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If you’re looking to do right by the planet without buying a hybrid sedan or expensive organic sheets, don’t stress. There are plenty of other ways you and your kids can help both the earth and your budget. These cost-saving, eco-friendly tips from hy-vee.com can be adapted to fit the lifestyles of most families:

Recycle It. Most communities have some type of recycling program. Encourage your kids to recycle bottles and cans and let them keep the cash. Teach them that wise saving and spending is good for both the planet and themselves.

Change It. If every American household replaced one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) together we’d prevent greenhouse gases equal to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. If you hesitate to pay the higher up-front cost of CFLs, you may be encouraged to know that they last up to 75 percent longer than incandescent bulbs and use much less energy, meaning you’ll save as much as $30 over the lifetime of the bulb.

Bag It. According to The Wall Street Journal, Americans use 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. Reduce waste by toting your purchases home in sturdy reusable bags, available at most local grocery stores. Bags come in a variety of styles and some are insulated to keep food cold during transport.

Park It. To reduce gas consumption, which is better for both the environment and your pocketbook, eliminate at least one car trip a week in favor of walking, biking or riding public transportation. Carpool whenever possible.

Shop for It. Look for items containing recycled materials. Also consider the amount of packaging and whether or not that is recyclable.

Clean It. Buy eco-friendly cleaning products that are made from naturally derived ingredients. Or tackle cleaning jobs with homemade cleaners, such as baking soda or a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water.

Here are two more ideas rapidly gaining in popularity:

Trade It. Instead of buying new things, use the barter system to swap unused items for those you need. Websites like Craig’s List facilitate this process. You can also trade services with friends and neighbors.

Eat It. Backyard gardens (and some in the front yard!) are springing up in many communities. If you don’t have space to grow your own veggies, try to get a plot in a neighborhood garden. Growing some of your own food lowers your grocery bill; it also helps the environment by reducing your consumption of trucked-in foods. Plus, you can enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, organically grown produce.

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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