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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Green today
Learn 153 ways to be eco-friendly while saving green.
Green today
153 ways to go green
School/career: Long haul
Tips » Long haul $ Factor
Tip 54:
Reduce junk mail at work.
Many people take the time to opt out of mailing lists to get less junk mail at home, but company mail slots can get just as full of stuff we don't need, using up trees. According to the National Waste Prevention Coalition, a study in one Seattle-area mailroom found that staff spent 25 percent of their time sorting advertising-related mail. Request removal from irrelevant mailing lists and cancel trade magazines that go unread. Companies can have a preprinted postcard made for easier action on the mail front.
$ Factor:
Having less junk mail to deal with can equal having more time for the business at hand. Productivity is priceless.
Tip 55:
Commute smart.
That means walking or biking to work or the classroom if practical, or the ever-promoted public transportation option. Car and van pools are possibilities, too. Only 31 percent of children who live less than a mile from school actually walk there, and only 2.5 percent of students who live within two miles of school get there by bike. Half of all students go to school by car.
$ Factor:
Filling up your gas tank less often can mean savings of $100 or more per month, plus less wear and tear on your car. The ideal scenario is working for a company with commuter benefits; more than 1,600 U.S. worksites have earned the EPA's Best Workplaces for Commuters designation for benefits such as transit and vanpool subsidies and telework options. If just 6 percent of the students mentioned earlier walked, it would save 1.5 million drop-offs and pickups -- and 60,000 gallons of gasoline -- a day. And the 600,000 students who bike to school are saving almost 100,000 gallons of gasoline a day.
Tip 56:
Commute short.
If possible, find an employer close to home. A short commute is an easier one -- on you and on the environment.
$ Factor:
Again, lower gas consumption means fewer tank fill-ups.
Tip 57:
Do you need a whole car?
Consider car-sharing on campus or if you live or work in an urban center. Self-service, on-demand cars from companies like Zipcar are available in 23 U.S. cities and on dozens of college campuses -- allowing the convenience of having a car when necessary without killing the environment and denting the checkbook by owning a car.
$ Factor:
Zipcar's savings calculator indicates a Minneapolis resident who spends $790 a month on a car (including car payment, financing, insurance, gas, license, registration, taxes, maintenance and parking) could save up to $668 a month by using a Zipcar 16 times a month for one hour each time, at a cost of $122 a month. That is a savings of $8,021 per year. A Zipcar survey found that more than 40 percent of customers have either sold their cars or changed their minds about purchasing one.
Tip 58:
Tap the tap.
Each year, 89 billion liters of water are bottled, using about 1.5 million tons of plastic. Encourage your school or workplace to get a filtration system for the faucet instead, and it'll be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Besides, many bottled-water companies use tap water anyway.
$ Factor:
According to one online analysis, 260 five-gallon water bottles delivered a year at $1.50 per gallon would cost $1,950 over five years and $15,600 over 40 years, while filtration systems cost a lost less. For example, a plastic faucet-mounted, solid-carbon block filter would cost $195 over five years but only $1,665 over 40.
Tip 59:
Seek an eco-friendly company.
Employers that consider themselves green often tout their programs in recruitment efforts. Two Web sites that can help in the search: Simply Hired's Eco-Friendly Companies search engine (www.simplyhired.com/ecofriendly) and SustainableBusiness.com's Green Dream Jobs section (www.sustainablebusiness.com/jobs).
$ Factor:
Besides the satisfaction that comes with knowing your employer values sustainability, some companies offer employee incentives to go green. Take the Drive Clean to Drive Change initiative, launched in 2004 by Hyperion. The program offers any active full-time employee of the software giant $5,000 for buying a hybrid car that gets better than 45 miles per gallon.
Tip 60:
Carpooling saves time and money. On a typical day, the average mother with school-age children spends 66 minutes driving -- taking more than five trips to and from home and covering 29 miles. The average commuter carpooling every day would save 500 gallons of gasoline, and 550 pounds of poisonous exhaust emission every year.
$ Factor:
If more moms carpooled, it would save them all that time and gas driving. It also would reduce congestion, which costs Americans $78 billion a year in wasted fuel and lost time. Commuters sharing a ride to work would be the equivalent of taking 67.5 million cars off the road -- four times the number of new cars sold in the U.S. per year.
-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007

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