About a year and a half ago, did you know how much a barrel of oil cost? I bet you did a year and a half ago… that’s because it was big news. Around June 2008, it was over $125 a barrel. Today, a barrel is in the high seventies. With the recession, unemployment and lower oil prices (though recently they’ve been gaining compared to months ago), the idea of being “green” and ecofriendly has fallen by the wayside. The latest climategate scandal certainly didn’t help but the most recent resurgence can be attributed to the talks in Copenhagen.
In the end, it comes down to simple dollars and cents. There are several ecofriendly things you can do right now that are both simple and money saving. Let’s take a looka t some of them:
- Compost: Composting is a great way to reduce how much trash you produce and get yourself some free fertilizer. Visit How To Compost.org  for some good tutorials and instructions on how composting can help you.
- Recycle: We were given bins from our county but you can simply use cardboard boxes and bags to collect your recycling. Recycling should cost you nothing but a little extra time and every bit helps. Recycle paper reduces the number of trees that are cut down, recycling aluminum and other metals reduce how much must be mined and extracted from the earth, and all of it reduces how much waste gets thrown into our landfills.
- Drop your thermostat temperature: Despite working from home all day, I don’t turn on the heat in the entire house until my wife gets home. I just confine myself to the office, turn on an area space heater, and reduce my energy use by sticking to this one room. There’s no sense heating up the whole house when I’m only able to use one room at a time!
- Become a hypermiler: Realistic hypermiling  is easy, just drive the speed limit and don’t slam on either the brakes or the gas. Simple right? Gas might be cheaper than it was a couple years ago but using less is still cheaper than using more. Also stop hauling around so much junk in your trunk.
- Carpool once a week: It’s hard to carpool, I know because I used to do it. As the rider, you have to adjust your schedule to the driver. As the driver, you try to be as accommodating as you can to the riders. However, carpooling just once a week is the easiest way to shave 15% off your gas bill.
- Stop drinking bottled water: Unless you really enjoy swapping your five dollar bills with one dollar bills, bottled water is really bad on almost every factor except for convenience. It’s more expensive than drinking water from the tap, it doesn’t necessarily taste any better and isn’t any healthier for you, plus think of all the plastic used to make the bottles and the fuel consumed transporting it all around.
- Cook more food at home: We’ve been doing a lot more cooking at home and not only has it saved us money, but it’s better for the environment because we don’t consume a lot of resources by going out. Afterwards, we stick our dishes in the dishwasher for some ecofriendly cleaning.
- Use the dishwasher: When we were younger, we would do the dishes by hand because we thought it was cheaper that way. As it turns out, today’s dishwashers are so efficient it is actually better, financially and ecologically, to use a dishwasher over your hands. Today’s dishwashers use considerably less water than you would.
- Seal up your windows and doors: With winter upon us, one quick way to save on your energy bills is to get plastic sheets to seal your windows and doors. Visit your local home improvement store and you’ll be able to find boxes of this stuff for only a few dollars. By sealing up your windows and doors, you keep cold air out and warm air in.
- Replace regular faucets with low-flow faucets: A great way to reduce water use is to reduce the amount of water coming out of your faucets. I can understand when people don’t want to use low flow shower heads, since you do lose water pressure, but using a low flow faucet is a no brainer. Even if there is a drop in pressure, you probably won’t care.
Ten quick things you can do right now that will help you, the environment, and your wallet. Some of them are so easy, there’s almost no reason not to do it.
What’s your best quick “green” idea?
(Photo: Vali… )