The New Year is when we all get to have a clean slate and start fresh with our goals. While most people resolve to lose weight or exercise more, another popular resolution is to reduce your carbon footprint.
Going green can be expensive when you think about the cost of new energy efficient appliances or replacing drafty windows. However, there are plenty of ways you can achieve this goal without spending a lot of money. Here are five easy ways you can cut back on waste and reduce your impact without draining your bank account.
Buy Reusable Grocery Bags
Some cities are trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste by banning plastic bags for certain items or cutting them out altogether. Still, roughly a trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide each year. The average American family uses about 1,500 bags in a year.
Reusable bags you see at the checkout line of many stores are usually only 99 cents. The bags might be cheap, but they are strong and last for a long time. If you buy at least three or four bags, you’ll have enough to cover many of your shopping trips and errands. Leave a few in your car or fold one up in your backpack or purse so you always have one on hand. As an added bonus, many retailors offer a $.05 discount for each reusable bag you bring. It doesn’t seem like much, but it does add up!
Carry Your Cup With You
Disposable drink containers such as coffee cups, water bottles and plastic cups really pile up in the landfills. Most plastic drink containers are recyclable, but that doesn’t mean people always take the time to put them in the right bin. More than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown in the trash each day in the U.S.
Instead of contributing to this, consider getting a well-made reusable bottle or coffee cup to take with you. There are countless options when it comes to reusable mugs, but it’s not always good to go with the cheapest version out there.
Keep in mind that most reusable bottles and mugs are made from stainless steel. Steel is a great quality material, but mining steel is a harmful process. By getting a good quality mug right away, you’ll reduce the likelihood of having to replace it with another container down the road. Better yet, opt for a mug or bottle made from recycled steel.
Rent A Hybrid For Your Next Road Trip
If you’re planning a great road trip across the U.S. this summer, consider renting a fuel efficient car. This is somewhat expensive, but it can be a great option if you normally drive an SUV or truck. If nothing else, you’ll save money by not having to fill up the tank nearly as often. As an added benefit, you don’t need to worry about putting hundreds or thousands of miles on your vehicle, which can extend its life a little more.
Replace Things Only As They Wear Out
We all hear that switching to energy efficient light bulbs, energy efficient appliances and switching to home décor that’s made from recycled content is good for the earth. However, if you replace all the lightbulbs in your house at once with LEDs, you’re throwing out perfectly good lightbulbs and creating more waste.
Renovating a home is a great time to consider switching to eco-friendly flooring or low-VOC paint as long as those things need to be replaced anyway. When remodeling, consider donating usable items to a local charity that builds homes or provides building supplies.
Donate Your Old Car
If you have an unwanted vehicle and you’re not sure what to do with it, consider making a donation. Donating your car costs nothing because Wheels For Wishes will pick up your car for free almost anywhere in the U.S. Car donation gives you the perfect opportunity to shop around for a more fuel efficient model. Plus, cars are auctioned to new owners who will continue to use them or they’re recycled.
Donate a car today by calling 1-877-431-9474 or filling out an online car donation form.