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penny_piggy_bank(MCT)—Many times when we talk about “going green” we think about how much green it will cost us. However, there are many ways to live a healthier life and be gentler on the environment without spending a single penny. Here are five simple ways to Do Your Part and not only are they all free — some solutions will also save you money.

Stop Buying Water

Ditching plastic bottles of water and using reusable containers will save big bucks in the long run. But there are other situations where we pay for water without realizing it. Opting to buy concentrated juices is a cheaper alternative to buying many jugs of juice. You’ll save about a nickel on ounce. And, instead of using expensive irrigation systems in your yard, rain barrels or other collection devices will do the work for free.

Sell the Small Stuff

Got gadgets and other electronics collecting dust around your home? They are valuable even if they don’t work. Many major retailers now accept old electronics and will give you a store gift card in return. And, many online sites will pay to have you ship them your stuff and you’ll get a check after they receive it. These items get resold or recycled for metal. Check DoYourPart.com/Columns for a list of resources. Also, consider taking gently worn clothing, sporting equipment, and even children’s gear to consignment shops to earn a few dollars.

Refuse to Waste Gas

No one likes what it costs to fill up our cars at the gas station. To maximize your fuel efficiency and lower toxic emissions, make sure to keep your tires properly inflated, avoid aggressive driving where you accelerate and brake frequently, use cruise control on flat terrain, avoid driving around with extra weight, and keep up with routine maintenance. Another smart idea is to turn the engine off when you’ll be idling for more than 30 seconds in places such as carpool lines.

Put an End to Paper Towels

What’s worse than throwing out barely used paper towels? Spending all that money on them. The cheapest paper towels on the market are about a dollar per roll. If you go through two rolls a week, that’s more than $200 a year! Save that money and keep dish towels and rags handy. It’s much more eco-friendly to launder them than it is to keep buying one-use paper towels.

Lighten Your Laundry Load

Get this, up to 85 percent of the energy used to wash clothes comes from heating up the water. When you switch to cold water you’ll see instant energy savings and your clothes will still get clean.

Visit DoYourPart.com/Columns for more everyday living solutions to have you saving even more green.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at DoYourPart.com. Send questions to terri@doyourpart.com.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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