save_earth_save_money.jpgAng init! Somehow, this phrase is inching more and more into our daily conversations, heralding that summer has kicked off at full blast. Although the blazing season conjures images of out of town vacations and beach parties for most people, one can not deny that the sudden increase in temperature is posing quite a problem. Global warming is making everyone edgy, and is causing more and more people to take an active role in preserving our planet. What with Earth Hour’s switchoff just last weekend and Earth Day 2010 coming up next month, we’re finding environmental friendliness and increasingly trending topic.

While there’s nothing we can do at the moment to decrease the sudden temperature surge, we can do our part in being eco-friendly. Seemingly small acts can go a long way when injected into one’s daily routine, such as making a conscientious effort in minimizing waste. Check out FN’s simple list of tips that not only help save the environment, but also cut down costs as a bonus!


DON’T GO FOR PLASTIC BAGS.  

Plastics are made from durable material, and although this can be good for putting all your recently-shopped items in, it also means trash that can linger for hundreds of years.  Do your part in minimizing plastic waste by asking the cashier to forgo plastic bags when you’re buying items that can be easily put inside your bag. Better yet, opt to bring a reusable canvass bag with you whenever you hit the malls, so you have a place to put your stuff in. Also, establishments like Rustan’s Supermarket and SM Malls offer re-usable bags as plastic bag alternatives, and give incentives whenever you use their bags as a bonus.  This spells more savings and less waste contribution whenever we shop, which is a win-win situation for both us and Mother Nature as well. For fun bags you won’t be ashamed to carry around with you, check out ShopCrazy’s article on My Goodie Bag.


BUY PRODUCTS WITH LESS PACKAGING.  

How many times have you encountered  buying a product that’s wrapped in paper, then enclosed in a box, wrapped in plastic, all tied up with a ribbon? Isn’t it such a waste to throw all that packaging away? Companies spend tons of money on marketing, which includes product presentation, and a percentage of their retail price goes to that. As such, items that have less packaging tend to be cheaper. So save on cash and unnecessary trash, by going for products that are not that intricately packaged.


GO VINTAGE.

At a loss on what to wear? Try scouring your mom’s baul! Discover how fasyon your mom was when she was your age, and score classic pieces for free. Get a tailor to update your mom’s old pair of trousers or LBD, and you’ll be surprised that a few snips and trims can do wonders for an outfit that was previously deemed as “dated.” Now that’s called fashionable recycling.


AIM TO BE PAPER-FREE.

Try to avoid using paper for not-so-pertinent things. Save your shopping list and plan your daily tasks on your mobile phone, and opt not to have a receipt anymore when you check your account balance in the ATM. If you really can’t avoid using paper (like when printing drafts for editing), go for scratch paper instead.  Try adding up all the notebooks and bond papers that you use annually, and you’ll be surprised at how much you get to save if you avoid using them altogether. Tons of trees get cut down every day just to make paper (which eventually ends up in trash bins), so it will be great if you drastically minimize your paper use.


GO FOR DUAL-PURPOSE ITEMS.

Dual-purpose products are heaven-sent! They’re more compact, they save application time (no more rummaging problems in your kikay kit), they’re relatively cheaper than buying individual items, and there’s a plethora of them in the market. There’s cheek tint that can be used as lip stain, liquid eyeliners that double as eye shadow, pencil eyeliners that can be used for the brows, foundation that can be used as pressed powder, even shampoo as conditioner. Buying dual-purpose items also minimize waste, as you technically have two products in one packaging.


GO ON A DAILY TRAIN RIDE.

Congested as they may be, the MRT as well as the LRT 1 and 2 are the closest public utility vehicles that we have that don’t produce air pollution.  It’s also cheaper than taking other modes of transportation, as the maximum fare is only P15 per ride. Not only do you get to ditch headache-inducing traffic, you also save a couple of pesos, and play a part in reducing air pollution in the country by going for this alternative. Think it’s too hot out to commute? Check out Female Network’s tips on keeping cool on your commute to and from work .


BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINER FOR DRINKS.

The sweltering summer heat is making everyone make a beeline for stores that sell ice-cold drinks. The sad part is, people usually throw their plastic containers after use, which is such a waste, since drinks are stored in plastic bottles that can still be reused. Be girl-scout ready and bring your own ice-cold beverage in a reusable container that you can bring with you wherever you go to avoid unplanned stops to groceries for drinks. But if you’re hankering for a store-brought drink, ask stores to pour their beverage into your container. Some establishments, such as Starbucks Coffee and a few other coffee and tea shops, offer certain discounts when you bring your own mug or tumbler, so you might want to check that out too.


GO ORGANIC.


Why buy a salad when you can grow it in your own garden? Give your green thumb a boost by growing your own food. Not only is it a good stress-reliever after a hard day’s work, you also get to cut down cost. A couple of fruits and vegetables can go a long way if you get them for free. Adding greens can do wonders for the environment, as plants prevent soil erosion, release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide (one of the culprits of global warming, as it is a kind of greenhouse gas that covers the atmosphere, making Earth hotter than usual). And did we say that you get food for free?


PAY A VISIT TO YOUR LOCAL JUNK SHOP.

Get money from your trash by going to recycle drives or exchanging those at junk shops in your area. Normal household items such as newspapers, plastic containers, empty bottles, vehicle batteries and old computers can be traded for money, which in turn gets disposed of properly or recycled into new materials. Trash for money? No kidding.


TURN THE LIGHTS OFF.

Make sure you turn off or unplug all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronics when you leave for work in the morning or when you go to bed at night. This will keep them from draining your electricity while not in use, and it reduces your consumption of electricity, which in turn reduces the amount of nonrenewable fuel sources like natural gas or coal that is burned to generate electricity each day. This may will also save you from added utility costs—so hopefully you won’t have a heart attack the next time the power bill arrives.


(Photo source: sxc.hu)

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