Here is a list of things that you can do to reduce your negative impact on the environment and possibly save yourself some money.
- Turn off lights in rooms if you will leave them for more than 20 minutes.
- Print on both sides of each sheet of paper, this enables you to waste half as much paper as many other people do.
- Watch tv on your computer instead of using a separate tv and computer. You can purchase a USB tv tuner and connect that to your cable box. This is also convenient.
- If you have an older computer monitor which does not have a standby feature, turn it off when you leave your machine.
- Put your computer into standby mode when you are not going to use it for more than a few minutes (unless it is busy).
- Turn off your screensaver, and tell your operating system to turn off the monitor when idle for 5-10 minutes.
- Utilize what you have instead of making unnecessary purchases, for example, if you have a smartphone such as a Blackberry, don’t bother to buy an MP3 player. Ipods may be trendy, but they are costly, and are not even worth the price tag. It is also more convenient to use your smartphone for music and video playback instead of having both an mp3 player and a smartphone (example: Blackberry) in your pocket, when the smartphone alone would be adequate. This is cheaper, and more environmentally friendly because it would result in less electronic waste.
- When purchasing power tools, such as drills, saws. vacuum cleaners, edge trimmers, lawn mowers, purchase the corded ones, because those are not only much cheaper (the cheapest), but they are also the most reliable and powerful tools available, and they don’t rely on batteries, which have an environmental impact (dependent on type), to operate. I find corded power tools to be convenient too because of their light weight. Cords are not much of a problem if you are careful and use extension cords if necessary.
- Try to use Linux instead of Windows, Linux machines don’t become obsolete as quickly. Linux operating systems require less system resources than Windows, and as a result of this, they can work well on older computers (including extremely old computers), enabling you to upgrade your hardware less frequently. When upgrading Windows, many people face the problem of its high demand for system resources (which increases significantly with every Windows release), and they are forced to upgrade their computers in many cases. I would recommend Ubuntu. Read more
- Add the right amount of water to your kettle or pot when boiling it, adding more water will make it take longer.
- Check the power consumption of appliances before purchasing them if you can.
- Cover pots while cooking, this enables you to cook your food more quickly and with less energy.
- Switch to a convection oven.
- Avoid washing one or two pieces of clothing just because you want to wear them again. If you like them that much, then buy more of them.
- Replace inefficient light bulbs such as incandescent ones with more efficient bulbs (Ideally fluorescent or LED bulbs).
- Purchase a motion sensing lighting system.
- Consider alternatives to purchasing electricity from power stations.
- Replace your Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor with a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Read more
- When assembling a computer, or replacing its parts, use energy efficient parts.
- Manufacturers can utilize solar furnaces instead of using electric heaters.
- Get yourself a comfortable and enjoyable pair of headphones such as the Sony MDR-7506, and use your speakers less. Headphones consume little power. They are especially convenient to have and to those around you when you attend college. The MDR-7506 is a very durable model which can last more than 10 years at least.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones. Rechargeable batteries are more cost effective, as well as more environmentally friendly because they can be recharged and reused for years, unlike disposable batteries which cannot be reused after discharge.
- Instead of making several trips, arrange to take everyone who wants to go out with you and do what you need or want to do on one trip if they live with you. Also practice checking for everything that you need to carry such as your purse, wallet, etc. Do not hitch hike, because that is dangerous. Read more
- Avoid traveling far distances to watch matches, games, and races. especially if you are not going to sit very close to the race track or field. On tv, your view is likely to be much closer and clearer than a grand stand view unless you have a front row seat. Other tv only views include cockpit, and all other angles of the vehicle as well as the entire race track if it is a race for example. Visiting your local stadium or track occasionally instead of frequently makes your experience there are more meaningful one. In other words, you like things less when you are accustomed to enjoying them frequently.
- Consider public transportation. Public transportation via plane or train does often make sense if you are traveling very long distances to events. Personal transportation (driving your own car) is a convenience, not a necessity. Remember that you don’t have to drive your car everywhere, even though driving is considered a necessity by many. It is up to you to make the financially wisest decision.
- If you live in an area with high speed railways that can take you to your destination cheaply, then you may want to consider that. In some cases, it can actually be both faster and more economical than a car if you are traveling very long distances. This is the 21st century, it is now common for businesses in general to provide you with an easy and convenient way to determine how much your trip will cost, how long it should take, and other details you may want or need using their websites. Type the name of the train station you are going to visit in www.google.com and their website is very likely to come up as the first search result. For example, searching for Amtrack in Google provided the link to their website in seconds. Here is their website: Amtrack.com
- Keep your tyres inflated.
- Do not drive too slowly, nor too fast, 55-60 MPH is the most fuel efficient speed to drive at. Source.
- Avoid idling.
- Call stores and ask them if they have what you want in stock before you drive to them and find that they don’t have it. This alone can save a significant amount of money and fuel. There are online telephone directories which enable you to quickly and easily access telephone numbers. I always do this. They are more convenient than traditional telephone directories and they are also more up to date. An example is Jamaica Yellow Pages Online. You can also search the white and government pages on that website.
