Inexpensive Tips For A Greener Life After College.

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This is the third article in a series on Life Skills for the New Graduate by The Life Skills Network. All week we’ll be featuring tips for new grads. See the bottom of this post for details and the rest of the lineup!

So, you just finished up college and it’s time to move out on your own…and pay for everything yourself! No more leaving the lights on all day, taking a shower after each meal, or accidentally heading out with the television on – it’s time to get serious about saving some cash and greening up your post college life. Luckily, I have a few inexpensive tips for your post-college life that are both light on your wallet and easy on the earth…

Put everything on power strips and turn them off at night. Why continue to send power to your stereo/tv/computer if you are not using it?

Run your dishwasher only when it is full. Make sure you make the best use of the water and energy needed to run a dishwasher!

Wash your clothes only in cold water. We have not used hot water for our clothes in years and they are no worse for wear.

Stop junk mail from coming to your mailbox. Try Opt Out Prescreen and Catalog Choice to start the process, free of charge.

Replace your light bulbs with CFL’s or LED lights. A small upfront investment can save hundreds of dollars (and a lot of energy) over the lifespan of these bulbs.

Buy toothbrushes made out of recycled yogurt cups from Preserve. We have been buying these for years now, and the company even takes them back when you are done with them, free of charge, to turn them into playground mats!

Use rags instead of paper towels. A few bucks up-front save you from buying paper towels and saves them from ending up in a landfill.

Pull down the shades in the middle of the day on your south-facing windows. Keeps out the heat in the middle of the summer, lowering your AC bill.

Stop buying batteries over and over again. Pick yourself up some rechargeables and pay only once!

Line dry your clothes. Need I say more?

Buy biodegradable laundry soap. No one says you have to use what your parents used, check out brand like Method, Seventh Generation, and Ecover. They cost the same as the “regular” brands but don’t leave behind any toxic trail!

Install low-flow shower heads. If you get a good one, they can use 1/2 of the water of a regular one, but give you a much stronger water spray. Trust me on this one!

And finally, stop it with the single use water bottles! Tap water in most cities is actually better then many bottled waters. The amount of plastic that gets tossed into the trash every day from these bottles is astounding, so switching to a reusable water bottle will really have an impact.

Here is the rest of the lineup for the Life Skills for the New Graduate series:

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  1. Great tips! Don’t forget that you can reuse many things, like coffee grinds (which work great as fertilizer on soil), CDs (make a piece of art or use as a reflector on your bike wheels) and 2 L plastic soda bottles (as planters).

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