First, stop receiving paper bill statements by opting to get them online instead of receiving them by mail. It cuts paper wasted and saves trees. There can be better deals too. Some insurance companies, including Allstate and Progressive give a discount of up to 5% on your auto policy for receiving policy documents online.
Second, swap out old appliances. Cut your energy bill and greenhouse emissions by upgrading to a new energy-efficient boiler, fridge or washing machine. Cut your energy bill and greenhouse emissions by upgrading to a new energy-efficient boiler, fridge or washing machine. States are currently offering rebates for trading in old appliances. For example, someone in New York could save $105 on a fridge. Stores and manufacturers are adding to the deals. Check energysavers.gov - some programs have already expired.
Third, recycle your electronics. An improperly disposed of desktop computer adds about three pounds of hazardous materials to landfills. Keep in mind many manufactures will recycle it for free when you buy a new computer from them. There are also third parties such as Gazelle.com that will buy your still-working electronics to resell or use for parts.
Fourth, make sure to reuse plastic bags. The Environmental Protection Agency has said that if every person in New York City used one fewer plastic bag each year, we'd save about 5 million pounds of waste. You can also cut your store bills slightly. Target offers a five-cent discount per bag, while CVS offers a $1 credit every four visits. You don't need a pricey reusable bag either. Just keep those from previous visits, or hand carry items.
Fifth, check the tire pressure on your vehicle. Tires that aren't properly inflated increase drag, making your car about 3% less fuel-efficient. That in turn releases more emissions. Check your driver's manual for proper inflation levels and then hit the gas station to re-inflate. By doing this you could cut your gas bill by another $25 to $50 annually.
For more information on saving when going green and other consumer tips click here.
Kelli Grant & Erika Wortham