You don’t have to make major life changes to help the environment. If you want to find ways that you can help save the environment a little every day, try adding these four things to your life.
Carry a Reusable Bottle
Image via Flickr by kyle.leboeuf
Americans throw away about 35 billion plastic bottles each year. Even people who are committed to recycling plastic bottles usually end up putting some in the trash. Sometimes it’s just impossible to find a recycling receptacle. Plastic bottles not only take up space in landfills but also find their ways into waterways, where they can damage ecosystems. By carrying a reusable bottle, you eliminate the possibility that you will have to throw disposable bottles away.
Carrying your own bottle will also help you save money. If you buy one bottle of water per day, you’ll save over $300 within the first year of carrying a reusable option.
Ride a Bike More
Your daily commute adds a lot of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Even if you have a small car, a 10-mile round-trip commute five times per week will create nearly one ton of carbon dioxide. The bigger your vehicle is, the more emissions you can expect. Riding a bike, even just a few times a week, can significantly reduce your commute’s environmental impact.
You don’t have to restrict your cycling to your work commute, though. Choose to ride a bike when you need to travel to places within a couple of miles of your home. Cars are the best way to travel long distances, but they aren’t especially effective for short distances. Depending on where you live, you may find that your bike is actually a more convenient option, since you don’t have to fight traffic or look for a parking spot.
If biking isn’t a great option for your area, consider telecommuting to work a couple of times per week. Many employers find that they can save money by letting some staff members work from home. That may help explain why the number of telecommuters increased by 79 percent between 2005 and 2012.
Replace Your HVAC Filter
Replacing your HVAC filter when it is dirty will help your system operate more efficiently. When the filter gets dirty, your HVAC system’s blower has to struggle to keep your house warm or cool. By replacing the filter about once a month, you can reduce the amount of energy that your system uses.
It also helps to have annual maintenance performed on your HVAC system. Over time, HVAC components can start to degrade. That makes them less efficient, which forces the entire system to use more energy than necessary. Regular maintenance could potentially lower your utility bills enough that it pays for itself.
Small changes can add up quickly. By adopting these and other lifestyle changes, you can help lower the amount of energy that you use. As you use less natural gas, gasoline, and electricity, your overall carbon footprint will fall. You could even find that helping the environment saves you money.