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At first reference, some might cringe when they hear the phrase “going green.” It can carry the stigma of being not only expensive but time-consuming as well. However, being environmentally friendly doesn’t have to break the bank and it won’t take you forever and a day to make a few lifestyle changes. Here are 10 simple ways to “go green” and live more environmentally friendly.

1. Take notes electronically

For students, many teachers and professors now provide their students with lecture notes prior to class. Instead of printing the notes or copying them by hand, an eco-friendly and quicker option is to take notes electronically, such as on a computer or tablet. By taking notes electronically, it saves countless sheets of paper and pens. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your dog eating your homework and the notes last forever.

2. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store

Although it might take more planning on your part, bringing reusable bags to the grocery store is tremendously great for the environment. Plastic bags take 500-plus years to break down in a landfill, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Additionally, it costs more to recycle bags than they’re actually worth, so most recycling facilities won’t take them. Investing in reusable bags saves energy and money in the long run.

3. Ride your bike or walk when you can

Most communities have farmer’s markets or fairs that are relatively within walking distance from local neighborhoods. Walking or riding your bike is not only good for your health and saves gas money, but it reduces carbon emissions from your car.

10 Ways to Go Green This Year4. Read your magazines or newspapers on your computer or tablet

People want their news, and they want it fast. Getting your news online ensures that you have the most up-to-date information and it’s easier to access    not to mention all the paper and ink you’re saving by being digital-first.

5. Use rainwater to water your plants

For those avid planters out there, using rainwater can be an eco-friendly way to water your plants and save money on your water bill. Additionally, rainwater has a neutral pH and is relatively purer than tap water or city water — meaning it doesn’t contain chlorine or other substances that can reduce plant growth and health.

6. Use a reusable water bottle

The human body requires about eight glasses of water a day, fluctuating according to each individual’s height and weight. By using a reusable water bottle, you can save yourself nearly $20,000 a lifetime, according to Earth Day. Plus, most disposable water bottles contain BPA, which can damage your immune system, digestive system, and brain.

7. Pay your bills online

If you’re not paying your bills online, you’re missing out! Not only are you saving paper, but you can save yourself time and money by paying your bills online. It also reduces the chance of your check being lost in the mail, both receiving and sending it out.

8. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot water

By not using hot water to wash your clothes, you can save yourself money on your gas or electric bill, according to GE Appliances. Plus, using cold water reduces the chances of shrinking or fading your clothes — reducing the need to buy more clothes!

9. Opt-out of junk mail

According to the University of Southern Indiana, the average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year — most of which is junk mail. Save yourself time and paper and unsubscribe by contacting USPS.10 Ways to Go Green This Year

10. Line dry your laundry

When the weather is nice or if you have a basement, line drying your laundry can be an eco-friendly way to dry your clothes. It reduces the energy used to power your dryer, which in return saves you money on your electric bill. Alberta electricity rates are on the rise so get a fixed rate today. If you are looking to reduce your household energy bills and also want to reduce carbon emmissions, install solar energy will normally pay for themselves in just a few years.

Making a few ‘green’ lifestyle changes doesn’t have to happen overnight, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Consider making these lifestyle changes to save yourself some money, help the planet and do justice for your own health.

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