Saving Green

By Nora Heston Tarte

Tips for saving money & the planet by creating less waste

Reduce energy use. Summer in the central valley is HOT. Use fans instead of the air conditioner whenever possible, utilize window treatments to keep your home cool, and lower the temperature on your water heater over summer. Each of these will lower monthly electricity bills while also reducing the size of your family’s carbon footprint.

Get kids involved: Kids can save energy, too. Remind kids of all ages to turn off lights when they aren’t in use, as well as other electronics that get plugged into a wall outlet.

Do less chores. Wait, what?! You heard us. Run the dishwasher less (waiting until it’s truly full helps) to lower the monthly water bill.

Get kids involved: Assign dishwashing duties to the kids. They will be thrilled the chore doesn’t have to be completed every night, but rather only when the dishwasher is full. Teach the habit by putting them in charge of deciding when it is ready to run. It might even encourage your family to use less dishes.

Buy reusable. Sure, a plastic water bottle costs about $1 (less when bought in bulk), but over time those dollar bottles add up. Stop buying plastic utensils and paper plates, too. Instead invest in inexpensive plastic options for lunchboxes and beyond. This applies to Ziplocs, too. Cute, reusable options are better for the environment and your wallet.

Get kids involved: Get each child their own reusable water bottle. It also helps to buy washable plastic utensils for lunchboxes. Make sure kids are using the reusable items when packing snacks and lunches for school, and explain why these items are better for the environment.

Ditch those plastic straws. The campaign to save the sea turtles (and other sea life) is going strong. Invest in a set of metal straws for the family to use, or at the very least buy paper straws.

Get kids involved: Buck the habit in public, too. Keep straws in the car to use at restaurants and encourage kids to stop using plastic straws all together. 

Drive less. This habit is good for your health, too. Using less gas saves money, and car emissions aren’t good for the environment. Mother Earth will thank you.

Get kids involved: When possible, walk or bike places such as the local park or library. This will get kids in the habit of exercising, which creates positive habits and healthy bodies for the future.

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