October 15 2007

Blog Action Day: How to live a bit greener

Blog Action Day: How to live a bit greenerBlog Action Day is upon us, and as I mentioned before, this year’s subject is the environment.

Since each blog that is participating is supposed to write an entry that relates to your blog’s theme, and how you can give tips on being more green, but since my blog tends to wander, I’m sure this post will also.

While I know not all of my readers agree on global warming, I think we can all agree on there is too much pollution in the world. I think we can also all agree we like to save money. So, I thought I would approach everything from the aspect of how you can live a bit greener, and save yourself money at the same time.

CFL Bulb

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

My love affair with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) continues, and shows no signs of dying down. The bulbs are becoming easier and easier to find, with Wal-Mart having displays of them all over the store now, and more vendors carrying them. The prices are steadily dropping, and they really do cut your electric bill by using less wattage for the same amount of light.

I did a full post on these back in June, and since then, I finally had a bulb burn out… 2 & 1/2 years after I put it in. So, yes, I pay more for the bulbs to begin with, but tell me last time you had a standard bulb that was on approximately 8 hours a day last for 2 & 1/2 years. I think we all know how that question will turn out.

Soda Cans

Do you live in a state with a deposit on aluminum cans? Do you remember to save them up, or do you just throw them away? Well, if you toss them out, it must be nice to throw money out in the trash. Do what I did, I got a large cardboard box, lined it with a trashbag, and instead of throwing the cans in the garbage, I shake them out in the sink, and then toss them in the box. No more effort than throwing them in the garbage, and when the box is filled, I just pull the bag out and take it in. No muss, no fuss, and the cans get recycled.

Even if you don’t live in a deposit state, at least look in to recycling centers, or see if your trash collection offers recycling options.

Bottled Water

Bottled Water

It seems so innocent when you run in to the convenience store on your way to work, grab a bottled water, and go on your way to the office. Multiply that by 250 working days, and you’ve just used 250 water bottles in a year. Even if you send them to recycling, do you consider the environmental impact of producing the bottle? Never mind shipping the bottle to the plant, transporting it to the stores, and the energy involved in the bottling.

I love bottled water also, and it’s nice to screw on the cap so you don’t run a risk of spilling it all over your desk, but how about you refill the bottle yourself? Say every Monday you picked up one bottle and reuse it for the entire week? You just cut out 200 bottles from the cycle. You’ve saved yourself money, you’ve removed carbon emissions from the air, and you aren’t polluting as much.

Sure, there are situations where it just isn’t practical to refill all the time, like say a cab driver, but if you work in an office with a water fountain, water cooler, kitchenette, bathroom… any clean water source… just refill your bottle and you’ll be surprised by the impact that will have on the planet, and your wallet.

Carbon Footprints

Pretty much everything we do leaves some form of carbon footprint, the amount of CO2 something produces, but do you know how to reduce yours? Here is a collection of footprint calculators to help you figure out how you may be able to reduce yours.  And trust me, some of them are so easy, such as properly insulating your house, which will in turn cut your heating bill.

BeGreen – A carbon calculator and offers lots of information on how to be “neutral”.

BP – British Petroleum (or “Best Petroleum” as they go by in the USA), has an animated carbon calculator with little people that asks detailed question about your home.

Carbon Footprint – Since they grabbed the .com address, seems natural to inclue them.

Ecological Footprint Quiz – A very detailed quiz to let you know how much you depend on nature.

NativeEnergy – See your impact, and get carbon offsets.

PaperCalculator – See just how much impact all the paper you use impacts the planet.

TerraPass – Emissions calculator and carbon offset options.

The Carbon Diet – Track your footprint, compete with friends.

The Nature Conservancy Carbon Calculator – Calculate your impact and see what tips they offer.

Yahoo! Green Carbon Footprint Calculator – See your impact, pledge to save.

Zerofootprint – Create a profile, calculate your impact, see how you can cut back.

So, there you go, four easy things that no matter how you feel about global warming, will save you money, or just will help cut pollution however you view it.

Also be sure to see my post on about greening up your computing life. 

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