A happy Earth Day to everyone!
Now, while it’s true that I’m not keeping this blog to keep myself honest about doing what’s right by the planet, but one great side effect of being good to my wallet is that a lot of the time, it’s also good to the environment. Here are some examples:
Using bar soap at the sink and in the shower
An ounce of bar and liquid soap cost roughly the same, but that ounce of bar soap lasts much longer because it’s more concentrated and because of the human nature of using less when it has to be rubbed off a bar
Bar soap has got liquid soap beat at pretty much every step of their life cycles. Because bar soap is more concentrated, it takes less fuel to get it from the factory to the retailer and into my home. In fact, the number one ingredient in most liquid soaps is water, so I would actually be paying someone to ship water to me to use in my shower. Let that soak in. As already mentioned, bar soap has to be replaced less often. And when that liquid soap runs out, the hard plastic bottle it’s shipped in is likely to end up in a landfill, not decomposing ever. On the other hand, the inherent ruggedness of bar soap means it can be shipped in paper, which quickly returns to the earth from which it came. (Source: The Daily Green)
Carrying a canteen around
Bottled water is expensive and tap water in the U.S. is safe and costs almost nothing. To take advantage of the latter, I’ve had a canteen always at my side ever since my Army days, though now I use this collapsible water bottle — the Platypus SoftBottle — which can roll up and fit into a pants pocket when empty or fit into a messenger bag when full.
Same as the last one — refilling a canteen means I’m not paying to ship water, which means there are less hard plastic bottles sitting in a landfill forever.
Being energy conscious
Energy costs money so using less of it saves money. In our apartment, my roommates and I turn off lights not in use, unplug unused vampire chargers, wear season-appropriate clothes inside (i.e. sweaters stay on during the winter and we wear as little as modesty allows in the summer) to keep heating and fan costs down, replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents as they burn out, insulate windows and put good shades up, among other things.
Energy has to come from somewhere, whether it’s from burning up coal or making difficult-to-cool nuclear reactions, so the less of it we use, the better off the earth is. True, some of this makes living a little less comfortable, but it’s a lot easier to convince a roommate to pay attention to energy use when it’s for the environment (“If you use the air conditioner, it means you hate baby seals!”) than when it’s to pinch pennies on the electricity bill.
Replacing meat with lentils and soy, and replacing dairy milk with almond milk
To save money on food, I cut out meat from meals I cook at home and cut dairy out of my diet entirely. Dried lentils last forever and are the cheapest source of protein around at around two cents per gram of protein (Source: Live Strong). If tofu is sealed and almonds kept frozen, both can last for months. These long shelf-lives let me take advantage of sales to buy in bulk, making prices that are already much lower than meat and dairy even better.
One acre of land can produce a whole lot more lentils than it can beef. Lentils!
And that’s that. Any other ways you save money and help the planet at the same time?