In the movie, Wall Street, ruthless stockbroker Gordon Gekko preached the mantra “greed is good,” but today it’s “green is good,” as his yuppie lifestyle gets replaced by attempts to save money while saving the planet. Here are six easy ways to go green.
1. Move to a more walkable neighborhood
With gas prices topping $4 a gallon, living in a place where you can walk, bike, or take public transit can save you as much as $5,000 a year on gas (according to research by the Congress for New Urbanism) while at the same time reducing greenhouse emissions, slowing suburban sprawl, and kick-starting the local economy. To see how your neighborhood rates, visit WalkScore which recently ranked the 40 largest cities in the country on how close residents were to markets, cafes, restaurants, and shops.
2. Work from home
If you’re able to work at home you can help cut down on traffic congestion and the resulting pollutants released into the air. Since even public transportation costs money, even telecommuting one day a week can save you as much as $1500 a year and allow you to spend more quality time with your family.
3. Shop responsibly
At EcoPerks, each time you purchase a product from one of its 500 participating retailers, you earn points for yourself and your chosen environmental cause. Every dollar you spend is converted into a matching donation. You can also calculate your carbon footprint and purchase eco-friendly products and services from the site.
4. Think global, eat local
Buying your groceries at the local Farmer’s Market, instead of a national supermarket chain, keeps money in the local economy and in your pocket. By cutting out the middleman and buying directly from the farmers that grow your food, you’ll save money and be able to choose from a wider variety of incredibly fresh produce. Remember to bring your own reusable shopping bag (preferably one made of canvas, not paper or plastic).
5. Ban bottled water
Want great tasting, high quality water? Just turn on the tap. Most cities in the developed world have perfectly good water and if you are really worried you can always use a water filter to purify tap water. In fact, according to a four-year study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one-third of bottled water tested contained levels of contamination. NRDC found that city tap water is subjected to much more rigorous testing and purity standards. Bottled water is one of the biggest scams going and not only are you paying for those plastic bottles, they are extremely harmful to the environment.
6. Recharge your batteries
A staggering half a billion batteries are purchased in the US each year and when they are done powering your personal electronics they go straight into landfills, releasing toxic chemicals into the environment. Switching from disposable to sustainable batteries, which cost a bit more upfront but can be used as much as 3,000 times, provides an incredible cost savings in the long run and can have up to 30 times less impact on the environment according to a study done earlier this year.