My family, especially my grandparents, came from very sparse and austere beginnings where little was thrown away or wasted without first asking if it could serve another purpose. Little did they know that they were some of the earliest environmentalists. Nowadays, it’s more than a matter of pinching pennies–but being “green” can be profitable, nevertheless.
Have a ‘Can Do’ Attitude
I remember the old garbage can that my grandfather used to save his aluminum cans in, some picked up on evening walks along a rural road, some that he had sipped dry himself. With the price of metals rising, due mainly to the industrialization of emerging nations like India and China, recycled aluminum cans can fetch .60 a pound, pull tabs even more. Just in case you’re wondering, approximately 24 12 oz cans make a pound.
Waste Not, Want Not
Food scraps never went into the garbage. They went into the garden. Leftovers will break down and return to the earth, enriching the soil around it. This is especially true of nutrient laden eggshells, coffee grounds and fruit peelings from oranges and bananas. Whether you have a full-flung garden or just a potted plant or two you can save on fertilizer and plant food by composting your scraps into the soil.
Get Your Martha Stewart On
Cool Whip containers for food storage. Pickle jars as piggy banks. Cheese boxes to hold my baseball cards. These are all thrifty things me and my family used to do, not knowing that we were also being kind to Mother Earth. You can save money and land-fill space by turning things like these into items of everyday usefulness instead of buying them at your local big chain retailer. For additional flair, get creative in decorating your pickle jar piggy bank. A simple Internet search will turn up hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas.
Let There Be Light
My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and electricity was somewhat of a luxury to them in those days. Some evenings I would visit them and they would have the lights turned off, reading a book (usually the Bible or Progressive Farmer) by candlelight or oil lamp. Although I prefer not to do this, I do prefer using compact florescent light bulbs over the traditional incandescent bulbs (CFL’s). They may cost more but they are proven to save electricity and money over time. The long life and reduced hassle of changing bulbs is just an added benefit.
Come to the Well
There was a time when people would have thought you crazy to buy bottled water when you could drink it for free out of the tap. My grandparents would have for sure and those days and that old-fashioned train of thought may be coming back. There is a push in this country to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles in landfills buy drinking filtered tap water. Grant it, this movement is being spurred largely by the companies selling the filters, but it does make complete financial and environmental sense given the millions of bottles Americans go through annually. Faucet mounted or pitcher style filtration systems are largely a one-time cost that will save boo-koo bucks over just a short period of time.
What are some other common sense money-saving and earth friendly habits that you can practice? They may be only as far away as some good memories.