As you may have noticed, Rob cares deeply about the environment. If you’re wondering how you can help out in this respect, here are 10 simple things you can do. As a bonus, you might just save yourself some money in the process.
No matter where you stand on the many environmental issues we are all faced with daily, chances are that you’re in favour of saving a little money. Here are 10 ways in which you can help out both the planet and your pocket.
- Leave the car at home occasionally. In many cases it’s cheaper to take public transport to work, cycle or even walk (if that last one seems odd, move to Hobart – it’s very much a normal thing). If possible, work from home one day per week.
In addition to the environmental benefits, you’ll most likely find you save money, increase your fitness and reduce stress. There’s absolutely no downside.
- Switch off lights and appliances when you’re not using them. How’d you like to reduce your power bills? Personally, I’d like to get rid of mine altogether. To avoid paying for lights and appliances when you’re not using them, switch them off.
NB : Putting things into ‘standby mode‘ still uses power. If you’ve got your television, DVD player, cable box etc all set up just the way you like them; just plug them all into the one power strip and plug that into the wall. That way it’s a simple matter to switch everything off/on at once.
- Take your own shopping bag. Many shops these days will provide a heavy-duty reusable shopping bag, designed to bring with you each time you go shopping. In addition to helping out the environment by reducing the number of shopping bags produced, these are generally much stronger, larger and harder-wearing than their disposable counterparts.
- Grow your own herbs and vegetables. This is one of my favourite ways to help the environment, my diet and my pocket – all at the same time. A herb and vegetable garden requires a surprisingly small space (my own is roughly 2′ x 3′) and is incredibly easy to set up.
If you’re not exactly known as a ‘green thumb’, start with tomatoes, peas, beans or parsley. They’ll grow no matter what you do to them (although water and sunlight are always welcomed).
- Set up a worm farm. This one seems to get mixed reactions. As I’ve always associated worms with good soil and plants growing well, I love the things.
Why would you want to raise worms? Simple – they eat your kitchen scraps, and break them down into a nutritious material which is perfect for the herb garden mentioned above. This means you’ll be filling up the garbage bin less often (which ultimately means you’ll be saving money – after all, you’re the one paying for rubbish collection), have even more herbs and vegetables to feast on and you won’t have a bin filled with scraps for several days whilst waiting for your next collection. Perfect.
NB : Worm farms don’t smell, and there are models available for both indoor and outdoor use.
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Growing up in Sydney (which is currently in drought) I’ve been exposed to a number of water-saving measures. As a bonus, the water bills are kept nice and low.
This one simply means that instead of leaving the tap running throughout the tooth-brushing procedure, just switch it on at the end for a few seconds to wash everything down the drain. On average you’ll save around 9 litres of water per minute – enough each day to wash your car.
- Take four minute showers. Paired with the above item, this will often have a dramatic impact on your water bills. Four minutes is generally long enough to wash thoroughly, without slipping into ‘daydream mode‘.
NB : The four minutes is only a guideline, and it applies to the time in which the water is running. If you’re shaving in the shower, just think of it in the same way as the tooth-brushing above. Run the water at the start and end of the process.
- Buy energy efficient appliances. When it comes time to replace the fridge, dishwasher or washing machine – in fact almost any electrical appliance – buy the most energy and water efficient one you can afford. Although this will often cost a little more at the beginning, it’ll save you money on running costs. Think lower bills for many, many years.
- If you already have a bag, there’s no need to get another one. When you’re out shopping at a number of stores, it’s easy to get a new bag for every single item you buy. Very quickly you run out of fingers.
For a number of items, however – especially the smaller ones – it’s easy enough to pop them into one of your existing bags. Not only does this make it easier to carry things, it saves producing the bags in the first place – and saves you money. After all, the cost of the bags gets included in the things you buy.
- Switch to a Green electricity plan. I’ll say up-front that the cost of this one varies from place to place; so shop around. In some cases it will represent a cost saving; in others there may actually be a slight increase in your power bills. Look carefully.
A Green electricity plan simply ensures that you’re buying electricity produced by renewable means – solar power, wind farms, hydroelectric schemes and so on. The electricity itself is exactly the same.
How do I do this? Call up your power supplier and ask them what green plans they have available. In most cases they will simply send you out a form to confirm the transfer; and the switch itself takes place silently in the background. Very straightforward.
Final thought On Helping The Environment
Of course there are many other ways in which you can help the environment, as well as saving yourself a little money. It definitely can be a win-win situation.