Green Living: 8 Easy Ways to Save Money and the Planet

I think it’s fair to say that most of us understand the importance of making ‘green’ choices in our daily lives. We love our planet earth and understand how delicate she is! But did you know that often times the green living choice is also the same choice that can save your household some serious moolah? Join me today as I share 8 small ways to go green and save big!

When it comes to going green and saving money, the secret is in ditching single-use items.  Single use items are wasteful, harmful to the planet, and expensive over time! 

Green Living: Ditch the paper towel:

Many people don’t see an issue with paper towels because they are biodegradable. While this is certainly true, it doesn’t address the energy, water, and chemicals required to manufacture and ship paper towels.  That’s not to mention, of course, how terribly expensive paper towels can be over time. 

Luckily for you there are plenty of fabulous alternatives to paper towels! ‘Unpaper’ towels are making a huge splash on Etsy these days! These fabric towelettes come in all sorts of adorable patterns and are fully machine washable and reusable!

If the Etsy route is a bit too expensive for you, consider visiting your local thrift or dollar stores! Many of them will have baskets of mismatched hand towels and dish cloths that will completely do the job.

Personally, I stocked up on T-shirt Wipes when my oldest was born - and they now all live in a basket by my kitchen sink ready to wipe faces, catch spills, and clean counter tops at a moments notice. Green living bonus: Did you know that Lil Helper T-shirt wipes are actually made of repurposed scrap fabrics made in Toronto? This material would otherwise end up in the landfill. That’s why you never know what color/style you’re going to get - it’s the greenest, most economical wipe we carry!

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags

This one isn’t new. We have been hearing about the dangers of plastic bags for a long time now. However, it’s a message that is worth repeating. Bringing your own reusable bags is one of the simpliest ways to go green! Do you have a hard time remembering to bring your reusable bags? Me too! Consider these tips:

  • Hang your reusable bags right next to your car keys and/or purse.
  • Put a post-it note on your front door at eye level that says, “Bags?”.
  • Keep a few in your vehicle at all times.
  • Invest in a decorative basket or bag that is truly beautiful. You will be much more inclined to remember something that you are proud of and want to show off.
  • Use a super small, ultra compact reusable bag system that you can easily just keep in your purse at all times.

Plastic bags are almost entirely gone from Canadian stores but it doesn’t serve our green living goal to keep purchasing new reusable bags. The greenest option is the one you already own, so always try to remember them!

Go Green & Switch to reusables:

Whether it be swapping out Ziplocs for Bite Bags in your packed lunch, embracing cloth diapers, or reusable menstrual pads, there are a million awesome and innovative reusable products out there that support an ecofriendly and budget friendly lifestyle.

While these options may seem expensive due to the upfront cost, over time they end up saving you money. The key (especially when it comes to investing in reusables) is to think long term.

Borrow or buy used:

Saving an item from ending up in a landfill and giving it a second go-around is one of the greenest things that any of us can do! Even if the item we are using is not considered ‘single use’. 

This is especially true for plastic children’s toys, that are generally only enjoyed by a child for a few months. Thanks to Facebook ‘Marketplace’ it has never been easier to find and purchase gently used children’s items (or any item!) at huge savings! Who’da thunk that we would be using Facebook as one of our ways to go green?

Say Hello to Green Living and Goodbye to Plastic Water Bottles:

Did you know that over 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day? Every DAY! 

This one really bugs us at Lil Helper, so we committed to creating some of our products out of recycled water bottles! It’s a mystery why we don’t shout this from the rooftops more, but it’s true! Combo bags are made from recycled plastic!

But we can’t catch every bottle and recycle it. And this is waste on an unimaginable scale. That’s not to mention the vast amounts of fossil fuel required to manufacture and ship water around the world and into your local grocery store. The fact of the matter is that most places in North America have perfectly fine drinking water available directly from the tap. Consider buying yourself a gorgeous reusable water bottle, and drinking from that.  If, however, you live in an area where the tap water is not potable, or perhaps just isn’t quite palatable for you, consider a refillable purified water delivery set up. Or, a good in-home filtration system.

Line dry when possible:

Running a dryer is costly, generally pretty inefficient, and not the most gentle on clothing. Consider line (or rack) drying your clothing in the warmer months of the year.  Nothing beats the smell of sun-dried sheets!

Eat just a bit less meat:

Look. I’m not here to tell you what you can and cannot eat, but the fact of the matter is that large scale farming-for-meat has terrible environmental effects. Oh, and did I mention that beef is a whole lot more expensive than beans? I am an omnivore myself and definitely enjoy my fair share of BBQ. However, I will be the first to admit that I could stand to eat just a bit less meat and a bit (ok, a lot!) more vegetables. Choose one dinner a week & go meatless. It’s one of the tastiest ways to go green! Challenge yourself to find yummy, nutrient dense recipes online to experiment with. You might be surprised at how easy, tasty, and money saving it is!

Turn down the heat or A/C:

It’s perfectly human to want to live your life in a comfortable climate. But did you know that air-conditioners account for about 6% of the USA’s total residential energy use, releasing 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year? Still, it’s unrealistic (and potentially down right dangerous!) to expect folks who live in hot climates to give up their air-conditioners entirely. However, ask yourself if perhaps you could turn them down by a degree or two? Even just a small adjustment like this can make a HUGE impact on your emissions and energy bill at the end of the year!

For those of us in cooler climates where perhaps we aren’t using air conditioners as much, consider doing the same with your furnace in the winter. Set it just one or two degrees lower, and see those savings add up!

There are countless ways that we all can make small adjustments in our daily lives to go green and save big. We would love to hear your best money-saving, earth loving suggestions! Leave us a comment below.