Being green isn’t easy, but the effort to keep our environment safe is a moral imperative. Environmental consciousness isn’t just the right thing to do, it also saves money. Something I learned when I checked out the Bad Habit Calculator tool from Lending Tree.
The bad habits of one individual seem tiny in comparison to the larger world and it is easy to keep making poor decisions. However, when I realized these habits were costing me money, I decided to get green and keep more green in my pocket.
Here are 10 tips that will save cash and the environment at the same time.
Stop Smoking — save money and stop litter
Apart from the obvious health issues, according to this New York Times article from 2009, about 30% of all litter nationwide is cigarette butts, something that adds up to around 4.5 trillion butts per year around the world. Disgusting.
If that unpleasant amount of detritus isn’t enough to make someone quit, how about that just 2 packs per week will cost you an estimated $600 per year? If you and your partner smoke that’s $1200 in dirty money. Consider a solid smoking cessation program.
2. No More Water Bottles
The 22 billion dollar a year bottled water industry is dumping approximately 1.5 million tons of plastic into the environment which does not properly degrade. With only a fraction of this being recycled, it wreaks havoc on the environment. In addition, people pay an average of 1000x for bottled water than what they would for regular tap water. What that meant for me was getting a reusable bottle — it saves me $550 a year. Easy to feel good about that.
3. Stop Buying Coffee at the Cafe
There are environmental effects of coffee consumption, but even if you’re not ready to give up your daily joe, buying coffee from vendors is definitely significantly worse for the planet. Why? This NY Magazine article suggests that just the paper cup is choking the environment. Sadly, even so-called environmentally-friendly coffee is bad. Not to mention that NOT buying coffee out can save you around $1000 a year. Solution? Get a nice mug.
4. No More Fast Food
Again, apart from not being good for you in general, fast food waste is a pervasive environmental issue. In particular, factory farming, something fast food companies generally utilize for their livestock, is a serious problem. But what can it hurt to eat it just once a week when the groceries run out? For a family of four — about $1200 a year. Better meal planning will prevent the need to get something from McDs – the government will even help you plan.
5.Your Beer Could be Heating Homes
According to dramming.com the energy it takes to make alcoholic drinks is enough to heat around 2,286,000 households per year. Brewing and malting alone take a great deal of energy. In addition, buying drinks out is an enormous drain on finances. If a beer costs $5 at your local bar, just 2 per week for a couple (4 beers total) is over $1000 annually. If you must drink, do it at home and maybe brew your own… Will that save you money? Maybe.
6. Cut Out Soda
Even if you recycle your soda cans, mining the aluminum that it takes to make them is environmentally damaging and glass bottles actually create twice the carbon footprint that cans do. If that wasn’t enough incentive to cut down on your daily trip to the vending machine, one $1.50 soda each day racks up close to a $550 annual tab. Instead — get that reusable water bottle I mentioned.
7. Buy Less Clothing
According to Ecowatch, the fashion industry is the second “dirtiest” industry in the world, just under Big Oil. Why? Partially it’s the impact of textile mills, but overwhelmingly it is the huge amount of water that is involved. The process of making one cotton t-shirt uses over 700 gallons of water! Buying clothes is also an expensive habit — just $50 worth of clothing a month (and that’s maybe a pair of jeans, a shirt, and some underpants) comes out to $600 a year. What to do? Check ebay before heading to the mall.
According to Lending Tree’s Calculator these tips taken together will save me more than 5k a year. That’s something I can use to take a trip into nature instead of polluting it.