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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Personal impact
How the movement to protect the planet affects you.
Personal impact
5 worst excuses not to go green
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When Stafford recently remodeled a bathroom in his home, he tried to use nontoxic and energy-efficient items.

"I found all of these things at Home Depot and Lowe's," he says.

"The greenness almost became secondary," he says. "Most consumers don't buy products to save the planet. They buy products because it's going to clean their carpets, it's going to nourish them, it's going to provide them warmth."

Excuse No. 5: 'I don't know where to start.'
You may already be environmentally friendly, but just don't know it. If you buy bulk items from wholesale warehouses such as Costco, you are using less packaging and helping the environment, Kostigen says.

Another easy way to start relates to your computers. When they're not in use, but still plugged in, they're draining a little bit of energy out of your wall outlet, Powers says. "That's costing money and that's costing global warming initiatives, for no reason at all," she says.

She suggests plugging computers and other items into a power bar and flipping the switch off when you're not using them. That could account for as much as 10 percent off your electric bill.

Those cute screen savers also aren't needed anymore because of new technology, Powers says, but when you're using them, the computer is operating at full power. She recommends getting rid of the screen saver and putting the computer into sleep mode when you're away from it.

Once you realize you can take these simple no-cost steps, Kostigen believes it will lead to recycling efforts or thinking of the environment when buying bigger-ticket items, such as appliances, cars or homes. Another simple way to begin is having bills sent to you via e-mail instead of postal mail.

"I think once we're presented with a raft of opportunities, we'll take the ones that really resonate with us the most and the ones that we can really relate to the most," says Kostigen.

-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007

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