Simple money saving habits to protect the environment that our Mother Earth and future generations will thank you for.
International Mother Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd, 2018. This day reminds all of us who inhabit this planet, our Mother Earth which is our home, to be jointly responsible to protect the planet well-being. It is also a chance to raise awareness of the challenges faced to protect Earth’s ecosystems that provide us life and fuel for survival.
Many of us in the pursuit of a better lifestyle tend to forget the impact of our actions on this planet. People seek convenience in their daily activities not realising it is at the expense of our planet.
How can we play a role to protect our Mother Earth, common home for us and our future generations? Plenty! It starts with practicing the 3R lifestyle!
Here are some simple daily habits you could adopt that our planet and future generations will thank you for. Individually, the impact may seem immaterial but collectively it will be substantial and quantifiable.
1. Use Less Electricity/Energy
Conserve energy (saving on your electricity bill) by changing your daily habits at home such as:-
- Use air conditioner only when necessary. This appliance consumes the most electricity. Adjust the temperature to a level that is comfortable and set it at “auto” or to turn off after the room is cool.
- Unplug appliances which are not in use for long periods. Putting your TV on standby mode or switched-off but still plugged in will consume electricity i.e. “phantom loads”. This type of “unseen” consumption can set you back up to 10% of your electricity bill.
- Change traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs which consume up to 80% less energy and last 25 times longer.
- Hang-dry clothes instead of using a dryer machine
- Wash dishes by hand
- Use energy-efficient appliances. Though the price is higher you can save up to 25% electricity consumption which pays off in the long run.
You can conserve energy by recycling existing materials into new things. You can also earn money by selling recyclable items to a recycling centre or mobile recycling trucks.
Separate your garbage to two categories – “Disposable waste” and “Recyclable”.
The following are some example of items for recycling:-
- Metals: Aluminium cans, foil and bakeware, steel cans and tin cans
- Paper-based: Corrugated cardboard, magazines, office paper, newspaper, paper boards, phone books, juice cartons
- Plastic: There are seven types of plastic, but it’s only practical to recycle three types in Malaysia. (Learn more here)
- Batteries*: Car battery, Rechargeable battery, Household/button battery
- Electronics* (e-waste): Computers, office equipment (photocopiers, printers, fax machines), TV, Consumer electronics, cell phones.
Do note that there are some non-recyclable e-waste that needs to be properly disposed off. Contact your local municipality to find out more.
- Smoke alarms/detectors
- Fire alarms/detectors
- Large appliances i.e. refrigerator
*Note: For recycling batteries and electronics, please check your local directories for recycling centres that accept such items. (Learn more on e-waste)
3. Cycle and Walk More, Drive Less
Instead of driving to nearby places, try cycling or even walking. Less driving will reduce the greenhouse effect that contributes to climate change, reduce smog that can cause various health issues, and save you money on petrol and vehicle maintenance. Furthermore, you get to exercise for basically free. Other options include using public transportation, and carpooling.
4. Conserve Water
Though two thirds of Earth is covered in water, only 1% of the water is consumable i.e. fresh water. The rest is salt water which is not suitable for drinking. With the world’s population continuing to increase, it is our responsibility to conserve water now for the future generations. The following are some examples of actions we could take to conserve water.
- Don’t let the tap run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Use a cup.
- Wash your own car (and save up to RM10 per wash). Invest in a water container, hose nozzle or waterless car wash.
- Collect and safely store rainwater for washing your car, watering your plants, or cleaning your porch.
Tip: Be careful to avoid it being a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Install a low flow shower head, aerator and low flow toilet flush.
- Reduce showering time (and sing outside the washroom).
- Don’t use your toilet bowl as your garbage bin (and avoid potential costly unclogging fees)
- Repair water leaks quickly (as your money is literally dripping away).
- Wash clothes on a full load when using a washing machine.
- When washing dishes, don’t leave the tap continuously running.
- When having a hot bath, collect the cold running water while waiting for your water to heat up.
5. Shop Wisely
Below are tips to conserve and reduce waste even while shopping.
- Bring your own food container when buying cooked food. Say no to non biodegradable Styrofoam and plastic.
- Bring a reusable shopping bag instead of using plastic bags.
- Go vegetarian or skip meat once a week. Meat production requires high resources in terms of grains and water to feed livestock just to produce single serving.
- Avoid buying plastic bottled water. Instead, use a reusable water container.
- Buy second-hand or pre-loved items when possible saving you money and again reducing wastage on perfectly good items.
- Use less tissue paper. Often half a paper is enough or use a cotton towel instead.
- Download music (legally) or stream instead of buying a piece of plastic.
6. Reuse and DIY
DIY using recyclable items
Many toys and home decoration and be do-it-yourself (DIY) using used materials in your home (e.g. bottles, cans, toilet paper rolls). Before throwing things away, check if it can be repurposed or used as a DIY project. YouTube has a wealth of ideas and various simple tutorials.
Buy and selling pre-loved items
Online portals such as Mudah and Lelong are a good platform for selling and buying pre-loved items. Often you can find great deals on products as good as new at a much lower price. You can also sell your used items to brick and mortar 2nd hand good dealers such as Cash Converter.
Get the most usage with items
Take care of your things so it lasts longer. For example, see clothes handling label before you wash, regularly clean and maintain appliances, and send your car for regular scheduled maintenance. Share usage with friends seldom used items such as barbecue sets, tents, and occasion decorative items.
7. Give to Charitable Organisations.
You may think your old fridge which hums and is no longer it’s original colour is ready for the rubbish dump. But think again! Giving your pre-loved fridge or other useful items to an orphanage or charitable organisation is a true gift! Check what charitable organisations need and how you can help make giving a win-win while decluttering your life.
Participate, volunteer or even organize your community’s clean-up program. Play a role in keeping your communities clean and saving our planet for the future generation. It’s a good way to make your body move and sweat. And there’s the added benefit of making new friends and growing your network.
All these are examples of simple money-saving actions we can incorporate into our daily life to protect the environment. You can play your part for our one and only earth. Now what are you going to do today?
Do you part to save and protect mother earth by sharing any tips you have, and sharing this article with your friends and social media.
He has 25 years working experience in different finance-related jobs. He is now a consultant, and personal finance and business writer. His main goal is to help and educate non-finance professionals to understand and solve their personal finances problems. He believes everyone should be financially literate because everything we do has money implications!
Eric currently resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with his wife and two young children.