Posts Tagged ‘money savers’

Do pennies make “sense”?

Mike’s Bikes a small franchise in California has banned pennies in its stores. Mike’s states “The world we live in is the world we ride in. To help take good care of it, we have decided to eliminate pennies from our stores. For all cash transactions where pennies would have been used, we will be rounding down in favor of the customer to the nearest nickel.”
Why you ask??? It’s not necessarily for obvious reasons (like pennies weigh your pockets down which was my initial thought!).

Producing pennies uses valuable resources – Pennies are 3% copper and 97% zinc and mining these metals usually means bad news for the environment.

Producing pennies wastes taxpayer money – As of 2010 it cost 1.79 to make each penny!

Rounding down is good for business – Since all transactions will be rounded in favor of the customer, its like getting up to a 4¢ discount.

Dealing with pennies wastes time and money – Its estimated that we spend 12 hours a year handling pennies and it adds 2 to 2.5 seconds per cash transaction.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m not necessarily attached to pennies so their elimination wouldn’t devastate me but it seems like if they were really “unsustainable” they would have met their demise long ago. I also can hear my grandmother’s voice saying “pick up those pennies and save them, pennies make dollars!” I’m very interested to know what you think…..let me know how you feel about the extinction of the penny.

Source: Triple Pundit

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How to save money at the gas pump

gas pump

I have stopped looking at gas prices; I just purchase it when I need it. Has money become no object to me? Not even close, but my sanity is important and constantly watching prices rise was taxing my mental health. One thing I am doing is taking steps to save money on gasoline. There are the obvious tips like reducing your driving time, carpooling or biking but here are some tips you may not be aware of…or may have slipped your mind.


  1. Take your time – For every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph you’re essentially paying an extra 24¢ per gallon of gas. To avoid this try using cruise control and maintain a constant speed.
  2. Keep your “road rage” in check – Aggressive driving, speeding, swerving, impulsive acceleration and braking can lower your highway gas mileage 33% and city mileage 5%. Revving your engine also increases these numbers….
  3. Roll down the windows???? – Please use this tip at your own discretion, not sure how well this will work in Georgia. Air condition can empty your tank at an alarming rate so use it wisely. Don’t leave it on when you don’t need it and never while the windows are down…even cracked. On the other hand when driving over 55 mph for long periods (think road trip) having the windows open increases air resistance and decreases fuel efficiency. Using the AC on road trips can actually improve gas mileage by up to 20%.
  4. MOVE – Not only is idling bad for the environment it’s also bad for your pockets.
  5. Tune it up – Repairing a car that needs a tune up, has a bad oxygen sensor, and changing your oil can boost your fuel efficiency.
  6. Pump it up – Keeping your tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. The makes for a safer ride and extends the life of your tires. Making sure your tires are aligned is also a good idea.
  7. Drop the weight – Carrying extra weight means burning more gasoline.  For every extra 100 pounds your fuel efficiency is cut by 2%. So while most of us aren’t hauling 100 extra pounds of “stuff” you may be carrying something in your trunk that you could remove to reduce the weight of your vehicle. Every little bit helps.
  8. Cap it – Make sure your gas cap has a secure fit and is tightened after each fill-up. If you don’t have a gas cap…make sure you replace it ASAP.

Source: Mother Nature Network

Photo: Washington State

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Making toilet paper at the office

While the article doesn’t give many details, it looks like the White Goat machine turns traditional office paper into toilet paper. In about 30 minutes, the machine converts approximately 40 sheets of office into a fresh roll of toilet paper. The process involves shredding the paper, dissolving it in water, thinning it, drying it and winding the paper around a roll. According to the manufacturers, the White Goat is pricey, retailing at $100,000.  The cost to produce one roll of toilet paper however is cheap at 12¢ per roll.

White Goat machine

Definitely a steal at 12¢ a roll, I wonder how it compares to Charmin or Cottonelle? Can you think of one item that you wouldn’t buy recycled?

Source:  Mother Nature Network

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Have telephone books become extinct?

With all the technology that surrounds me, I no longer have a need for a phone book. Actually, I think it would take me longer to look up a number in a phone book than to find it on the internet. (A side from my personal opinion)…..From an environmental standpoint, about 19 million trees and 7.2 million barrels of oil are used annually in the production of phone books. This equates to a lot of resources being used in the production of an unwanted product.

It seems like the City of Seattle shares my sentiments.

