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Save the environment, save money

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We are frequently urged to "go green", cutting our wasteful energy use and recycling as much as possible. Many people already live greener lifestyles than they may have done several years ago. But for those yet to alter the way they live, the Worldwatch Institute says there is an important incentive that might persuade them to change their minds: helping the environment can save you money in various ways.

Lower energy bills

  • Set your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer to reduce heating and air conditioning bills.
  • Unplug appliances when you are not using them. Leaving a TV on standby, for example, still adds to your hydro costs.
  • Wash clothes in cold water if possible; as much as 85 percent of the energy used by washing machines goes to heat the water.
  • Use a drying rack or clothesline to avoid the cost of machine drying.
  • Take shorter showers beneath a low-flow showerhead, which reduces your water and heating bills.

Less money spent on gas

  • Walking or cycling to work, wherever possible, cuts your gas costs while improving your health.
  • Telecommuting, or moving closer to work, would lead to fewer or shorter journeys. Even if living nearer the office increases your mortgage, you could still save money in the long run.

Reduced shopping expenses

  • Meat eaters could add at least one meatless meal a week to their diet, as meat is expensive to buy and also has a number of environmental and health costs.
  • By using a water filter on your tap water you can avoid buying bottled water.
  • Obtain secondhand products online via sites like craigslist, kijiji or FreeSharing, or visit garage sales and thrift stores.
  • Borrow books from libraries instead of buying them, which reduces the amount of paper needed for publishing.
  • Share power tools and other appliances with your neighbours.
  • Keep your cellphone, computer and other electronics for as long as possible and do not replace them until it is necessary.

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