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We should all be looking for ways to be less wasteful in society today so that we can preserve what we have for future generations to enjoy. Being ‘green’ and helping out the environment does not always need to involve a huge effort or ‘lifestyle overhaul’. (Although making such changes is to be commended!). You can instead start small with some of the examples I discuss below.
This article is designed to help provide a starting point for you to consider how making small changes in your life could have an impact on helping to reduce wastage and pollution today. All five of my suggestions have the added bonus that they will save you money, so it could be worth considering some of them further if they are relevant and suitable to incorporate into your way of life.
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1. Car Sharing
More people than ever are choosing to own a car, whether this is for business, leisure or convenience. It has become somewhat of a necessity in society today and is seen as not only a vehicle but a symbol of power and status for some. However, more cars on the roads means more pollution in the atmosphere. Therefore, whenever it is possible to walk or talk public transport one should try to do so. However, when we really do need to travel by car then there are some ways in which we can each reduce our carbon footprint.
For example, if you have children then have you ever thought of car-pooling with your neighbors who also have children at the same school? This will not only save you money on petrol, it will also give you a day off from time to time from doing the school run. On the other hand, if you know of a work colleague that lives in the same town as you or within a neighboring area then car-pooling with them each morning will save you time, money and petrol. In addition, it will afford you the opportunity to relax on your daily commute without worrying about bus or train timetables for a change.
Car sharing will also provide you will a little conversation on your journey which can get the morning off to a better start than when one is squashed up against strangers on a busy train with newspapers in your personal space. How infinitely more appealing does car-pooling sound now! If you are unsure which if any of your work colleagues live nearby then why not put out an email at work requesting if anyone would like to car-share from time to time. You never know if it could lead to improved friendships and productivity in the workplace as well as socially outside of work. If you can combine car sharing with getting public transport every now and then, then you can feel good that you are doing your part to help the environment and to reduce your own personal carbon footprint.
In addition, have you ever thought about the water wasted by everyone washing their own cars? You may think that you are saving money through doing the task yourself. However, many professional car washers are actually more efficient with their water usage than an individual could be at home. Therefore, giving yourself a day off from washing the car every once in a while and spending a few coins of loose change on a professional wash will help the environment through saving more water too.
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2. Using Rechargeable Batteries
Whether it is for children’s toys, your television remote or a computer mouse, there are countless items that still need batteries around the home. Just think how much money you could save if you chose to make the switch to rechargeable batteries today. Not only will you save more money through doing this, you will be helping to save the environment too. Although batteries can be easily recycled today for example at your local supermarket, why not personally attempt to reduce battery wastage levels altogether.
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Even though rechargeable batteries will eventually lose their strength too, making this change can really make a difference to your pocket in the long run. It is also nice to know that once your battery operated device is operating on a low level that you do not even have to spend petrol money or time going to the store but that you can recharge it with ease from the comfort of your own home.
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3. Reduce Printing Paper
It may seem obvious not to waste paper and to try and save the environment, but how many of us print things needlessly today? For example, if you can check in for a flight online using an e-ticket then this will save you money, printer ink cartridges and time on paper tickets. If you have a smart phone then when you visit the theater or cinema, why not show your ticket code on your mobile rather than through printing it off.
There are numerous ways that we can save more paper in society today and it all stems from being more consciously aware about what we are printing and why. There are so many other ways to view text on screens from iPads to reading books on a kindle, that we should be taking more advantage of these technologies today. With an ever increasing population and more pressure on our natural resources, we can each do our part to save more paper and hence more trees.
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4. Using Your Own Coffee Flask Or Mug
For the busy commuter, a hot and freshly brewed cup of coffee can really set the morning off to a good start. But have you ever thought about the thousands of paper and plastic cups and lids that are wasted every single day through this popular habit? Instead, you could actively make a difference and help the environment by purchasing your own ‘on the go’ coffee mug or flask. These are available in countless vibrant and colorful patterns and designs and you can even buy personalized ones too.
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Many coffee chains are more than happy and willing to fill your own cup instead of using their own ones too because this saves them money. It would be even better if you have a few spare minutes before you run out the door in the morning to fill your personalized coffee cup with your own homemade hot beverage. This could save you time in that queue as well as a few pennies each day. It is surprising if you add up how much one morning coffee five times a week can cost over one working year. It is best not to think about this amount but to make a great environmentally conscious change now and that extra cash could go towards something more special for you and your family.
I will also make the brief point here that the same principle can be applied to taking a packed lunch to work instead of buying sandwiches or hot food daily. Depending on the type of work you do and the time you have available, making a delicious lunch the night before can really be something tasty to look forward to. Just think of all the plastic and paper packaging that supermarket or fast food lunches come in today and how you can help to be less wasteful. In addition, if you take a meal from home then you are more likely to make a balanced and healthier choice than when you are on the go, starving and in a hurry.
This option of making your lunches the night before may not always seem practical if you are very busy or have small children. Instead, why not try freezing some curry dishes or pasta bakes which you could make at a leisurely pace one weekend. This way you could enjoy a greater variety of lunch choices in advance of the working week. Remember to date your frozen goodies and consume them within three months from initially freezing them for best results too.
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5. Turning Off Power Switches In The Home
Lastly, this simple but effective tip can really save you money. When you are not watching the television, using the kettle, toaster, microwave or even your printer, do you turn these power switches off at the wall?
If you are planning a holiday or trip away from your usual residence then you will save money by making sure that all your switches that can be turned off are done so. However, always remember that devices such as your telephone and fridge and freezer need to stay on and plugged in!
It may seem like a small step to take and one that some could perceive as being overly fussy. However, over time it is you that will reap the rewards and save money, so that cannot be a bad thing. As well as this you will be helping to reduce your power usage in the home and this will help the environment too.
In conclusion, I hope that this article has given you a starting point for some of the ways in which you can help the environment today. By starting in the home and with one small step at a time, big changes can eventually take place. Knowing that all these suggestions will also save you money will hopefully spur more people on to proactively make better environmentally friendly choices for themselves and future generations as well.