Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Help Mother Earth: Little Known Ways to Help on a Daily Basis

Do you know what the best way to eat an elephant is? One bite at a time! Of course, we don’t encourage eating a threatened species, but we like the idea of breaking down a huge task, like living a green lifestyle, into bite-sized chunks.

That’s why we’ve put together 8 bite-sized ways you can help Mother Earth daily. Many of these helpful hints come from Good Housekeeping magazine.

1. Bring a travel mug to coffee shops.
Why waste all those throwaway cups when you can bring your mug along? Many coffee places will fill it up at a discounted price.

2. Shower with low-flow showerheads.
Since 1992, new showerheads are required to have a flow rate of no greater than 2.5 gallons per minute. If you live in a family of four, you could save up to $45 monthly by replacing your old showerhead. Special low-flow showerheads are made to cut water usage further.

3. Use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand, and always run it full.
Yes, using a dishwasher is greener than washing by hand! Running a full dishwasher uses half or less of the energy and water you’d spend washing those dishes by hand. If your dishwasher is in good shape, you shouldn’t need to rinse dishes before loading. Modern dishwashers can handle the mess.

4. Use a Bobble bottle instead of buying bottled water.
Buying bottled water uses a lot of plastic. About 38 billion water bottles arrive in landfills yearly. A Bobble water bottle, on the other hand, can be refilled at least 300 times! After that, you don’t even need to change the bottle itself, only the filter. You can get your own Bobble for under $10, much cheaper than buying bottled water.

5. Choose paperless credit card statements.
Many credit card companies allow customers to view statements online instead of getting hard copies in the mail. It’s secure, simple, and saves trees. Some companies even offer rewards, like lower fees or special investment minimums.

6. Turn down the brightness on your screen.
Did you know TV and entertainment devices are responsible for around 10% of the typical household’s yearly electric bill? When you keep your monitor settings bright, like on “vivid” or “retail” mode, these gadgets use up more power. Turning down the brightness can cut your TV’s energy consumption by 30%. It could be more relaxing for your eyes as well.

7. Collect rainwater.
If rainy weather is coming, put buckets under your gutters, or wide bins in your yard. This free rainwater can be used for watering plants or washing your car.

8. Turn on the ceiling fan and turn down the AC.
Did you know cooling and heating make up 40% of residential energy use? Ceiling fans use less power than AC units, which not only helps you live a green lifestyle, but can also save you money on your electric bill. Consider buying an Energy Star-rated fan.

Cami Hughes helps families find the best credit cards with rewards at CreditDonkey.  Read her team's recent article on how to shop for healthy grocery.  While these lifestyle changes are small, but if everyone adopted them, the Earth would really benefit. So, try a few of them out today. You’ll be setting a good example for your friends, neighbors, and kids. Just imagine how fast we could all eat that elephant if everyone took 8 bites each day!