Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Being Eco-Friendly

Hello darling readers!
The majority of us want to be eco-friendly (although I do have a friend who is openly anti-environment). I like the idea of being eco-friendly, but I really don't like having to put a ton of work into it; also, it can be expensive (the special lightbulbs, the appliances, etc). However, I realized the other day that in our attempts to live in a less-expensive way, my husband and I have some easy eco-friendly techniques. What we do has not changed our lifestyle and the majority is intended to save us money.
1- We keep our thermostat a little cooler in winter (between 65-67 degrees) and a little warmer in summer (about 74 degrees). This makes our heaters and coolers work less to provide warmth and coolness, but we still live comfortably. I'm not going to lie, 65 degrees in the West Virginia winter can suck, but I also really hate high gas bills, so I keep it cooler and make sure blankets are within easy reach.
2- We turn off the lights if we are not in a room and try to only use the lights we actually need. This does save energy, but our motivation is to keep electric bills down.
3- We unplug anything we're not using, or put our bigger items on surge protectors. Leaving your cell phone charger, laptop charger, coffee pot, toaster, etc plugged in still pulls electricity, even if you're not using the item or your item is done charging. This keeps our electric bill down as well as preserves our items' batteries (if you keep the item plugged in too long, it overwhelms the battery and wears it down faster). No kidding, we put this into effect last winter and saw our electric bill go down. It saves energy in the same way that turning off lights does.
4- We use plastic water cups (mine's from Starbucks, husband's is one of those aluminum ones) rather than buy bottles of water. Not only does this save us money at the grocery store, but it also cuts down the garbage bags used to put all the empty bottles in. And less bottles in the garbage bag means less in landfills. My water cup has also served as a conversation piece (Tervis Tumblers are great for that).
5- Husband insisted I talk about our Brita. I'm not sure it really is eco-friendly, except maybe in that we don't let the water run until it's cold enough for drinking. Ask him about that one.
6- We buy Homestead Creamery milk. Not only is it great quality milk, but it comes in really awesome glass bottles that you return for a $2 refund. The company disinfects and reuses the returned bottles. Every week we buy Homestead milk is one less plastic jug that goes in landfills.
7- I buy my cat litter from Petco, who has refillable jugs that you get a discount on when you refill them. As in, I bought my litter for $14- when I go back to refill it, I'll pay $11. So, I'll get cheaper litter and one less plastic container will go in the trash.
While this isn't a comprehensive list of all the easy eco-friendly things to do, it does cover the major things husband and I do to save money and use up fewer resources. I'd love to keep what others do- my budget is always looking for more wiggle room!

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