It Shouldn’t Cost the Earth

Posted in: Dear Mabel, ELNews | 0

Dear Mabel,
Saving the environment seems really expensive. Big ticket items like solar panels or home improvements are well out of my budget and even smaller changes aren’t easy. What can I do that literally won’t cost me any money?

A. It’s not always reasonable to ask people to spend money to make a difference for the environment. Regardless of whether the investment is large scale, such as solar panels or small scale, like reusable shopping bags, these changes may save you money in the long run, but that isn’t helpful if you can’t afford them in the first place.

The good news is that there are things you can do to help the environment that won’t cost money (and might even save you money right away). The bad news is that you’re going to have to change your behavior to achieve most of them. Here are five things you can do right now that won’t cost you any money:

1. Turn things off. Lights, electronics, faucets, computers, electronics, power bars. Remembering to turn these things off when you aren’t using them will help the environment and will save a few pennies along the way.
2. Turn things down. Thermostats, water heaters, refrigerators. Adjusting the temperature on these devices will make a difference in savings, both for the environment and your power bill.
3. Any bag (or container) can be reusable. Reusable bags aren’t just the fancy cloth ones that they sell at the store, the plastic bags from last week’s grocery run will work just as well. Pro-tip: If you use the self check-out and bag your own groceries, no one will even know.
4. Switch to cold water. Most laundry detergent brands make a cold water version for the same price as the regular detergent. Washing in cold water saves the energy from water heating and saves a bit of money as well.
5. Close the blinds. In both winter and summer, windows are a major source of heat loss or heat gain. Keep your blinds closed during the day if no one is home to help save energy.

Many of the ways to help the environment are about investing now to make a difference in the future. However, there are ways to help the environment without spending any money. And, you might even save a bit of money along the way.

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