Earlier this month, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen failed miserably. Although the attendees attempt to remain positive, it cannot be denied that the key goal was not achieved. Over one week politicians fought over money and responsibilities in dozens of heated discussions. In the end, however, the nations did not sign a treaty to replace the Kyoto protocol, which runs out as soon as 2012.
This is a disaster, not only for the world climate, but for our entire environment. Nothing less than the planet earth is at stake. Frankly, why should we invest in the development of science and new technology, in the building of peace in foreign countries, or in the education of our children, if this planet has no future in the first place? Why not let all hell break loose?
Because there still is a chance and you better put up a fight. Even if politicians cannot yield more than a worthless agreement, every single one of us has the power to make a change. Besides, going green is not just about saving energy and preserving the environment. In fact, it’s also about saving money! Less energy wasted on heating, electricity, gas, or shopping means more money in your pocket.
Whatever your motivation, going green(er) is for a good cause. So give it a chance and see whether any of the tips and resources below give you some $$$ ideas, and eventually also leave you with a rewarding good feeling when you go green and save money.
Obviously, recycling is a key step in going green. You can recycle almost anything, starting with packaging over food, clothes, newspapers, up to electronics. Nowadays you can easily recycle plastic, aluminum, glass, and paper by sorting these things into respective waste bins. In some areas supermarkets take back empty batteries. Finally, many communities collect old furniture and electronics in order to recycle or re-use them.
How can you save or make money through recycling?
This is one of many sites that will take back your electronics. With MyBoneYard Recycle’s pre-paid shipping labels you can get rid of electronics clutter. These sites typically repair, recycle, or re-use items, and give you credits for it.
Azim has reviewed MyBoneYard for the MakeUseOf directory.
This page assists you in finding a recycling center near your US location. It’s a safe and environmental friendly way to dispose of anything from motor oil, metal, plastic, or batteries.
The site also features a great article on the UN Climate Conference 2009: Why Care About Copenhagen?
A temporary solution to recycling, is re-using. Not everything that is old and used must be thrown away and replaced with something new and expensive. You can refurbish many items yourself or re-use them in different ways. Look around for ideas and be creative. Here is a very small selection.
Things you no longer want or need may be very precious to someone else. So don’t simply trash them. Save yourself the hassle and find someone who will happily pick up the item from you. Likewise, you may find something you need offered for free.
This is the Japanese form of wrapping gifts. Rather than using paper that is tossed away after unwrapping, Japanese people traditionally wrap their gifts in a re-usable fabric. You can wrap anything from books to bottles or chocolate in a re-usable fabric.
Here is a green idea on how to re-use old magazines and craft a table from them. It works like a charm.
You can save energy in a thousand different ways.
- Power Strips
Organize as many electronic devices as possible on power strips that can be turned off. And then do turn them off every night before you go to bed. There are also smart powerstrips that will cut “phantom” energy use of appliances that are actually turned off. You’ll be surprised by how much energy this will save you. There are of course some devices that should be allowed to eat energy all the time, for example your phone.
Turn off that TV. Really turn it off! Do not put it into standby.
Switch it off when you leave the room, but ONLY if you are going to leave it for more than 15 minutes. Frequent switching on and off will kill the lifetime of your bulb. But intervals of 15 minutes will save you energy worth more than the lifetime it costs you.
- Energy Efficiency
If you need to buy new devices, buy only ones that use energy efficiently.
- Walk, Cycle, use public transport
If possible, do not take the car. Jump on the bus, use your bike or use your pretty feet and take the stairs. Give those escalators and lifts a well-deserved break!
Re-Nest has an article on 14 Ways to Keep Warm Without Turning the Heat On or Up.
You can shorten your showers, don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth, stop the toilet flush.
If you wash dishes by hand, soak them in a pool of hot soapy water, then scrub them off with soap, and finally rinse them under fresh, cold water. Don’t let the water run the whole time.
- Car Wash
Take a bucket full of water, some soap, a sponge, and give yourself a workout.
We can only stimulate ideas here, by no means is this article comprehensive.
In case you are not yet saturated with information, check out TreeHuggers list of articles and guides on How to Go Green.
Planet Green has an excellent article on 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again.
Got questions? It’s likely that someone already asked them and NewScientist answered them. Hence, they released an article on Dumb eco-questions you were afraid to ask. There are no dumb questions, though.
MakeUseOf has previously reported about green matters. Varun introduced Edison, a tool to save energy and go green on Windows. Saikat described How to Save Power with SetPower. If you want to find out what your ecological footprint is, what that means in the first place and how to reduce it, check out my article on Use The Internet To Save The World.
What do you do to live green and save money?