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Earth Day is a great time to remember what we can do to help “green” the planet. These suggestions have dual benefits; they contribute to environmentally friendliness, but they also save us money. Let’s take a look at some everyday ideas you can implement around the home, outside and at work.

When you eat and drink

  1. Use cloth napkins: Instead of repeatedly buying packages of paper napkins, set the table with cotton or linen ones that eventually end up in the washer, not the recycling bin.
  2. Carry your mug: Coffee shops often give discounts to customers who bring in their reusable cups.
  3. Grow your own: Vegetables, herbs, berries and fruit from your garden taste better than store-bought and save you trips to the market.
  4. Eat less meat: Too much meat, especially beef, negatively effects our health, so bulk up those dishes with vegetables, a much cheaper way to go.
  5. Utilize residual heat: Cut down your power bill by turning off the oven five minutes before your casserole is finished. It will continue to cook.
  6. Track your trash: This helps you know if you’re buying too much of a certain food or beverage and not getting to it before it spoils.
  7. Freeze or can: Preserve the bounty from your home-grown produce for eating the rest of the year.

When you get ready in the morning

  1. Replace your showerhead: According to the Department of Energy, a low-flow model costs between $10 and $20 and causes you to use as much as 60 percent less water than a regular showerhead.
  2. Turn off the water: Don’t let the tap run while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving, which lets much of that precious resource go down the drain.
  3. Insulate your hot water heater: The Department of Energy says you pay a one-time cost of $30 for a heater blanket. That investment gives you a savings of up to $45 every year.
  4. Buy wash-and-wear clothing: Clothes that need dry cleaning cost you more money and add toxic chemicals to the environment.

When you garden

  1. Kill weeds with vinegar: Instead of buying pricey weed killer, mix one gallon of inexpensive white vinegar, one cup of salt and a tablespoon of dish detergent. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and dowse your weeds with it. This solution works best on a sunny day.
  2. Add a compost bin to your yard: Compost gives your soil the nutrients it needs without having to buy a special soil mix from a nursery. It also helps you get rid of table scraps including coffee grounds, tea leaves, fruit and vegetable peelings and egg shells.
  3. Reuse pantyhose: For those garden vegetables like pole beans and tomatoes that need stakes to grow straight, cut off pieces of old pantyhose to use for ties.
  4. Start a co-op: Ask your neighbors or co-workers to go in together and swap extra vegetables, fruits and eggs from backyard chickens. That way nothing goes to waste.

When you drive

  1. Turn on cruise control: You’ll get better mileage and won’t stress your right foot as much.
  2. Drive sustainably: Idling, braking often, speeding and carrying cargo on the roof all negatively impact your gas mileage.
  3. Maintain your car: Performing routine maintenance like changing the oil, air filter and keeping the tires properly inflated also saves on gas.

When you work

  1. Flip the computer paper: Whenever possible use both sides of the paper you print on, which should make it last almost twice as long.
  2. Unplug machines: As long as computers, copiers, printers, etc. are plugged into live outlets they use power, which increases your power bill.
  3. Ask to telecommute: By working from home you save on travel, clothing maintenance, you don’t use the office’s supplies and best of all the boss can’t monitor you.