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Five Inexpensive Things You Can Buy Today That Will Help The Environment.

Aside from the fact that consuming a lot of goods is bad for the environment, there are necessities in life that we do have to buy quite often. And if you are going to be buying them anyway, why not buy the “green” version of the things you buy most often? Since going green can be an expensive endeavor, I figured listing a few things you could pick up on the cheap on your next trip to the store could be helpful. You do not have to put solar panels on your house and drive an electric car to make a difference…if everyone just did the easy simple stuff it would have a huge impact. Here are 5 things you can buy today to start helping the environment.

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A new toothbrush made out of recycled yogurt cups. The Preserve toothbrush is both made out of recycled plastic and can be recycled at the end of it’s life, which is something that regular toothbrushes cannot claim. The plastic is from recycled Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups, and when you are done with the toothbrush, you send it back to Recycline (free postage included) so they can turn it into recycled plastic lumber. Available at Target, Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and now Wal-Mart.

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Recycled toilet paper. I know it took my mom a long time to get over the idea that the paper was recycled, but now that is what she buys as well. I am afraid many people have the same preconception that she did – it was not as soft, it had been “used before”…but there is absolutely no difference between toilet paper made from recycled paper and that made from fresh pulp. It feels and acts exactly the same! Just the fact that we cut down trees to make paper to use for this purpose is amazing, and no one should be buying new paper toilet paper. Just get yourself some decent stuff from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and even some regular grocers, and be proud of the fact that you are no longer contributing to the cutting down of trees to make toilet paper.

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Get yourself a power strip for all your electronics. These can be had for as little as $10 and they make a huge difference in your electricity use. Using power strips for your computer, television and other stuff you don’t need powered up when you are not using them can cut your electric bill by a substantial amount because these products normally draw “phantom power” even when they are off. No sense in doing that, right? We have them on our computers and our television/DVD player so that at night or when we go away we can just flip the switch and cut off the power completely. Without making a change to the electronics you use, you can cut your consumption by at least 50% and your bill as well. I like this one, as it does everything automatically for me.

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Biodegradable laundry soap. If you are not adventurous enough to make your own, the least you can do is to buy biodegradable soap! It cleans just as well as the big name stuff but does not have any of the nasty chemicals normally found in them. It is better for the environment (you know that water goes somewhere, right?) and it is better for you because the clothes you wear are no longer leeching the chemicals into your skin. It costs no more than the regular stuff, so why not make the change and make a difference? Method and Seventh Generation make some good stuff.

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If you use disposables or cannot go to a straight razor (which I have not done myself because of my fear of cutting my face off), you might want to try a Preserve Razor Triple, which is kind of like the Gillette Mach 3 or other razors, except the handle is made from 100% recycled plastic, they aren’t tested on animals, and they are way cheaper than the refills for other razors. Again, you can mail it back to the company free of charge if you ever need to buy a new handle.

These are 5 very simple and cost effective things you can buy today that A. cost no more than your normal goods and B. help the environment. If you want to make a difference but you feel like you have to live in a cave to do so, these are just a few of the things you can do immediately that will have an impact without affecting the way you live!


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Comments (16)

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  1. Angela says:

    Great info, thanks!

    Don’t forget about rechargeable batteries, recycled printer paper, reusable grocery bags, dryer balls, compact fluorescent light bulbs (cost more but last longer), refillable ink cartridges and pens, and travel mugs (instead of using disposable cups at coffee shops).

    Also, you could buy a programmable thermostat that you can set to turn off when you’re not home or asleep.

  2. Adfecto says:

    These are some great products that I’d never seen before (well except the power strip). I’ll keep my eyes out for them. I don’t have Trader Joe, Whole Foods, or Wild Oats so I’ll keep my eye out for them in Wal Mart. It wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t show up anytime soon.

  3. dawn says:

    I love the power strips…
    We use them religiously to reduce our electric consumption.
    And, thanks for explaining what “recycled” toilet paper actually is. Just the name itself … was enough to keep me from exploring it further. Now I will seek this product out!

  4. david says:

    Glad I could help!

