Green Lifestyle Changes – What You Can Do and Why You Should Do It

Almost all of us in this day and age are aware of the huge environmental challenges facing our planet.  Carbon emissions pollute our air, garbage is destroying our environment, and the greenhouse effect is warming our atmosphere and melting our ice caps.  In the midst of our newfound awareness about the adverse effects many of our daily habits have on the environment, many people in our communities and across the country face the same dilemma: they want to change their everyday habits to make them more sustainable, but they don’t know how.  Here are some super easy ways to make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly, and in many cases, reduce your expenses as well:

Reduce

  • By consolidating car trips and carpooling, you can save money on gas as well as reducing your carbon emissions.
  • Adjust your water heater to 120 degrees – any hotter, and you need to mix in cold water to bring down the temperature, wasting money and causing overuse of water.
  • Use full loads of dishes and laundry, so that you conserve water and save money.
  • Replace your old incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent or LED ones.
  • Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room – another easy money saver that also reduces your carbon footprint.

Reuse

  • Buy a reusable water bottle – you’ll save money on bottled water and prevent plastic water bottles from contaminating the environment.
  • Use reusable shopping bags at the grocery store (Many ask “which is better?  Paper or plastic?” The answer is neither!).
  • Save shopping bags for reuse later on.
  • Print on the back of old office paper, or print double-sided.

Recycle

  • Get a recycling bin!
  • If your town has a single-stream system (meaning recyclables can be mixed), you have it easy – if your town has a multi-stream system (recyclables must be separated), keep some other bins in your garage or another convenient place, and separate the different recyclables into them (glass in one bin, paper in another, plastic in another, etc.).
  • Think before you throw something out – “can this be recycled?”
  • If you have any questions about the recycling system in your town, information is typically easily available online.

Incorporating all of these changes into your lifestyle at once can be challenging, so it might be a good idea to gradually shift your habits.  But if you do, you will be guaranteed to find that going green is a great financial decision as well – who could have thought that saving $150 a year could be as easy as putting a full load in the dishwasher?  You will feel as good about the money you are saving as the pollution you are preventing!

For more information on the amount you can save, and the carbon emissions you are cutting, please visit http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/.

For more ideas about green lifestyle changes you can make, vist http://www.greenlifestylechanges.com/.

(Keenan Ashbrook)

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