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How Recycling Saves Money & Helps the Planet

Green initiatives involve actions and activities that benefit the environment instead of causing harm. While recycling and repurposing items is an important part of going green, there are other important activities that can also help save the Earth and money, too. With an overall awareness about your impact on the environment, you can take steps to reduce your waste and protect the planet's resources. Going green can often save you money while it saves energy and resources for everyone.

Going Green

A variety of actions combine to make up the definition of "going green." These include an overall awareness of and efforts to minimize one's negative impact on the environment. Going green can include conserving energy because this will reduce the need for fossil fuels required to produce energy. Green initiatives also involve reducing consumption because this reduces fossil fuels needed for production and also reduces waste added to landfills. Environmental awareness also involves preventing and lessening pollution, which helps protect the planet's ecological balance. Reducing pollution can include driving less and choosing energy-efficient appliances.

Recycling

Recycling involves reusing items to make new items. With the correct disposal of products, recycling ensures that they do not go to landfills. Instead, recycled products go to different facilities where they are prepared for reuse. Recyclable products include items made from glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper. Recycling has a number of benefits for the environment. When items are diverted away from landfills, they do not add to the amount of waste that accumulates in landfills. Recycling also helps conserve resources such as water, wood, energy, and fossil fuels because these resources are not needed to produce new products. Most communities offer curb-side recycling services to collect paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum from consumers. After the recyclables are collected, they are sorted and processed for manufacturing into new products. Some new products that come from recycled materials include paper products, steel cans, and glass, aluminum, and plastic containers. You can support this green initiative by recycling used products and by purchasing products made from recycled materials.

Saving Money and the Environment

Many steps that consumers can take to save money will also have a positive impact on the environment. For example, using your air conditioner less in the summer by setting your thermostat a few degrees higher will not only save you money, but it will use less fossil fuels because you will be running your air conditioner less often. Turning off lights when not in use saves money on your electric bill, and it uses less energy, which benefits the environment. Using less water in your home can reduce your water expenses. Using less water also helps conserve the fresh water supply, which helps the Earth. Conserving gasoline can have a major impact on your household budget. Combining shopping trips can use less gas, or you could leave the car in the garage and walk or ride a bicycle instead. Using less gas means that you are contributing less pollution to the environment and reducing the demand for gasoline. Even slowing your speed can have a positive effect on both your pocketbook and the environment because you can improve your gas mileage and reduce your emissions into the air.

Hands-on Ideas

With an awareness of how personal decisions and actions can have a greater impact, you can make some changes in your lifestyle to reduce your environmental impact and to save money. For example, assess the mail you receive and remove yourself from any unnecessary lists to reduce the amount of paper used to generate junk mail. Install aerators on taps and shower heads in your home to reduce the flow of water, which will cut your water consumption and lower water bills. Pay attention to the products you buy, with an eye toward conservation. Whenever possible, avoid purchasing items with excessive packaging because of the waste generated by these packaging practices. Buying items second-hand also saves money and helps to keep used products out of landfills. Recycle your own electronic cast-offs to protect the environment from toxins that can seep out of these devices.

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