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10 sustainability tips to help save the planet and save you money

If you’ve been paying attention to recent news headlines about the state of our environment, it’s clear that our planet needs help. Yet, for many of us, the concept of sustainable living can seem daunting and costly. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking of ‘living green’ as being a luxury, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are many eco-friendly changes that you can easily make to your lifestyle that will actually save you money in the long run – a win-win for the planet and your bank account!

Here are 10 ways that you can live more sustainably, while also saving money:

  1. Unplug electronics. Did you know that even when your electronics are turned off they are still using energy? Unplug all electronics when not in use to conserve power and save on your energy bills.
  2. Wash clothes in cold water and hang to dry. Washing your clothes in cold water will not only help you to reduce your energy use, but it will also help to extend the life of your clothing. By making the simple switch to cold-water washing and air-drying, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and see the difference on your next utility bill.
  3. Avoid running a half-full dishwasher. Doing your part to help the environment can really be a change as easy as this. Try to run your dishwasher only when full. Also, avoid using disposable dishes when possible.
  4. Seal drafty windows and doors. Use weather stripping or caulk around windows and doors to prevent energy loss and better manage your home’s temperature. Not only will this reduce your energy consumption (and the cost of your energy bill), but a sustainability-focused home renovation like this could also be eligible for a provincial energy efficient tax credit. 
  5. Turn up the temperature in your fridge. Many Canadians have their refrigerators set to a temperature much lower than it needs to be. This results in an unnecessary use of electricity and can also cause food to spoil sooner. To avoid excessive electrical use, your refrigerator’s temperature should be around 1.6 °C. Turning your fridge up to the recommended temperature not only helps to lower your electrical bill, it could also help reduce food waste. 
  6. Bring your own bag. Many grocery stores charge for the purchase of plastic grocery bags, which can add up after a while. Save money and cut down on your plastic waste by bringing your own reusable bags. To make it even easier to follow through on this sustainability tip, keep a reusable bag in your car, briefcase, backpack or handbag so you’re never without one.
  7. Purchase second-hand when possible. Before making a purchase, ask yourself, “Is this something I need to purchase new?” If not, try to find a gently used alternative at a second-hand store, garage sale or online marketplace. You’ll cut down on unnecessary waste while saving yourself a few dollars in the process.
  8. Make a meal plan. ‘Meal planning’ has recently become a buzzworthy topic in the health and food industries, and for good reason. Taking the time at the beginning of each week to plan your meals results in less food waste, less temptation to buy unnecessary items and less excuses to purchase expensive take-out. Meal planning will save you time, save money on your grocery bill and reduce your food and plastic waste.
  9. Drive less. Start by looking for other transportation options to replace your morning commute. Organizing a car pool with colleagues, planning a public transportation route and walking or biking are all environmentally-friendly options that will help you avoid gas-wasting rush hour traffic. 
  10. Conserve fuel when driving. If you do have to drive, there are simple steps you can follow to reduce your carbon footprint and save on fuel costs. Gently accelerating, coasting to decelerate, maintaining proper tire pressure, turning off your engine when parked and avoiding idling are all things you can do to reduce your fuel emissions and be a more sustainable driver. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, consider a fuel-efficient car that will save you money on gas and could qualify you for an insurance discount. Be sure to talk to your insurance broker.

We all have the power to make small changes today that help to ensure a sustainable future for the leaders of tomorrow. If you’d like to inquire about insurance discounts for hybrid vehicles, contact your OTIP broker today at 1-866-561-5559 to discuss your insurance options. 


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