- Do not keep heavy things in your car unless you have to (impact wrenches and hydraulic jacks are an exception of course, I wouldn’t want to be without one).
- If you have a high wattage sound system in your vehicle, don’t leave it on all the time, turn it on only when you really want to listen to it. As a matter of fact, don’t purchase a high wattage sound system at all, you should purchase a system which can be turned up to a comfortable and safe listening volume. 1000 watts of power is not necessary, remember that amplifiers require energy, and that comes from your alternator, and you will end up wasting plenty of fuel which could have taken you to places. The larger system and the higher the wattage, the more it will weigh, and the more fuel will be consumed, heavy systems also slow down vehicles.
- Call local automotive stores and ask them if they will recycle used fluids for you.
- If the places that you travel to on a regular basis such as school and/or work are nearby, try riding a bicycle, motorcycle, or even walk (provided that the area that you live in is not too dangerous).
- Replace your vehicle with a plug in hybrid or electric one and charge its batteries with solar, wind power (please visit the wind page for more information), natural gas or another clean or near clean source of energy. Electric vehicle conversions are becoming increasingly common, and they can be fun, maybe you could look into that. Extensive physics, electrical engineering, and automotive knowledge is required.
- Replace your car with a more fuel efficient one, such as a hybrid vehicle.
- After modification, power your vehicle with a biofuel such as ethanol or biodiesel, or consider purchasing a flex fuel vehicle.
- Tune up your vehicle on a regular basis. If you take care of your vehicle it will take better care of you.
- Obtain and use a fuel economy monitor for your vehicle. These makes it easy for you to gauge how fuel efficient your driving techniques are.
- Carefully choose your vehicle before purchasing it. Many people choose to purchase large and highly inefficient vehicles which they don’t need to, and end up costing themselves more than they would on a suitable car. If you need a large vehicle to transport large items frequently, then purchase a large vehicle, and one which is the right size, you don’t need to purchase a van just to transport a computer. A station wagon may do, or perhaps a small SUV. If you are going to commute and you don’t plan to transport large items frequently, then pay for delivery, or call a friend or acquaintance with a large vehicle and have them transport it for you.
The cost to drive an SUV or pickup truck exceeds the cost of occasional delivery by far, an example is below. If you want an economical car but space is a concern, then move the seat back to give yourself more room if it is mainly you or not more than 3 people in the car, and push it back forward if someone needs to sit behind you.
2008 Toyota Tundra 4WD Fuel Economy: 13 MPG city (0.076923076 GPM), 16 MPG highway (0.0625 GPM).
2008 Toyota Camry Fuel Economy: 21 MPG city (0.047619047 GPM). 31 MPG highway (0.032258064 GPM). This means that the Camry can travel an additional 8 miles per gallon of fuel used in the city or an additional 10 miles on the highway.
City: 19 gallons of gasoline per 400 miles driven which would cost $51 USD if the cost of gasoline is $2.70 per gallon.
Highway: Highway: 13 gallons of gasoline for every 400 miles driven which would cost $34 USD if the cost of gasoline was $2.70 per gallon.
City: 30.769230 gallons of fuel for every 400 miles driven which would cost $83 USD if the cost of gasoline is $2.70 per gallon.
Highway: 25 gallons of fuel for every 400 miles driven which would cost $67.
After subtracting the fuel cost of the Camry for every 400 miles driven from that of the Tundra, the result was that the Tundra costs $32 USD more to drive 400 miles in the city and $33 more to drive the Tundra on a highway than the Camry.
Learn how I calculated the fuel cost of these vehicles here: Fuel Economy.
- Purchase recycled and biodegradable materials. Try to buy durable items. They pay for themselves, and they are much better for the environment because they are not disposable, be careful of items manufactured with particularly toxic materials, though.
- Stuff your plastic bags into a box or bottle (the heavier the better) if you are going to throw them away. When you throw them away individually, they may blow from the landfills they are in and into the ocean. A box densely packed with the bags is much heavier than the individual bags and will stay in the landfill. Read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
- Recycle your waste.
- Minimize your use of plastic bags and other disposable items. They actually find their way into the ocean. If you get plastic bags from stores, neatly fold them and tuck them away, then take them back to the store to put your purchased items in. Please do not fold and keep the bags that fall apart due to biodegradation after a while. The best thing to do is purchase a reusable bag (not a paper one), and put your items in that.
- Make use of old equipment instead of throwing it in the garbage, or find someone that wants it. There are many things that can be done with old equipment. Please carefully choose which old equipment that you want to use, some of it may waste a significant amount of electricity, such as old air conditioners, and you will end up costing yourself money buy using such old equipment.
- You can put old computers to use and install Linux or UNIX operating systems on them. You can also donate them to schools. Read more
- Don’t water your lawn nor wash your vehicle too often, nor participate in other wasteful water related activities. there are water shortages people are suffering from, and it is partially due to excessive and wasteful water usage.
- To check for water leaks, ensure that anything in your house which draws water is off, and then check to see if your meter is moving. It should not be moving unless water is flowing through it.