It's not a huge one, but consumers who adhere to some earth-friendly practices can save a few bucks, padding their bank accounts in the process. Andrea Woroch, a national consumer financial guru, calls it saving the right kind of "green" on Earth Day. She advocates taking everyday steps to save the environment that can make a financial difference too. "Earth Day serves as our annual reminder to be more conscious of the environmental impacts of our everyday habits," Woroch says. "While some may resist going green because of the cost, others know being eco-minded actually saves a lot of green." Simple, everyday changes such as line-drying your laundry or embracing reusable grocery bags are tips consumers get every year, she says. Those are good, but consumers can go one step further by taking these personal environment-friendly steps:
- Think "refurbished" on printer ink. Woroch says that 373 million used-up ink cartridges are discarded every year, winding up on local landfills. That's easily avoidable, as 97% of ink cartridge components are reusable and can be recycled. Save some money and reduce the burden on landfills by buying refurbished printer ink cartridges. Go online to sites such as InkjetWilly.com for some good deals.
- Opt for reusable snack bags. Some 20 million plastic baggies wind up next to those ink cartridges in U.S. landfills annually. Woroch advises buying reusable snack bags from online providers such as SnackTaxi.com. The bags are dishwasher safe and can be used again and again.
- Buy a lemon. No, not four-wheeled lemons from a used-car lot, which can dent your bank account. Woroch is talking about actual, genuine lemons that have multiple household uses. "Lemons are a natural cleanser, helping to cut grease on dirty dishes and clean countertops when mixed with water. You can even use lemon juice to keep creepy crawlers from invading your house," Woroch says. Check out the website CouponSherpa.com, which offers 55 household uses for lemons that can save you plenty on cleaning products.
- Close your blinds. Heating and cooling are at the top of any household budget expenditure. Keep those bills in check, and protect the environment, by keeping your blinds down. "Simply closing your blinds can help mitigate the warming effects of the sun, since 40% of unwanted heat comes through windows," Woroch says.
- Recycle your mobile phone. Woroch says that, on average, cellphone users upgrade their phones every 18 months. That leaves a ton of old phones lying around -- 140 million wind up in those landfalls every year, Woroch says. That's bad for Mother Nature, as cellphones contain toxic chemicals including lead, lithium and cadmium. So don't toss your phone in the trash -- donate it to a good cause such as reuse by Cell Phones for Soldiers.