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Tips for a Happier, More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Most of us consume far more resources than we really need. Not only is it generally wasteful, it negatively impacts the environment due to the resources required to produce an item, and then again when it ends up in a dump or landfill. That also impacts our pocket books. Consider adopting some of the following tips that will not only save you money, but lessen your environmental impact, too.

Use Canvas Bags Instead of Plastic. Many stores offer re-usable canvas bags as an alternative to wasteful plastic or paper bags. The small one-time investment will keep countless one-use throwaway bags out of the waste stream and reduces a major source of unsightly litter. Canvas totes are much stronger and can be used for many purposes. If not available, try to reuse the disposable bags more once.

Start A Compost Pile or Bin. Compost bins have become a huge trend in the last few years. Not only do they reduce waste, but they save you money and provide a natural source of nutrient rich material to help your garden. Why pay for expensive compost when you can produce it yourself with things you were throwing away already?

Purchase Energy Efficient Light Bulbs. Regular incandescent light bulbs are extremely inefficient. Not only do they cost more to operate, but they generate lots of heat that adds to your cooling costs. The money invested in CFL (compact fluorescent lights) bulbs is recouped with lower energy costs and less heat produced. The newer LED lights, though still a bit more expensive, are even more efficient and only consume a fraction of the electricity used by standard bulbs. They’re particularly useful in hard to reach locations because they rarely need replacing.

Choose Cloth Over Paper. Instead of using paper towels by the dozens, use washable cleaning rags or cut up old t-shirts that you would have thrown out anyway. They can be washed and reused many times.

Cut Down On Energy In Your Home. There are lots of ways to cut back on energy use in your home. These will save you money and reduce pollution caused by energy production. Unplug appliances that aren’t being used, wash using cold water whenever possible, and line dry clothes. In our climate, air conditioning is probably the biggest utility expense. Try increasing the thermostat a few degrees.

Reduce Water Waste. Take shorter showers and invest in a low-flow showerhead. Have leaky faucets or toilets repaired. Don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth. Consider getting a rain barrel to collect water for gardening and irrigation. Use a water filter instead of buying bottled water, which also helps eliminate the millions of used plastic water bottles that enter the waste stream every day.

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