"Going Green" without Spending a lot of "Green"

By
Home Inspector with Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection

It seems like every time we hear "going green" it seems to entail spending a lot of "green" to get there. Many of these new and innovative ideas are great, but do you have thousands of dollars stuffed under your mattress to pay for them?  So you don't have the "green" to "go green?"  

Then this is for you, the beginning "greenier" (pronounced green-ee-ay).  Never heard of it?  I didn't think so, because I made it up.  The official definition is:  a person who wants to get on track with "going green" without spending too much "green."  So lets get to the basics of going green.  Anyone one can do it.  Soon you to can be a "greenier."  Here are items that cost little or nothing to do yet make a big difference.  Here's what I came up with:

 

recycle toners

1.  Recycling ink and laser toner.

This is so simple, even I can do it.  You ink and laser toners (at least any one that I've ever bought) comes with a free package (or maybe the one you bought it in) and label so you can send it back to the manufacturer at no cost to you.  They then re-use or recycle them.  Here's what my laser toner packages look like (the 4 small ones) and a drum package.  The labels are on the package and I'm ready to send them back.  That was pretty effortless.

 

 

 

 

 Recycle Bin

2. Use the recycle bin at your house.

My recycle bin is the blue one pictured to the left.  If it's at your house, why not use it?  I know, it's real good at attracting dust, but that's not its purpose.  I put papers, milk cartons, those annoying credit offers, boxes and the such in it. It's effortless and technically has a cost, but I have to pay for it whether I use it or not, so why not?  Oh yeah, if you have items with sensitive information, you should shred them first and the recycle them.

 

Here's what my recycle bin looks like this week. I went through a lot of old papers and magazines and loaded the bin up.   Oh yeah, the green bin is for "green" items, such as lawn clippings, branches, flowers, weeds, etc.  

But what if you don't have a recycle bin at your house?

Find a recycling center by clicking here

 

 fuel gauge

3. Make only one outing in your car when possible.

Try to make only one outing for as many errands as possible.  This not only saves time but also saves on fuel.  My best example is when I get to pick up my son from school.  I'll pick him up, go to the bank, the post office and stores.  Or if I am on my way to work, I'll stop at the bank on the way and fit in any other errand I might need.  This helps you to drive less miles, save on fuel and save on time.  Truly a win-win situation.

 

 

4.  Turn off lights and unplug appliances when not in use.  Get rid of that old fridge or freezer.

turn lights offOkay, now I'm becoming my Dad, "Turn off the lights, that costs money."  Or, "I'm going to start charging you money every time you open that refrigerator."  It sounded so silly back then, but now it makes perfect sense, I guess that's what we call wisdom.  Buying the energy efficient bulbs are a great idea but I'm focusing on getting back to the basics and looking at things that cost no money.  It really is as simple as turning lights off when not in the room ,or dimming the lights if possible.

plug

 

You can also unplug appliances when they're not in use.  Many appliances still draw some power even if they're off.  Appliances like washers, dryers, dishwashers, computers, printers, etc. can all be unplugged (presuming they're in an accessible area.

  

fridge

 

Then there's the infamous refrigerator or freezer in the garage.  It just sits there and collects dust and uses energy just so you can keep your drinks cold.  Are you really going to drink 10 bottles of soda and 30 cans of beer all at once?  How about donating that refrigerator or freezer and just keeping 1 bottle of soda and a few cans of beer cold in the house?  When you drink one, replace it.  They don't all have to be cold at once.

 

 

Well, there you have it, 4 simple steps to becoming a "greenier."  There certainly are many other ways to go green, I have just listed a few.  After becoming a greenier  you can take more steps and eventually become a greenior, and maybe some day a greendiva.  Good luck to you.

 

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Rainer
120,131
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California
William, yes, moving out of home does put a different perspective on things.  The next big one is kids, that definitely puts a different perspective on things. Thanks for stopping by.
Mar 12, 2008 12:43 PM #2
Rainmaker
601,160
Lindsey Hasford
Edina Realty - Elk River, MN
Bringing you home...
Going green can be inexpensive if you look around your house. We live 7 miles out of town so our trips are already limited. Great tips for greening it up.
Mar 12, 2008 01:32 PM #3
Rainmaker
340,012
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Joseph - I was one of those that thought going green mean spending a lot of green to do so.  I'm learning, like you are, that simple things like you wrote about can make a nice difference.  I wrote a post similar to yours, with some simple things we've been doing.  It's easy, and I'm sure there are plenty of additional small things we can do, too.

Ann

Mar 12, 2008 01:42 PM #4
Rainer
104,652
Michael I. Pulskamp
Mainstreet Brokers - Jackson, CA
REALTOR, EcoBroker, GREEN Desingnee
Joseph, Great job with the graphics! and the rest of the post too. If only we could set it up so that the money we save on all of these little free changes could build up someplace to help us pay for the big greening changes. Then we could really save some dough!
Mar 12, 2008 01:56 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,041,056
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner

When you live in the country you learn qucikly about the one car outing! Great post!

Your friend in Charlottesville, Virginia!

