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Green Hawaii

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10 Small Ways to Save the World (and Your Wallet!)

Check out some little steps to lighten your carbon footprint and leave more cash in your pocket. 

1. Clean with less.

The same eco-friendly product that kills germs in the bathroom will pull double duty in the kitchen. Invest in one or two Earth-friendly products and leave the rest on the store shelf. Find lists of certified green products at epa.gov/dfe/ and greenseal.org.

2. Be a light saver.

Find out how much money you can save each year by switching to LED and CFL bulbs by visiting the light bulb savings calculator at nationalgeographic.com/environment/energy.

3. Turn off the vent fan.

Vent fans can suck a whole houseful of cool air outside in just one hour. As soon as kitchen, bath or other vent fans have done their job, flip them off to save on your cooling bill. Replace fans with ENERGY STAR® vent fans, which use 60 percent less energy than nonqualified models. Find out more at energystar.gov.

4. Wipe out paper towels.

Families spend as much as $260 per year on paper towels and napkins (source: earth911.org). Instead, invest in a set of cotton napkins for the table, rags for mild cleaning and old, recycled T-shirts and sweatshirts for heavy-duty jobs.

5. Borrow that power tool.

Studies show that a typical power tool is used for only one half hour in its lifespan! Find out if your neighbor can lend you a tool before shelling out for one at the home-improvement store.

6. Ditch plastic sandwich bags.

On average, each of us spends $50 to $70 annually on plastic sandwich bags (source: brightbin.com). Put that cash to better use by buying reusable lunch containers and save hundreds of dollars over the life of your career and your child’s education.

7. Be feather-light on the brake.

You could save as much as $.85 per gallon. Riding your car’s brake pedal brings down fuel economy and causes brakes to overheat and wear down more quickly, bringing you into the shop sooner for costly repairs.

8. Put your computer to sleep sooner.

You can save more than 400 kilowatt-hours annually ($40 to $80) by reducing the time set for the computer to switch into power-save or “sleep” mode. Visit thedailygreen.com/green-homes/blogs/diy-hacks/ for instructions.

9. Know what “organics” to buy.

Find out which organic items are worth the money, and which items are relatively safe without the organic label. Download the Environmental Working Group's free “Dirty Dozen” app at foodnews.org or at the iTunes store.

10. Swap out something processed for something pure.

At your next grocery outing, replace one processed item with something unprocessed. Try brown rice instead of white, or whole-wheat pasta, for example. Processed foods generally are harder on the planet to produce and less healthy than local, whole foods.

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