» Patrick Pierce – ppierce3@my.apsu.edu

One of the myths about going green is getting started costs a lot of money. Truth be told, there are several ways one can go green without ever breaking the bank.

If you are like me and are a college student on a budget or simply want to spend less, you can still make a positive impact on the environment without ever spending a dime. In fact, you can potentially even save money over time. Here are a number ways you can help make a difference.

1. Stop drinking from plastic bottles. Each and every day, I see several people across campus drinking from a plastic bottle. A typical soda from a vending machine can cost $1.25 and buying one everyday to quench your thirst can be expensive. You can always reuse a plastic bottle, though, right?

Well, not really, because the components which make up a plastic bottle can pose serious health risks and, when broken down, can leech toxins into your drink.

An alternative is to buy a metal bottle. The initial cost is about $5 from your local Walmart, but you can reuse it without the risk of health issues. Just remember to clean it properly.

2. Another efficient method is to replace some, if not all, your light bulbs from standard incandescent bulbs to spiral CFL bulbs, or Compact Fluorescents. Here’s a situation where there is a small initial cost. The average CFL bulb utilizes about 75 percent less energy and lasts much longer. Not only would you be using less energy, you would get the same amount of light and save money on your next electric bill.

3. Find alternative means of transportation. In this day and age, driving is almost a necessity to get from place to place. Key word — almost.

There are other means of transportation, including riding a bike or just walking, which can be much healthier for you and cut back on costs of filling up your gas tank.

This isn’t possible for every situation though. It’s nearly impossible to buy a week’s worth of groceries and walk back home with them, but you can be smart about it. Combine errands for the week into one trip or consider carpooling.

4. Take shorter showers. I’m bad at this one myself. I love my showers in the morning, but taking a five minute shower over a 10 or even 15 minute shower makes a significant difference to both your wallet and the environment.

It’s true, the Earth is composed of 77 percet water, but of that 77 percent, only a mere fraction of a percent is usable for human consumption.

There isn’t an endless water supply, so we need to do all we can to sustainably use the little water source we have. This is a start, and it’s truly a simple concept, but it can make a huge difference.

5. Unplug unused chargers and appliances. This is another idea many people don’t think about as efficient. However, even if the appliance isn’t being utilized, it is still taking energy in when it’s plugged into the wall. Similarly, as I mentioned in a recent article, when you aren’t using your computer, turn it off and then unplug it. This is such a simple concept many of us overlook, but it can become noticeable, financially and environmentally.

There are many other ways to go green efficiently that require little to no initial cost. Don’t wait until Earth Day to start making a difference for the environment.

Give these ideas a try, or go bold and find some of your own. So what are you waiting for? Go green today; save green tomorrow. TAS