Mar 13, 2008 12:04 AM #6
Rainer
120,131
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California

Lindsey, inexpensive is the key for me.

Ann, I'll check out your post also.

Michael, thanks.  Maybe we could estimate our savings and set it aside ourselves, little by little?  Then we'd get there some day.

Charles, I can imagine.  Thanks for stopping by.

Mar 13, 2008 05:21 AM #7
Rainer
19,620
Alan Burwell
McHugh Realtors - Sequim, WA
As the country turns toward flourescent lighting (thanks to GW) we will be keeping the lights on longer as flourescents work better and save more when they are on, not when you keep turning them on and off.   Thanks for the tutorial Joseph.
Mar 13, 2008 05:47 AM #8
Rainer
120,131
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California
Kathy, that's interesting, do you have a website link to that information?
Mar 13, 2008 05:57 AM #9
Rainer
19,620
Alan Burwell
McHugh Realtors - Sequim, WA
Joseph, no websites to link too.  Just some historical information.  It could be that the first generation CFL's worked better when they were left on rather than turning them off.  I know some office buildings leave all lights on at night but close blinds because of the savings.  I do know that the time it takes for a cfl to warm up usually doesn't suit my need for it.  I love my incandescent bulbs.
Mar 13, 2008 09:56 AM #10
Rainer
226,765
Richard Ives
Chicago, IL

Great tips Joseph.

I recycle my ink and toner cartridges at my office with RE/MAX Children's Miracle Network.  The money made goes directly to benefit the Children's hospitals in our community.  It is a very easy thing to do.

They city recycling bins are also a very simple way to recycle with very little effort.

Have a great day!

Mar 13, 2008 10:14 AM #11
Rainer
120,131
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California

Kathy, thanks.

Richard, that sounds like a great charity.  I'll have to look for some around here like that.  Thanks for sharing.

Mar 13, 2008 06:53 PM #12
Rainer
226,765
Richard Ives
Chicago, IL

Joseph, Pets Mart also has a charity that benefits homeless animals.  You can contact them for recycling materials to be sent to you by e-mailing petsmartcharities@cashforcritters.com.

Have a great weekend!

Richard

Mar 14, 2008 04:29 AM #13
Ambassador
807,719
. 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC
REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK - Asheville, NC
What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779

Joseph~

 Thanks for the very good tips. As real estate professionals, we can offer such good information to our clients...including cost and eco-savvy benefits available for them...

Mar 15, 2008 03:09 AM #14
Rainmaker
716,358
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY
Going green has always seemed expensive as heck.  I haven't done much about the house because I simply don't have the cash and noooooo way am I leveraging my home to do it!  But these are simple solutions that can help as well. My next car will be a hybrid, but I'm not doing that for a while because I've only had this car  a little over three years. Although I have an SUV (to cart my three large dogs and clients) it is a 4 cylinder Honda - which gets reasonable mileage.  I said "no" to the fancier V-6 engines that I saw. Considered a hybrid - but in late 2004, I wasn't convinced that the technology was there for such a long-term investment. 
Mar 16, 2008 03:23 PM #15
Rainer
120,131
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California

janeAnne, thanks for stopping by.

Ruthmarie, great way to be "Green" conscious.

Mar 17, 2008 05:24 AM #16
Rainer
639,083
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX
Joseph - We recycle here in Comal County, Texas. Every Friday (which is our pick-up day) at the Fire Station the County sends a garbage truck and two workers to unload your car or truck. We don't even have to seperate the trash, they have someone that does that for them. We drive up...they unload...we drive off. How easy is that? Best part...It's Free (I'm sure our tax money is paying for it) I understand they grind the glass and cans and make road base out of it. You supplied some very good information.
Mar 17, 2008 01:35 PM #17
Rainmaker
111,691
Anthony Saunchez
Campa Properties - San Bernardino, CA
How can we be of service
Joseph,these are simple things that we can all do. I usually refill My toners twice(reuse) before I turn them in for recycling.I also try to use energy efficient fluorescent bulbs when practical. I WILL NOT COMPROMISE ON THE BEER THOUGH I NEED MY ENTIRE 30 COLD (:-
Mar 17, 2008 05:09 PM #18
Rainer
120,131
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California

Carl, that's a great program.  We have something like that here, but it's specifically for electronics.  More and more cities seem to be catching on.

Anthony, I've always been worried about the quality with refilling color laser toners, but I'm actually going to give it a try.

Mar 18, 2008 07:42 AM #19
Rainmaker
325,871
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD

Joseph,

The recycle process is well-managed here in Las Vegas, but most residents in my neighborhood for some reason don't use it. We have one bin for newspaper, one for glass and one for aluminum and tin cans. Every house was given for free all these bins and they just aren't used. What a shame.

Mar 18, 2008 05:06 PM #20
Rainer
120,131
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California
Esko, that's unfortunate.  We used to have separate bins for recyclables, but like you've experienced, many people won't take the time to separate them so they don't do anything.  Your area should look into one bin that all recyclables go into, so they homeowner doesn't have to separate them.  It looks like everyone on my street uses them.
Mar 19, 2008 04:33 AM #21
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