9 Easy Ways To Go Green
Find simple ways to go green and save money
It can hardly be said anymore that “going green” is only a trend. For years now, people have been taking steps to ensure they’re living a more eco-friendly and energy-efficient existence, and the movement shows no sign of slowing down. Unfortunately, going green still has the misleading stereotype of being expensive or complicated. But in reality, small steps can make a big difference. Being green doesn’t have to mean buying specialty cleaning products or living in a cold, dark home.
“The term ‘going green’ is just being more aware of your actions,” says Kim Button, Founder of greenWell, a green living consulting company, and editor of the blog “Get Green, Be Well.” “You don’t have to be a different person. It’s about being aware of where waste might lie.”
Here are 9 simple ways to go green and save energy and money:
1. Open your windows during temperate weather:
“It’s free and easy and reduces your need for energy to heat and cool the house,” Button says. “It also rids your home’s indoor air of toxins, a major health concern that’s just now starting to be understood.“
2. Put outlet protectors into unused sockets:
One of the more common – and inexpensive – forms of baby-proofing can also save a great deal of heating and cooling energy, according to Shel Horowitz, author of the e-book, “Painless Green: 111 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life – With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle.” “They provide a barrier to prevent very cold winter or hot summer air infiltrating your house,” Horowitz says.
3. Substitute hydrogen peroxide for bleach:
Button says hydrogen peroxide works just as well but isn’t full of harsh chemicals. “It’s cheap, readily available, and you don’t have to worry about skin exposure with children and pets,” she says.
4. Plant your own lettuce or spinach:
If you eat a lot of salads at home, Button says it might be well worth your time to consider planting a small plot of lettuce or spinach. “These crops are ridiculously easy to grow, cost a dollar for a pack of seeds, yet will yield an enormous supply of fresh produce that you can pick right from home,” she says. “You get to know exactly what was used on your food, and you’re saving a ton of energy by reducing the need to transport bagged veggies from states like California and Florida.”
5. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth:
Many people unnecessarily leave the water running when they’re brushing their teeth. Wet the toothbrush, turn off the faucet, brush and wet again to rinse, Horowitz says. It will prevent wasted water, which will also increase the savings on your water bill.
6. Turn off the computer when it’s not in use rather than relying on sleep mode:
Button says turning off your computer if you know you’ll be away for more than two hours will save “an unbelievable amount of money.”
7. Use power strips and turn them off when the appliances are not in use:
Horowitz highly recommends plugging in multiple appliances, such as your computer, TV or stereo, into power strips and then turning off the whole strip when they’re not in use. “When the strip is off, no electricity goes through it into the appliances,” he says. “When it’s on, the appliances are often in standby mode rather than completely powered down, and that consumes more electricity than you might think.”
8. Substitute a reusable rag for a paper towel when possible:
Horowitz says that paper towels are sometimes necessary if you’re cleaning up a huge spill or a bad-smelling substance. But for minor spills, using a cleanable rag instead will save on the timber, water and energy used to create paper towels.
9. Sign up for eStatements:
Now available to First Midwest Bank clients, eStatements can replace your monthly paper statements. Faster and more efficient, eStatements won’t take up any physical file space, and you’ll have immediate access 24/7. Marti Rivas-Ramos, First Midwest Branch Manager in Munster, IN, says you are eligible for eStatements if you currently have a checking, savings or money market account and are enrolled in Banking Online, or if you have a Health Savings Account, which is a great way to keep track of your monthly medical expenses, she says. You can sign up at your local First Midwest branch, through the Customer Care Center
(1-800-322-3623) or online through your account summary page.
“First Midwest Bank has always been in the forefront of innovative banking, and eStatements are just one more example of this commitment to supply our clients with fast, efficient and professional service,” says Rivas-Ramos. “Let’s all help the environment by reducing the amount of paper we use – choose eStatements instead of your old paper statement.”