There is no denying that we are ruining our environment with our never-ending sea of trash and pollution. For this reason, sustainability has to begin at home, with individual and household choices that grow into and educate and incorporate the greater community and place of work.
Sustainability requires changing some of your small daily habits as well as researching and learning about innovative environmental remediation technologies.
Here are five ways living sustainably can save you money. And who doesn’t want to protect the planet and have more money in the banks, right?
1. Forget bottled water and coffee cups
Everyone must drink sufficient amounts of clean and quality water every day. However, plastic bottles are a significant strain on the environment and your health (thanks to the synthetic toxins). Also, local tap water is chemically treated or contains things the community doesn’t want to consume and as such, many prefer buying bottled waters.
(If you are involved with groundwater and soil remediation projects, look into the health benefits of potassium permanganate.)
But before you go back to buying plastic water bottles, consider spending a little more money on a home water filter and reusable water containers. Over time, this way of consuming water will save you lots of money (have you ever calculated how much bottles of water add up to over the month?) and will also reduce the amount of plastic being thrown on top of the Earth.
Similarly, commit to not getting a disposable coffee cup every morning and instead bring your own reusable coffee mug. Many coffee shops will also provide you with a discount if you carry your own vessel. Win-win!
2. Buy (and sell) second-hand
All around the world, people are opting to shop more and more second-hand items. Luckily, you can purchase virtually anything in this manner, including clothing, furniture, and electronics. Buying second-hand not only saves you money but also reduces your consumer footprint and prevents another unnecessary item finding its way to a landfill.
Additionally, you can look to sell some of your stuff second-hand on sites such as Craigslist or eBay. You can also host a garage sale or donate items to charity or local schools. By selling your items second-hand, you are making money while also limiting waste. If you donate items, you may be eligible for a tax deduction.
3. Replace your light bulbs with LED lights
Instead of merely looking at the initial price, choose LEDs as a long-term investment in the environment. There is no denying that the upfront price may be costlier; however, the payback time is deserving.
Usually, LEDs will continue brightening up your room for two decades of average use before they even start to dim. Not only will you save money (again, in the long-run) by purchasing LEDs; you will also be doing your part to protect the planet. If you swap only one light bulb to LED, you will reduce the amount of your energy consumption by 70-90 percent.
4. Embrace the outdoors as often as possible
As a global society, we spend far too much of our time inside and glued to screens when we could be outside enjoying our beautiful world. In an effort to reduce your technology use (both for the environment and for your sanity), schedule regular outdoor outings.
Opt to walk or bike whenever possible — an action that will save you money on gas and that is energy efficient!
If you can’t walk or bike, choose to use public transportation, or carpooling to get to work or run errands.
5. Rethink your laundry process
Unless you have a critical emergency, only ever turn your washing machine on when you have a full load — this saves water, energy, and money.
Additionally, consider washing your clothes with cold water. By doing this, your clothes will be just as clean, but you won’t have to spend money and energy on heating the water. Opting for cold water can assist in saving the environment as well as your electricity bill.
When it is warm outside, use a clothesline to dry your laundry. When it is cold out, utilize a dryer rack for indoor air drying. If you really want to take your sustainability efforts a step further, choose to make your own laundry detergent and cut down on the packaging.
What habits are you changing to be more environmentally friendly? How are you saving money while also caring for the planet? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!
Patrick Randal is the Vice President of National Sales at Hepure Technologies. He holds a BS in Mechanical and Chemical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from CSUS. He has been working in the environmental and bioremediation space since graduating in 1986.