Photo Credit: On File


It seems these days that the word “green” is everywhere. I don’t just mean the color, it is a lifestyle that respects the environment by purchasing and using products that won’t hurt our environment. So what’s the big deal? A few things actually. First of all being green doesn’t just save the environment, but the green in your wallet as well. Second, it’s a great way to stay healthy.



So how can you be green? Here are 10 helpful tips to save the environment, and your cash too!

Change a light bulb
Installing a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) is the quickest, easiest way to save energy — and money. Unlike incandescents, CFLs convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat. They consume less electricity and last a lot longer!

Unplug things that glow
Anything that has an LED (light emitting diode) that glows even after you turn it off continues to draw power (that you pay for). Your TV, cell phone charger, and printer are likely culprits. Unplug the offenders from wall sockets and plug them into power strips instead. When you leave a room, flip the strip switch to cut the flow of electricity.

Support Local Farmers (and businesses)
If your food could talk, it would tell quite a tale. Typical grocery store produce travels nearly 1,500 kilometres before it ends up on your plate. All this traveling burns fossil fuels and results in carbon emissions — a fancy term for pollution. Buying from local farmers means you’re not only getting the freshest food possible, you’re saving energy.

Drive Smarter
Simple changes in our existing driving habits can improve fuel efficiency by up to 25 percent. Drive at or near the speed limit, keep your tires inflated, make sure oil and air filters are clean, and step on the gas and the brakes carefully. Driving like a drag racer may be fun, but it has a substantial environmental cost.

Avoid the Daily Waste of Fast Food and Shopping
Next week, keep track of how much trash you generate by eating out and making trips to the store, I guarantee you’ll be amazed. All those bags, cups and containers really add up and are stuffing our landfills to capacity. Bring your own plastic or metal boxes to your favorite take-out joint. You’ll save resources and save them money. Use reusable shopping bags whenever you go to the store. Say “no thanks” when the pharmacist or the fast-food clerk tries to put your one or two items in a bag. Use reusable cups for coffee, soda and other beverages. And reuse some of the extras at home — keep extra napkins and reuse plastic cups and cutlery.

Use reusable cups
Bring reusable coffee mugs, and reusable water bottles to work and wherever you go. You are saving a tree from becoming a paper cup that is essentially non recyclable. Many coffee shops now offer you a 10 cent discount for bringing in your own reusable mug. Reusable cups keep your drinks, like coffee hotter, and cold drinks, like water, colder. They can be a little expensive to buy outright, but they save the environment, and your money.

Use microfibre cloths at home
By using microfibe cloths, you will save a tree by not buying paper towels, and save the green in your wallet by not spending money on something that goes into the garbage anyway. You save the environment because you save a tree, and you save that paper towel from going into the landfill where it can take up to 500 years to biodegrade. Microfibre is easy to use, and easy to wash and quite simply easier on the environment.

Use green cleaning products
Invest in cleaning products that are green, biodegradable, and uses less harmful plastic containers. The less plastic in the containers, the better they are for the environment. One of the most environmentally friendly cleaning products to use in your home is vinegar. It’s non toxic, is not harmful to you, your little ones or to the environment. The smell is not pleasant, mind you, but it’s safer to know that if you accidentally ingest it you aren’t going to die as it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. It is a multipurpose cleaner that can be used on any surface without causing harm.

Load Up the Washing Machines
Make sure you run the dishwasher and the clothes washers only when they’re full. Clothes washers are huge energy and water users, so make sure you’re doing full loads (or adjusting the water setting) whenever possible. And most of us use far more water (and soap) than we need to when hand-washing dishes, especially when compared with high-efficiency Energy Star dishwashers. So save your time, water and power by putting those dishes directly in the dishwasher after a meal.

Use green transport
The gruesome habit of work. It plagues us all. So how about saving some of that hard earned green while being green at the same time? Learn to commute by taking public transit, like a bus or train. Carpool with another co-worker to work each day. Ride your bike, or walk if work isn’t too far away for you. All of these options are environmentally friendly as public transportation carries many people at once, rather than a car which usually carries one person at a time. Public transportation saves you money & petrol plus by carpooling you are essentially using one less vehicle to clutter the streets and highways. Meanwhile, biking and walking are by far the most environmentally friendly things on the planet which use no gas, and therefore produce no pollution.



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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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