Most of us would agree that being environmentally responsible is the right thing to do. But we don’t always recognize the financial benefits of reducing, reusing, and recycling. As we gear up for next week’s Earth Day, here are some of the ways you can gain some green by going green.
Clear the Clutter
As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another’s treasure”. So why not trade some of that junk piled up in your closet-basement-garage and/or all of the above for some cold hard cash?
Garage sales are the age-old way to do it, and every weekend through spring and summer you’ll spot tables set up in driveways across the country. But to get a better return on items with real value, online selling is the way to go. The go-to site is eBay, but they take a cut. Craig’s List and Kijiji are two of the most popular places you can advertise your goods for free.
By the way, here’s a good way to figure out if you need to keep something or not: If you haven’t used it in the last six months, odds are you aren’t going to in the next dozen or more. If you’re just looking to unload your stuff, or perhaps swap with a like-minded re-user, try posting it on freebie giveaway sites like FreeCycle.org.
Home Improvement Options
If you’re planning on doing some home renovations, it’s also worth looking into the “green” options for the various products and materials you’ll be using. Many – such as non-toxic paints and eco-friendly flooring – now cost about the same as conventional versions, while reducing the carbon footprint these activities require.
Even add-ons with upfront price difference, like tankless water heaters or energy efficient appliances, will more than pay for themselves over their lifespan, plus you’re doing the planet a favour.
And if you’re are doing it yourself, rather spending money at the dump to get rid of the waste, sift through the trash pile and figure out what you can donate to places like Habitat for Humanity’s Restore locations and sell the metals to a local scrapyard.
Consider your Commute
One of the biggest complaints against public transit is that it takes longer (sometimes a lot longer) than driving yourself from point A to point B. But if you take advantage of the travel time to get some work done (or even just some reading), when you factor in the cost of gas, parking, and vehicle maintenance, you may find that you’re better off on the bus than putting yourself through a stressful, bumper-to-bumper drive.
Carpooling with colleagues or neighbours is another way to save gas money, plus you’ll have a travelling companion you’re not afraid to speak with.
The Three Rs
While most of us don’t think about it, the three Rs mantra, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, was intentionally written in that order as that’s the best way to minimize our ecological and environmental impact. Reducing our culture of consumption is not only good for the planet, it says us money. Same goes for reusing. And when all else fails, in some places there are even cash incentives for recycling. Since 2007, consumers in Ontario have had to pay a 10- to 20-cent deposit all alcoholic beverage containers. (The introduction of the deposit system on wine and liquor bottles gave birth to a small cottage industry of collectors who sift through blue bins ahead of the collection trucks looking for returnables.) Ih Nova Scotia, consumers pay 10- to 20-cents on liquor and non-alcoholic beverage containers, but only get half of their money back. The extra dimes and nickels fund the wages and operations of the provincial Enviro-Depot drop-off centres.
What do you do to re-use items around the house and cut down costs? Let us know in a comment!