Monday, December 16, 2013

Being Green to Save some Greens

Mrs. Y here again. I am not exactly a tree hugger, but have been socially aware of the environment wherever possible. Many times we do not realize that being green can actually save us an extra few bucks here and there. Today I will show you some of the small things that I do to save the environment and my money.

Bottled Water

Bottled water can be costly and not environmentally friendly. In the state of California, a tax is added when you purchase any kind of bottled beverage to discourage consumption. So if you live there, having your own water bottle will save you 5 cents a bottle at least. Now, most other states do not impose that tax, but try and do the math in your head. You grab a bottle of water/Coke for 99 cents a day at work for 5 days a week. You work about 20 days a month. That is about $20 dollars a month and $240 dollars a year. That is of course assuming only one bottle is consumed a day. At the same time, 240 plastic bottles are going to the landfill if not recycled. If you really need the convenience, please do recycle wherever possible.

Recycle/Trash

For our current waste management program, recycling is free of charge while trash removal costs money.  Many household waste items can be recycled, ranging from plastic bottles, milk cartons, plastic containers, to old newspapers. Utilizing the recycling service can reduce the amount of your trash removal. For a household of 2, we do not see any dramatic savings. However, for larger families in our neighborhood, without doing any recycling, they would use up to 3 garbage stickers a week instead of one. That is about $7 a week, translating to $365 a year.

CFLs

CFL bulbs have been on the market for years, and the cost of CFLs have  dramatically gone down to less than $1 a bulb (many times cheaper). CFLs use much less energy than a traditional light bulb and last about 6X longer. When we were renting, we always changed out all the existing light bulbs to CFLs. Now that we own a house, we use CFLs for most of our light fixtures. Based on ComEd (our electricity provider), each CFL can save up to $16 a year, assuming 20 lights in an average house, that will be $320 a year. Now, the new trend is LED light bulbs. However, at this time, they tend to be fairly costly and we haven't been catching up with the trend just yet.

Utility Company Programs

Across the country, some utility companies offer programs in the summer to conserve energy to avoid unplanned outages due to over-usage. They offer incentives from $5-$20 per month to install a device on the AC unit to send signals to reduce usage during peak hours. It helps and saves you a few dollars.

Companies also run recycling programs for home appliances or Energy Star appliances upgrades. If you are about to upgrade your house, make sure you check your local utility companies and fill out those rebate forms.

So those are just a few examples of saving money while saving the environment at the same time. What do you do for the Earth while saving a few bucks at the same time?

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