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10 Ways to Save the Planet, and Your Wallet

This post was graciously contributed by Ali Kalis of Recyclebank.

Whether for ourselves, our families or both, most of us want to become environmentally friendly and make the right choices. But sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to do, or where to find the time to do it! Recyclebank is devoted to help you learn how to go green in your everyday life, giving you that little extra nudge to change your eco-habits. For Earth Month, we put our brains together and collected 10 simple tips that will help save the planet, and your bank account.

 10 Tips to Save Green by Going Green – Annual Average Savings

tree grows from wallet

  1. Shorten Your Shower – Hop out five minutes earlier and you can save 350 pounds of CO2 emission and nearly $100 each year. Savings: $99
  2. Sell Unused Sporting Equipment – Collect that unused treadmill, in-line skates and soccer equipment collecting dust in the basement and turn it into cash. Just bring your old sports equipment to Play it Again Sports (locations across the country) and they will determine the value of your items and either pay you on the spot or let you trade in for something else. Savings: $100
  3. Cool it Down – Refrigerators use more electricity than any other household appliance, almost five times more than the average TV. Setting your refrigerator between 37°F and 40°F will keep your food stored at a safe temperature without wasting energy. By using a programmable thermostat, you can save up to $150 each year on your energy bill. Savings: $150
  4. Don’t Let Good Deeds go Unrewarded – We all try to do small things every day to help the environment, but did you know your good deeds can also be rewarded? Our website is a free site where members who pledge to use less energy, learn how to increase their green activities or simply recycle more earn points that they can use for great discounts and deals. Our members earn upwards of $133 a year in reward value — including huge money-saving coupons for Kashi  , Honest Tea and Stonyfield Yogurt. Time these coupons to sales in stores and you can often get items for free. Savings: $130
  5. Recycle Old Electronics – Don’t just shove them in a bottom drawer or toss them in the trash—you can recycle old electronics for cash and avoid additional strain on the planet. Sites like will pay you for laptops, cell phones, chargers and other items. Even older electronics still have parts of value. Savings: $125
  6. Smartly Sell Your Books – There are lots of websites that buy used books, but how do you know what your books are REALLY worth? One site may offer to buy your Steinbeck for a buck, while another could be willing to offer $20. makes it easy: simply type in the ISBN code from your book and it automatically scans all book buying sites for the best deal. Spend a rainy weekend with your old novels and you could re-coup tons of money. Savings: $50
  7. Power Down – Your home entertainment center can use up to 10 percent of your home’s overall energy, even when the devices are turned off but still plugged in. But unplugging your TV, DVD player and other devices can be difficult to do every night. New power strips now feature a remote control that you simply flip to turn off the power. By doing this each time you turn off your TV, you can save up to $200 a year in energy costs. Savings: $200
  8. Use Your Local Library – The average American family spends about $118 on reading materials. Why not visit your local library and get your books for free! Or start a book share with your neighbors and take turns reading those bestsellers and classics. Savings: $118
  9. Sell Outgrown Clothes – The average American throws out 68 pounds of clothes a year, and most of it is children’s clothes. Gently used kids clothing can be resold through a free service called ThredUp. On average, a user gets about $10 for each box or $20 for each bag you fill with gently used clothes. They do all the work: sending you the box, sorting, selling and finding a buyer for your clothes. All you do is mail it in and wait for your check. Savings: $50 (for two bags and a box)
  10. Start a Garden – It takes 18 years for one corn cob to decompose in a landfill, but only a couple of months in a compost pile! Create a compost pile in your backyard or get a green bin from your local garbage man if you don’t have one already. The backyard compost pile is a great activity for the whole family—once it turns to soil, kids can help plant a garden. You can actually save hundreds of dollars a year by growing your own veggies. Check out some info on how to get started. Savings: $200


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Saturday, April 21, 2012

preserve the earth – the Dalai Lama speaks on climate change

yoga sunset

I recently had the great honor to see His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet speak at my home school, the University of San Diego this past Wednesday, April 18th. His Holiness spoke at all three San Diego Universities: University of San Diego, San Diego State University, and University of California San Diego over the course of two days. He presented on different issues at each school, but chose the University of California San Diego to discuss “The Global Impact of Climate Change: Balance through Universal Responsibility, Compassion and Human Consciousness”.

As a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama certainly provided an abundance of insight into how to uphold our responsibility as humans to the preserve the earth we inhabit. The Dalai Lama expressed the critical message that global climate change is not only a political or social issue. It is scientific. He stressed that the problem is upon us and is not a ploy for political attention, but an empirically backed reality.

His solution to this problem begins not with a debate about the issue, but with collaboration. He emphasizes that we, humanity as a whole, must work in conjunction to address our roles in climate change in order to slow and reverse its effects on the world around us. He advised his audience, composed of students, faculty, and guests from around the world, that “The world belongs to humanity … America belongs to the people … not Republicans or Democrats”, and that in addressing an issue as wide-scale as global climate change, the only way to preserve our own survival is to change collectively as a whole, not as a division of political parties.

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