Today everything is all about going “green” and how to best live a lifestyle that is not only beneficial to ourselves but also to our great planet Earth. Saving money is very important to most of us nowadays and how better to save money than by recycling, reclaiming, and reusing everything we possibly can. My grandparents used to say “waste not, want not” because they had to learn the hard way all about conserving, spending less than their means, and saving for the future. And although the penny was worth far less than it is today, they could somehow manage to squeeze two pennies out of one! The next generation, however, could relax a bit because jobs were plentiful and money was easy to find (and spend). Now the current generation has discovered we’ve been pretty selfish, particularly when it comes to abusing this big blue marble we reside on and wasting much by simply throwing it away into landfills and even our mighty oceans! Can we possibly destroy this enormously resourceful planet on our own? Really doubtful! And it’s very presumptuous of us to even consider mere mortals could ever do that amount of damage to Earth. But we can make it better! Learning about preserving and nurturing our spot of real estate in the galaxy is what “going green” is all about, so lets try to do our part. Let’s look at some real money saving methods of simply living our lives that also can be of use in the greening of the Earth.
1. Recycle means use it up then use it some more!
Look at a landfill and see what’s there. The biggest items might be furniture such as beds, sofas, overstuffed chairs, tables, and desks. Many of those items could have been reused, repurposed, or reclaimed in some way rather than taken to the local dump and tossed.
- Chairs can be reupholstered or re built in some fashion to make it usable once again.
- Sofas can be re-stuffed, re-sprung, or reupholstered to see many more years of dependable use. Recycled materials can be turned into fabrics to reupholster old furniture and perform double duty!
- Wooden furniture such as tables and desks can be re-varnished, sanded down, and even glued or nailed back together.
- Beds can be re-stuffed, resurfaced, and sewn together to make them usable once again.
Have old car tires? Try recycling them by taking them to a recycling station. It’s amazing what all is just basically recycled by smashing, melting down, or reforming into very usable items. Old cars can be literally melted down to make more metal items such as highway signs and metal furniture. Rubber from car tires is made into highway resurfacing materials that hold up for decades!
2. Composting means recycling in its most original form
When the trash men take a load of garbage to the city dump they are doing their part to recycle because that pile of leftover food and paper can then be buried under a thick layer of dirt and be reclaimed into the soil. That’s also known as composting! You can do that same thing at home (if local laws permit). Simply set up a composting bin and reserve it for only items that can decompose such as food materials. Once buried in soil these items will soon be attacked by microscopic organisms by the millions. Minute creatures and things such as bacteria digest the food and turn it into healthy materials that make that soil heathy. Don’t worry because this is merely Mother Nature’s way of returning natural things back to the Earth. When this soil is used to grow plants and vegetables for us it will become a super fertilizer and make things grow large and glorious! All you need to do to keep a healthy compost pile going is to feed it (add food scraps) and then turn it occasionally, to keep the materials decomposing as they should.
3. Batteries Included!
One of life’s most popular inventions has to be the battery operated toy or machine. And one of the most commonly discarded items is the battery! AA’s AAA’s C’s D’s and 9 volts are the most common culprits and we all use them throughout the year. Kids especially love their battery powered cars and toys. Someone finally invented the rechargeable battery and thought that could save the planet of tons of batteries that would just sit there and corrode but never completely leave that landfill. By all means buy a charger and rechargeable battery set! They don’t cost much yet do keep going and going and going!
4. A few small changes will create big time savings
Some suggestions that are easy changes and while low in cost will save big over time include:
- Turn off (and unplug) anything you’re not currently using such as televisions, computers, monitors, printers, and radios.
- Buy a big barrel to save rainwater for your plants and lawn. Rainwater is pure and natural with no chlorine, lead, or minerals to cause harm.
- Make napkins or cleaning cloths from old clothing rather than throwing them away.
- Make your own or purchase cloth bags to bring home groceries instead of using plastic or paper.
- ü Those little CFL bulbs, the corkscrew or squiggly shaped ones, are far more energy efficient than standard bulbs and last for years instead of only a few months. Invest and save a bundle.
- ü In warm weather try stringing some line outside and air dry your laundry instead of heating up the house with the dryer. It will bring back memories of grandma hanging the wash and your bed sheets will smell oh so good!
5. Give your energy use a huge discount by testing your homes efficiency
If you dread the heat of summer months or the bitter cold of hard winters it just might have to do with the high energy bills you must pay to keep your home reasonably comfortable. There are now tests or audits available that can tell you exactly how much energy your home wastes and how to fix the issues so that you save hundreds of dollars each year. Your electric or gas company may even do the job for you at no charge… just ask them for more info about it. They will check windows, doors, chimneys, attic and wall insulation, vents and duct work, and even recessed lighting for leaks or less than efficient areas and offer suggestions that will help you save money. Invest perhaps a few hundred dollars now and save thousands over a few years time.
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