LIVING

21 Dirt Cheap Ways to Go Green

Going green isn’t as difficult as a lot of people think. It is actually very easy and can save you a lot of money. Just a few small adjustments (and new habits) in our everyday lives will make a huge difference to the environment, your life…and your wallet.

Here are 21 Dirt Cheap Ways to Go Green

#1: Turn Your Computer Off
Even if your computer is in SLEEP mode, it is still sucking up energy. Get into the habit of turning off your computer when you are finished with it – at home and at work.

#2: Stock Up Your Freezer
Freezers run more efficiently full than empty. Why? A fully stocked freezer has less air space to cool and exchange when the freezer door opens. When the freezer door closes, it will need less energy to cool the new warm air trapped inside the freezer.

#3: Use Print Paper Economically
Paper has two sides. Print and copy on both sides when possible. If only one side of printer paper is printed and no longer useful, flip it over and use as scrap paper. I love to collect printed paper around the office, clip them together in a thick stack and have an endless stash of scrap paper to scribble on.

#4: Choose E-Tickets
Buying tickets to movies, concerts and flights is a seamless process these days. Wherever possible, choose to purchase e-tickets. You also get to save on your printer’s ink (and you know how expensive printer inks are)!

#5: Use Rechargeable Batteries
The upfront cost of rechargeable batteries may be higher than normal batteries. But, they last longer and hardly need replacing (once every 2 to 3 years). Plus, it saves shelf space because you only use what you need.

#6: Empty Your Truck
Does your car trunk look like this? A loaded trunk at the back of your car means more fuel is needed to drive the excess weight around. This translates to lower fuel efficiency for your car and more fuel dollars for your wallet.

#7: Eat Smaller Portions
Over-indulgence of food and calories not only contribute to obesity and weight-gain, it is also a considerable waste of resources. How many times have we heard our mothers say ‘Don’t waste food. Children in other parts of the world are starving.’ Eating less helps prevent over-eating, obesity and food wastage. Take a look at your weekly grocery bill, see what you can cut out (or cut down) and watch your food bill drop.

#8: Eat More Veggies
While we mentioned eating in smaller portions, what you eat also matters. Try to include more vegetables to your diet. Eating green is good for health and great for weight management and financial savings. Cows, chickens, pigs and sheeps require a lot of grass to grow and survive. Our demand for their meat puts intense industry strain on these animal resources, as well as, our gut. Try going once a week vegetarian and your digestive system will thank you for it.

#9: Donate, Sell or Giveaway
Before you start tossing out old things, consider donating it instead. Or giving it away. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. If the item is new or hardly used, try selling it. One time I found a few items in the house I don’t use anymore so I brought them to work to sell. The sales covered my lunch expenses for the week!

#10: Use Old Newspapers to Wrap Gifts & Veggies
Hang on to old newspapers. They are great for wrapping gifts (read How To Wrap Your Gifts in Newspaper?) and packing fragile items. You can save money on fancy wrapping paper (which are coated with toxic chemicals) and bubble-wrap. And reduce unnecessary waste. Newspapers are also great for wrapping vegetables. It keeps them fresher for longer. If you are wondering about the health hazard of wrapping your fresh veggies in newspaper ink, don’t worry. Ink from newspaper is from vegetable dye so it should be safe.

#11: Borrow Books
Hit the library! Children’s books and novels can be easily borrowed from the library or from friends. These are books that kids and people grow out of. A good story is meant to be shared so pass it along.

#12: Make Your Own Household Cleaning Agents
Household detergents are collectively expensive. Yet, they are full of toxic chemicals that are harmful to our health. Effective marketing has us believe that we cannot do with these spray bottles to clean and disinfect our home. But the truth is, we can make our own cleaning supplies with a handful of basic ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar and water.

#13: Plan Your Day
Get into the habit of planning out your day, especially when it comes to running errands. Schedule them together to avoid unnecessary trips back and forth. This will not only save you time and petrol money, you will contribute less pollution to the environment.

#14: Recycle Everything
Everything has a final destination. It is usually the incinerator or landfill. Create a simple system at home to sort out trash from general trash, paper, plastic and glass. This will reduce the amount of garbage we contribute to the landfills, and emit less toxic gases into the environment when incinerated.

#15: Buy Organic
PasarBella is a new Farmer’s Market in Singapore. Located at the old Turf club, PasarBella is open 7 days a week from 9:30am to 7pm. While I have not been there (yet), it has over 30,000 sq ft of market space selling fresh meats, seafood, dairy, fruits, veggies, wines and craft beers.

There are also plenty of wholesale organic farms and retail outlets in Singapore. Zenxin Organic, Murray’s Organics, Kin Yan Argotech, Supernature, Best Organic Food and Brown Rice Paradise to name a few. Buy in bulk or be a member. You can save more with applicable discounts.

#16: Share Magazines
Read and pass them on. There are lots of places with waiting areas that would appreciate your magazine hand-me-downs like your doctor’s clinic and your dentist office. So, the next time you go for a hair cut, bring and donate your stack of magazines.

#17: Switch to Paperless Billing
These days, most bills are payable online with a few clicks. You are already paying for monthly internet service – make full use of it and stop letting the banks earn on your cheque book replenishment orders.

#18: Take Shorter Showers
In humid tropical climates like Singapore, it is not uncommon to shower 2 or 3 times a day. But not every shower has to be a full-fledged affair. Maintain that a once-a-day complete shower, but take the other showers in the day as a quick body rinse instead. This will limit wasting large amounts of water and save on your monthly water bill.

#19: Unplug Your Electronics
Did you know that most electrical appliances continue to suck electricity even when they are turned off? Get into the habit of unplugging power cords to mobile phone chargers, TV, computers and kitchen appliances. Remember: If you are not using it, turn it off and unplug.

#20: Walk More, Drive Less
Clock in mileage with your walking shoes instead of your car odometer. This great little habit gets your blood pumping and circulating to better health. You will also lose weight, feel great and save petrol and parking dollars.

#21: Support Green Businesses
Shop for eco-friendly products, especially skin care. Since switching to natural and organic skin care products, my complexion has greatly improved. The slight cost difference is worth the otherwise expense to see a dermatologist.

Now, are you convinced about how easy going green can save you money? And time? And space?

When it comes to saving the planet and protecting the environment, remember:

Small Change = Big Difference.

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