The desire to help the environment lays dormant in so many people nowadays. “It’ll take too much time.” “It’s too hard.” “I don’t have the money.” “I don’t know where to start.” The reality: we’re all on a budget! We’ve all got challenges and none of us has a special or legitimate excuse to ignore these simple practices. There is simply no reason to allow your green ambitions to disappear just because money is a little hard to come by. With some ingenuity and dedication, anyone can go green without breaking the bank.
Want to better the world without spending a dime? Recycle, recommends Zach Miners for U.S. News and World Report. Equip your home with a recycling station, giving you a convenient place to put your emptied water bottles, soda cans and discarded papers. Regularly take these recyclables to an local recycling station to do your part for the environment. Invite the whole family to get involved and excited about doing something so meaningful with such minimal effort.
If you want to make your impact even more positive and far-reaching, champion the set-up of recycling stations in the around the neighborhood, workplace, or local schools. Sometimes people just need a little push to get the ball rolling.
Limit Energy Consumption
Don’t be an energy hog. The impact of simply paying attention to how much energy you are using can be substantial. If you leave a room, turn out the light. If the weather is nice enough, flip off the AC and open the windows, allowing the natural air to waft into the room and cool your space naturally. Limiting your energy use has a dual bonus if you live in an apartment and you have to foot the utility bills as the less energy you use, the less you will have to pay for. Save a little energy, save a little money and pocket the cash that would have otherwise gone out the door.
Those plastic bags they give you at stores, which allow you to easily tote your goods home, aren’t doing anything good for the environment. Instead of happily taking these nature-damaging bags, purchase a few re-usable bags and employ them instead. Reusable bags reduce the negative impact on the environment and are often sturdier than their plastic counterparts. Some stores, like Whole Foods, actually offers customers additional discount for each reusable bag they bring.
Limit Paper Use
Do you print out each and every draft, schedule and note? Are you a sticky note fiend? If so, cut it out! You are wasting a ton of paper. Reducing your paper consumption is even more advantageous than recycling it. Do as much of your editing and planning as you can on your computer screen. Instead of printing out your schedule, save a digital version on your smartphone or tablet so you can reference it with ease without printing it out. You may even find greater organizational success in the countless smartphone apps out there.
Green Your Vehicle
While that old gas-guzzling hand-me-down may get you from point A to point B, it isn’t making a positive impact on the environment. If you can find some extra cash in your tight budget, invest in a new, eco-friendly car. Though buying or leasing a new, greener car will set you back a bit financially, the amount you will save by switching from a gas hog to a green vehicle may help lessen the cost and make a new car a more affordable option.
Being a busy and cash-strapped is no reason not to do right by the planet. Instead of continuing to consume energy and resources, get creative in your green living and remain eco-friendly without exhausting your limited financial resources.