Save Green for Good

Save Green for Good

Find 7 small ways to reduce your carbon footprint while also saving money.

Summer is heating up, and depending on where you live, that means cranking up the AC — and dealing with the bill that comes with it.

But if you’re feeling a little down about the rise in your energy consumption, here are a few eco-friendly tips to minimize your carbon footprint. As a bonus, they’re as good for your wallet as they are for the world!

1. Eat Less Meat and Shop for Produce Locally

Between the methane they produce (boy, do they!), the deforestation it takes to make room for livestock, and emissions created by feed production and processing, our consumption of animal products is a considerable contributor to greenhouse gases. Cattle are the biggest offenders — responsible for upward of 65% of livestock emissions. So while we’re not going to ask you to give up burgers and fries forever, maybe throw in a meatless Monday once in a while. And since meat is often the most expensive component of a meal, swapping steak for plant-based protein is easier on your wallet, too.

To take this one step further, try buying in-season produce directly from the farmer at farmers markets or through community supported agriculture (CSA) whenever possible. Eating out-of-season fruits and veggies means they have to be shipped from where they’re grown to where you buy them, and those transportation emissions add up. Plus, when you buy locally, your money stays in your community and supports your local farmers.

2. Cook More Meals at Home

Cooking at home means you’re not driving to and from a restaurant (win), you’re not wasting food (win-win), and you’re eating more healthfully and spending less money (win-win-win-win)! All of those things combined make a small but meaningful impact on the planet, your health and your budget.

Of course, cooking at home creates dishes. But did you know that using your dishwasher is more environmentally friendly than washing by hand? Hand-washing dishes uses about 2 gallons of water every minute, compared to only 4 to 6 gallons per dishwasher cycle. And if you use Cascade Platinum ActionPacs, you can skip the prewash and know your dishes will still come out sparking clean. In fact, if everyone who used a dishwasher stopped prewashing their dishes, we’d be able to save up to 150 billion gallons of water each year!

3. Press Pause on Purchases

It’s easy to get swept up buying eco-friendly products, but one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce your consumption altogether. Try a three-day cooling period for all purchases — if you think you need something, wait three days. If you still need it, go ahead and get it. Buying less reduces greenhouse gases from shipping, reduces the creation of new products and — as an added bonus — reduces the stuff you have to dust around.

4. Skip Seasonal Trends

Keeping up with the latest fashions can be fun, but a lot of those clothes will wind up in the landfill. Instead, focus on buying classic clothes that will last a long time and focus on taking care of them. Wash less often (hello, Febreze FABRIC!) and use cold water when you do — it helps colors last longer and is better for the environment. Just be sure to use a detergent like Tide Coldwater Clean, which is specially formulated for use in cold water. You can use up to 50% less energy by switching from warm to cold water.

5. Stay Cool with Curtains

That summer sunlight shining through your windows is also bringing the heat — and raising your energy bill. The air conditioner has to work hard to combat the heat that comes in through your windows, but you can help by shutting the curtains in rooms you’re not using. You’ll reduce your home’s energy consumption and see the lower rate the next time your bill comes around. This works in the winter, too, just in reverse —helping to keep the heat inside your home instead of leaching out through the glass.

6. Bike to Work

This one takes a bit of effort — literally — but it’s totally worth it. If you live close enough to your office to commute by bike, you not only reap the physical benefits of exercise, but also the fiscal and environmental benefits of leaving your car in park.

Want to cut back but not quite ready to helmet up? Try taking public transit! Riding the bus or subway a few days a week can help cut back your greenhouse gas production.

7. Make Your Next Vacation a Staycation

Jetting off to a beach may sound like pure bliss, but air travel racks up more than just frequent flyer miles. According to a recent New York Times article, just one person’s share of the emissions on a one-way flight from New York to Los Angeles shrinks the summer sea ice by 32 square feet!

Instead, consider playing tourist in your own city or one nearby. You’ll feel good about a smaller carbon footprint, and you’ll likely spend a lot less money than you would on a vacation in a far-off destination.


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