means you’ll have to spend more money. However, this isn’t necessarily the case; there are plenty of ways to help the environment without emptying your wallet in the process. Here are just a few easy ways to help the environment while on a budget.
Around The Home
One of the best places to start making changes to reduce your ecological footprint is right at home. There are a wide variety of ways to help the environment simply by making small daily adjustments that might actually save you money, rather than requiring you to buy into new technologies and equipment.
The first place to look for making changes is something most people tend to ignore on a day-to-day basis: your thermostat. Adjusting your thermostat between seven and ten degrees (warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter) can save you up to 10% annually in energy costs. At the same time, you’ll be reducing your energy consumption. This simple shift gives you the best of both worlds.
Additionally, make an effort to use less water at home when possible. If you can afford them, low-flow showerheads and water fixtures can reduce your overall consumption without making any additional changes. However, if you can’t afford to switch out your fixtures, there are still simple changes you can make. Taking shorter showers, even by a few minutes, can save gallons of water. Also, when running the dishwasher or laundry, wash a full load as often as possible. The fewer times you run your dishwasher or laundry overall, the more water you’re able to conserve.
Out And About
Shopping and consumption create a large amount of waste and can contribute to a higher carbon footprint. To make sure your shopping trips are as green as possible, opt for buying used items whenever possible. In need of new furniture? Antiques or thrifted items are not only more affordable, but they keep furniture out of landfills.
Try shopping at your nearest thrift store next time you’re looking for new clothes too. Thrifted clothes are more affordable, and reduce the number of resources being used to make new clothes. Make sure to donate your clothes when you’re done with them as well, instead of throwing them away. Americans typically recycle or donate only 15% of their used clothing, with the rest (almost 10.5 million tons a year) going into landfills.
Affordable Technology Options
Even without buying all new technology, there are still plenty of innovative ways to use your current devices to help save energy. When possible, go paperless for mail, billing, even making day-to-day payments. 2D barcodes, like QR codes, are able to hold more data than 1D barcodes and are showing up in more places than ever; many locations use QR codes and similar technology to facilitate paperless payment. Because QR codes can be read and used by most modern smartphones, there’s a likely chance your existing phone or other devices will be able to be used for paperless payments.
Even if you can’t afford to buy the newest green technologies, there are plenty of ways to make eco-friendly shifts in your life. Try some of these easy adjustments to start on your path to going green without breaking the bank.