You can go green in how you buy, how you make money and how you are entertained, including the food you eat!
The challenge with going green is that it often costs too much in the early stages, preventing growth of an important part of an industry we all care about. This was seen in the late ‘90’s when GM’s EV1 had a monthly lease price between $399 and $549, and until recently with the cost of solar panels on one’s home.
Over the years we’ve tried several methods of going green, and some have succeeded. For instance, we’ve sourced our paper ethically, packaged our products in plastic bags that biodegrade, and have even made some money by selling our waste – scraps of paper, that is.
For consumers who are looking to save money while also being environmentally conscious, we’ve come up with the following ways that you can help yourself and the planet.
FSC Certified Products
Naturally, we love this option because it involves us! However, there are other FSC products you can buy, too.
Office Depot has a brand of copy paper that is FSC Certified, and Viva paper towels are made from bamboo fiber. Kleenex is also a great line as is a line of food products called If You Care that has sandwich bags, baking cups, and more.
However, this only deals with paper, and for those looking for paperless solutions, we have those, too.
Get Paid to Have Solar Panels
If you own a large building you can actually make money by renting your roof to a solar leasing company. These businesses want to outfit your roof (or land) with panels so they can make money. In exchange, they will pay you rent.
For some perspective, Kleer-Fax received a quote from a company in New York City called SunRay Power in 2013 for $10,800 a year for 20 years. It was not the right deal for us at the time, but the concept is extremely attractive because rather than take from our profits to create a sinking fund for our roof, we would let the roof more than pay for itself.
There’s more money to be made by owning your own solar panels, but there’s also a large upfront cost, or a large amount of debt taken on. In this case, you can get the solar panels, get paid, and pay nothing. If a hailstorm or tornado damages the PV array system, the leasing company is on the hook for it while you go on with your business as usual. If you buy the panels yourself, there’s more potential upside, but you’re also in a whole new business that involves making sure you get the most out of your solar panels.
Outside of products we need and those for a business, there are also those that deal with our rest & relaxation.
Read E-Books; Stream TV
There was a time when owning many books was a status symbol. Books were expensive, and a great way to display one’s wealth. Today, many people still like to display their eclectic taste through the display of their books, but the challenge is that they take up unnecessary space, particularly when e-readers have become much more agreeable to view and travel with.
If you’re thinking, wait a minute, it costs fuel to charge an e-reader, you’re right. However, the latest Amazon Kindle weighs only 7.2 ounces whereas the latest Alex Cross book from James Patterson (the world’s best-selling author) weighs 24 ounces – more than 3 times as much. If every passenger on a plane had a tablet instead of a book or magazine, or both, it would reduce the plane’s fuel output as a result of the lower payload. Additionally, the cost of shipping the goods before and after sale (not to mention the raw materials) is reduced, as well.
On to movies and TV:
While a vast collection of VHS tapes never impressed anyone, there are still some who prefer to buy DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, as well as discs for video games. This is particularly true for gift giving. After all, it’s more fun to wrap the latest GTA for a grandchild than it is to give her a pre-loaded card allowing him to buy what she wants through an X-Box or Play Station.
By streaming what we watch, or using YouTube, podcasts, Netflix, etc., not only are we reducing all of the junk we accumulate, we’re also saving money – the other kind of green living we care about – making it doubly as good.
Older Tried & True Ideas
Beyond these great ideas – renting out your roof, buying ethically sourced goods and forgoing the purchase of hardware for entertainment, we can also
- Walk places instead of drive
- Lower your thermostat in the winter by 2 degrees
- Eat less meat
If the last one sounds weird, we recommend you click the link for a simple explanation. Basically, cows and other animals require a lot of energy (fuel) to be raised. For those who are worried about protein deficiencies, there is a surprising amount of protein in certain vegetables, including spinach, broccoli and romaine lettuce. And, besides, going without meat for a day won’t kill you, but it could leave the world a better place for future generations.
Hopefully, this has served you well.
Remember, you can go green in how you buy, how you make money, and how you are entertained, including the food you eat!