Kermit the Frog may have been mistaken when he said, "It's not easy being green."
Just like getting into the habit of sorting your recycling or turning off the lights when you leave a room, there are small eco-friendly adjustments you can make to your daily routine that will help you go green.
If you're shying away from going green because you're afraid it will be expensive, we're here to tell you that there are plenty of ways to be eco-friendly and save money at the same time.
1. Eat at home more often. It can definitely be tempting to just pick up some takeout after a long day at work instead of whipping up your own meal in the kitchen. But if you cut down on the number of times you eat out each week, you can save yourself money on both gas and food (not to mention you'll likely be eating healthier). Takeout often comes with a lot of wasteful packaging, so by ordering less Chinese and pizza, you will help create a cleaner Earth, and you'll reduce your carbon footprint by driving less.
Eating at home also doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create quick and easy meals that will leave you satisfied. Pinterest is one great place to find recipes, and there are thousands of cooking blogs you can search online for ideas.
2. Use cloth napkins. Make your dinner table a bit fancier by using cloth napkins instead of the paper alternatives. This may seem like it will cost you more money upfront, but in the long run, you save and produce less waste. Cloth is durable and reusable, so when the napkins get dirty, just toss them in the wash.
3. Switch to a reusable water bottle. San Francisco has already banned the sale of plastic water bottles, and many cities might follow their lead. According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, consumption of bottled water more than doubled from about 13 gallons per person in 1997 to 29 gallons per person in 2007. The majority of those bottles end up in landfills.
Break the habit of buying cases of water from the supermarket each week, and instead use that money to purchase a reusable water bottle. You only have to buy the bottle once, and you can wash it and fill it indefinitely. In addition to cutting down the number of plastic bottles in landfills, you could save more than $300 per year if you're buying a case each week.
4. Swap out light bulbs. Saving the environment and some money is as simple as switching out your apartment's light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use approximately 30 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional light bulbs. While fluorescent bulbs cost slightly more upfront, you'll make up the cost in the energy you save and the use you get out of them.
5. Hang toilet paper over the roll. The great over-versus-under toilet paper debate has finally come to a close -- and the answer is over the roll. It helps you use less toilet paper than placing the roll the other way. Because you can see more sheets, you pull less paper.
6. Use less water. Americans waste a lot of water. There are many ways to cut your water consumption, decrease the cost of your water bill and help the environment in the process. Here are some easy ways to use less water:
- Don't leave the water running when you brush your teeth.
- Shorten the length of your shower -- even a few minutes will help.
- Install a low-flow showerhead or an aerator. You can easily take it with you if you move.
- If you need to thaw frozen meat, chicken or fish, place it in a bowl of water rather than keep the sink on and let water run over it.
Niccole Schreck is the rental experience expert for rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable apartment and provides tips on how to move.
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