  5. i appreciate it when greenies acknowledge that helping the environment doesn’t usually help our wallets, so I commend you for finding cheap and green alternatives to products we all need!

  6. CindyS says:

    I noticed that Walmart has cloth shopping bags now for $1. They are black and say “Paper or Plastic? Neither” It’s a pretty good price for a shopping bag and I had to drag myself away from them because they were not on my list. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up on my next list. 🙂

  7. David says:

    Can’t beat that Cindy!

  8. […] My Two Dollars gives us five inexpensive things we can buy today that can help the environment. […]

  9. […] Five Inexpensive Things You Can Buy Today that will Help the Environment at My Two Dollars […]

  10. Ann says:

    Found this via David over at Money Ning. These are things I’ll definitely be looking for! I already use the power strips idea. 🙂

  11. david says:

    Cool Ann, glad I could help!

  12. […] Two Dollars has a green post this week, with five inexpensive, relatively necessary things that will help the environment. I didn’t know that yogurt cups could be used in […]

  13. […] Five Inexpensive Things You Can Buy Today That Will Help The Environment. […]

  14. “Without making a change to the electronics you use, you can cut your consumption by at least 50% and your bill as well. I like this one, as it does everything automatically for me.”

    No. You have cut your phantom power use by by at least a third, but your overall consumption will only drop a very tiny amount. But that MATTERS because there are hundreds of millions of devices!

    But don’t buy regular powerstrips if you put them on electronics, as you might as well pay the extra couple bucks for a surge protection version. This can save you from having to replace _all_ of your electronics due to a power surge–think of the waste represented by all those dead devices.

    Also a good idea to contact manufacturers and retailers that you don’t need the convinces offered by phantom power–the problem should go away at it’s source.

    What you get for the phantom power: Saves a few seconds on starting the device.

    How lazy are you? Enough to DIE for it?

    The best bet if you really want to help is to look at the things you do, and how you do them, and see if you can figure a way to do the same things with less of everything, including time–remember that one of the costs of the powerstrip solution is flipping the switch–and remembering to do it.

    There are plenty of itemized lists of things you can do, but the best thing you can do is make saving resources (time, money, labor, materials AND energy) an automatic habit, so that you make a point of consciously DECIDING when you make a choice.

    Bottled water (a current hot topic,) is an example. I heard a radio ad the other day with enthusiastic people cheering the fact that they could buy WATER at 24oz/$.14 or $.75 per gallon. Municipal water in my city (admittedly blessed with clean water wells,) is sold for $.12 per cubic foot (7.48 gallons per cubic foot) or a bit more than 1 1/2 Cents ($.016/gallon) or $.003 per 24 oz. So you’re not only creating plastic waste, drinking water which may be less safe than tap water, but paying over 46 times as much as you need to!

    And that’s at $.14 per bottle, at the usual retail single price of around $1 for a 24 oz bottle, your paying over 333 times the cost of tap water!

    Obviously, the gross profit on water is fantastic, given that I’ve seen bottled water which was bottled from the Missouri River (Kansas City Municipal Water), and several water companies have successfully negotiated deals with cities that provide them with the water basically free of charge (say, $230 for 6.2 BILLION GALLONS!)

    But the insidious thing is that increasingly, large corporations control the water supply for entire cities, and they are working on controlling whole countries!

    You can live for about 5 minutes without air, a couple days without water–what sort of world are we building if such a basic need is controlled by the wealthy? What’s next? Charging us for air?

    Get a canteen or a permanent water bottle, fill it with your own water and save yourself lots of cash and the Earth lots of trash.

  15. Nice post! Some other things you can do to save money and help out the environment is: recycle your old coffee grinds (they’re great fertilizer for potting soil), reuse old CDs (make an art piece or use them on your bike as reflectors), put your computer on sleep mode or turn it off when you’re not using it and trade your stuff, sell it, or donate it instead of throwing it away.

  16. […] Five Inexpensive Things You Can Buy Today That Will Help the Environment – I struggle to balance saving money, saving the environment, and staying healthy. This is a great list! […]

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