This post is part of our monthly Spunky Simplicity “Less Is More” Movement series.
We believe that people inherently want to be good stewards of the environment and its natural resources, but there are a few popular excuses that get in the way. Many people believe that going green will take more time or cost more money when in fact, it can even save you time and money, in some cases right up front. Here are some simple household tips to save energy which will also save you some green:
- Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs. For every degree you turn your heat down in the winter, you can save up to 5% on your energy bill.
- Install compact fluorescent light (CFLs) or LED bulbs when your older incandescent bulbs burn out. CFLs use 75% less energy and last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs. While they cost more up front, they pay for themselves 10 times over during the life of the bulb!
- Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use. Americans spend about 4 billion a year on electricity for things they aren’t using!!!!
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
While most of the Earth’s surface (nearly 70%) is covered in water, one may wonder why water conservation is so important. Well, less than 1% of the Earth’s water is actually usable by people. We also have to consider that the population is growing but the water supply is not. Follow these steps to save water, money and time:
- Take shorter showers. Most standard shower heads today release 2.5 gallons per minute! You will not only save water, but you’ll save the energy used to heat the water you aren’t using.
- Install low-flow shower heads. Many can be found for under $20. They typically release 2 gpm (gallons per minute). Save $23-$33 annually. So with only one person showering you have paid off your low-flow shower head in less than one year!
Even the foods you eat make an impact. According to the EPA, in 2012, nearly 30% of municipal waste was from containers and packaging. Here’s what you can do to help:
- Buy from the bulk bins and avoid single-size packaged foods (which we don’t recommend packaged foods to begin with). You’ll save money and eliminate package waste.
- Make one day a week meatless. Standard meat production is taxing on the environment and can be rather expensive. 1 pound of ground beef costs more than 1 pound of organic lentils. Yet the lentils yield more than double the servings than the ground beef and one serving of lentils still yields 11 g of protein.
See more ideas on simplifying your pantry here.
We are a society of convenience. But if we continue on as we have been, many of our greatest conveniences will be lost forever. Here are some suggestions to replace single use or disposable items without compromising convenience:
- Quit the plastic water bottles. Simply use a filter from your fridge door or Brita or find a water bottle that has a filter built in. Save $500 a year by eliminating 1 bottle of water a day. The production of plastic bottles uses a lot of oil and they typically head straight for the trash. Here is one of our favorite re-usable water bottles.
- Use Micro Fiber cloths to replace paper towels. 1 Skoy cloth can replace 15 rolls of paper towels!
- Use beeswax Abeego to replace foil/plastic wrap.
Click here for more products we love that replace single use and disposable items.
We all know how quickly technology gets updated and old technology becomes obsolete. This is very taxing on the environment, our happiness and our pocketbook. There truly is a battle here of wants versus needs. Getting the latest/greatest iPhone because it is more cutting edge is a want. Getting a new phone because yours is broken (or almost broken) is “closer” to a need. We can save money and the environment by hanging onto our TV’s, computers, phones and other electronics for their lifespan.
Follow these simple steps (in sequential order) to minimize your technology footprint:
- Buy less electronics overall.
- Keep electronics as long as possible.
- Donate, if possible. There is no shortage of places that accept old phones for a great cause. Just google it.
- Recycle them! Simply Google search “Electronic Recycling” in your area.
As with anything else in life, you don’t have to do it all at once. Pick one or two things to start with, then once those are habit, pick another suggestion to try.