We love our Mother Earth, and we try to do our best part to keep her happy and healthy. But with all the buzz to "go green", simply recycling plastic bottles and pop cans may not be enough. Embracing a more eco-friendly lifestyle does not mean that you have to break the bank with a fancy hybrid car, nor does it mean that you need to go to extremes, and ditch store-bought toothpaste like the "Zero Waste Family". Here is our list of easy tips to keep both Mother Earth and your wallet smiling on Earth Day this year:
1. Goodbye, bottled water. Hello, reuseable water bottles!
Bottled water is one notorious culprit in our battle against waste. Get rid of your bottled of water, and pick up a reuseable canteen! Re-useable beverage containers come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. We love this white aluminum water bottle. For just $5.50, it's easy to say "Yes" to ditching your Evian bottle for a much more eco-friendly and economical option.
Eco-Fact: Just this year alone, over 38 billion bottles of water have been put in a landfill, littered, or incinerated (CRI.org).
2. Fresh Water CAN Come From Your Sink
We'll admit it. The spring water from bottled water tastes delicious. But getting your tap water to taste as clear as a mountain spring is possible if you invest in a Brita filtration system. The Brita Everyday Pitcher is just $23 at Walmart.com, and ships for free! The average American family spends $20 a week on cases of bottled water. Using a Brita pitcher has the potential to save your family hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.
3. Paper or Plastic? Neither!
Use reuseable cloth bags instead of your grocery store's paper or plastic bags. Baggu features a wide variety of reuseable shopping bags in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Bonus: when you buy 3 or more bags, each bag is just $7.50! The important thing to remember here is that once you buy these bags, you won't need new ones for a long time, plus you'll be helping to decrease pollution (and you won't have all those pesky extra plastic bags under your sink anymore,unless you're saving them for Fido's feces).
4. Bring Your Own Mug to Coffee Shops
Instead of drinking your latte out of your favorite coffee shops paper cups, bring your own coffee mug! Many coffee shops offer discounts when you bring your own for them to fill. Here are just a few coffee shops that offer coffee discounts:
- Caribou Coffee: 10% off
- Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: $0.20 off any coffee
- Dunn Bros. Coffee: $0.25 off any coffee
- Peet's Coffee: $0.10 off any coffee
- Starbucks: 10% off
- Tim Hortons: $1.40 coffee with a medium mug, $1.55 coffee with a large mug
Eco-Deal: Need a new coffee thermos? This 16 oz. stainless steel travel mug from Buy.com is just $8, and ships for free!
*Note: discounts may vary by location; ask your barista about coffee shop discounts!
5. Opt for the Re-Usable My K-Cup
If you have a Keurig coffee maker, you know that buying K-Cups can get pretty expensive, and create a lot of waste. We suggest buying the My K-Cup reuseable coffee filter. Not only will you avoid extra garbage, but you will save money buying your favorite bags of coffee vs. stocking up on pricey k-cups. Kohl's has the Keurig My K-Cup for just $18 via free shipping coupon code SHIPZERO and 20% off coupon code SMS7302.
6. Revive the Lunch Box!
Remember when you got to pick out your lunch box at the beginning of each school year? Ditch the brown bags, and invest in a cute lunch pail for your kids or yourself! Pottery Barn Kids has a ton of lunch bags that are sure to please your little one (or you). We love the Spider-Man Classic lunch bag. Priced at just $18 (shipping is free!), this lunch bag features an insulated lining that is environmentally friendly, and will keep beverages cold until lunchtime.
7. Don't Print Your Grocery Store Coupons
We know that using grocery coupons is an absolute must these days. Instead of printing out your coupons, use SavingStar to save a tree! SavingStar links grocery coupons to your store loyalty card, and then rewards you with a cash rebate. When you check out, not only will you get the savings from your store loyalty card, but the coupons you've selected from SavingStar will also be added! Your SavingStar cash rebate will appear within a few days after your shopping trip.
Bonus: Earth Day Freebies!
Many stores will offer great freebies on April 22, Earth Day! Here are just a few coming your way:
- Target: Shoppers get a FREE reuseable shopping bag with any purchase (available at guest services desk)
- Origins: Free sample-size cleanser in exchange for an empty skincare bottle
- Barnes & Noble: 20% off Earth friendly books and games (available in-store and online)
- Starbucks: FREE cup of iced or hot coffee when you bring in your own coffee mug
- Caribou Coffee: FREE cup of iced or hot coffee when you bring in your own coffee mug
- Disney Store: FREE reuseable tote when you bring in 5 or more plastic bags
- Pottery Barn Kids: FREE packet of sunflower seeds
- Sephora: FREE full-size Origins moisturizer when you trade in an empty skincare/make-up bottle (online orders must spend $30 or more; use Sephora promo code EARTH12)
*Note: Unless specified, these offers are available in-store only
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Are you whipping your home into shape with a little spring cleaning? Make sure to check out our How To: Organize Your Home on a Budget blog for more great eco-friendly organization ideas!