Seattle is on the verge of passing the  nation’s first phone book “opt-out” law. The “opt-out” registry will be funded by publishers through a 14-cent fee for each book distributed. The publishers are upset that the law does not apply to other forms of media and the Yellow Pages Association offers its own “opt-out” option and disagrees with the city maintaining a separate registry.

Seattle officials state that the “opt-out” registry which will be managed by a third party will reduce clutter, increase residential security and save the people of Seattle, money.  explains the nuts and bolts of the new ordinance

THE DETAILS: The Seattle city ordinance would require the various publishers of yellow pages phone books to establish a city-administered opt-out website so people can choose to receive which of the three business phone directories they want, or none at all. The publishers would also be required to pay a licensing fee to cover the cost of operating that site, as well as a $148-per-ton fee for any books that are delivered to residents; that fee is the amount it costs the city to recycle phone books. (The law doesn’t apply to standard residential phone directories, as Washington state law requires that phone companies publish those.)

Not surprisingly, publishers of yellow pages phone books aren’t happy about the new law. Two companies that publish the books, as well as an industry association, have sued the city on the grounds that it infringes on their First Amendment rights to free speech and being able to communicate with whomever they wish. Adding to their complaint, the industry association has already developed a nationwide opt-out site, so a second city-administered site would be redundant. And they’re concerned that, should other cities follow Seattle’s lead, multiple city-administered sites would just create confusion.

WHAT IT MEANS: The ordinance is still being debated in city courts, but it’s scheduled to take effect on January 1. Who will win remains to be seen, but it is a sign that city and local governments are increasingly weary of coping with cumbersome recyclables.

What do you think about Seattle’s new law? Should it be passed? How often do you use your phone book and would you opt-out of receiving one if  you could?


What does “building a green economy mean”?  features an “Earth Talk” column which answers questions about the environment. A Sustainable Life will occasionally share some of these Q&A’s with you.

Dear EarthTalk: What does it mean when one uses the phrase, “building a green economy?” I’ve heard it repeated a few times lately and would like to have a better understanding of the concept.

— Rosie Chang, Islip, NY

The phrase “building a green economy” means different things to different people, but in general it refers to encouraging economic development that prioritizes sustainability—that is, working with nature and not against it in the quest to meet peoples’ needs and wants—instead of disregarding environmental concerns in the process of growing the economy. The primary way governments around the world are trying to “green” their own economies today is by increasing investment in—and, by extension, creating jobs in—industries on the cutting edge of non-polluting renewable forms of energy, such as solar and wind power.

Website Alert: offers lots of choices on ways to browse and search for products


The motto is Buy, Sell and Live Handmade. Founded in June 2005, Etsy is the Ebay of homemade crafts and other goods. Their mission is to enable people to make a living making things! Buyers and sellers can connect on the site to trade goods and to relate to a community of crafters.

Green your 4th of July Festivities

The Fourth of July is soon approaching and with is comes lots of food, friends and fun. Take this opportunity to add some green to your red, white and blue festivities.


While the best thing to do would be to use washable plates, cups, bowls and cutlery we know that this is not feasible. But what works at my house is to write names on everyone’s cups as they arrive and to use bottled beverages instead of cans. When cans are used its impossible to tell one can from another and when we loose our full can of soda in the sea of other cans…what do we do…we get another. Bottled drinks cost less and help people to waste less.

 Get outside

Planning a barbeque in the middle of the day means your guests are less inclined to stay outdoors and more likely to head inside with their plates. Take advantage of cooler evening temps by starting your gathering later in the evening.

 Use propane for grilling

You may want to sit down for this one. Environmental Impact Assessment Review reports that LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is more efficient and has a lower carbon footprint than charcoal (349 kg vs 998 kg). Grilling with charcoal is as American as apple pie so we won’t hold you to the propane…but if you’re willing to try propane in the name of conservation…we tip our hat to you.

Save and reuse your decorations

Wash tablecloths and save extra napkins for next years party. It make take some time to pack the decorations away but next year you’ll be happy that you did.

 Gather in Groups

Instead of purchasing fireworks for a personal backyard display opt for attending a public fireworks display. The fireworks will be bigger, more colorful and save you money.

 Use water coolers

Its so tempting to purchase cases of bottled water but those bottles add up and can spend hundreds of years in a landfill if not recycled properly.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

As host your guests will follow your lead, so if they see you recycling odds are they will too!

Thanks to Earth 911 for sharing these tips and to for the photo.