It's hard to ignore the wealth of advertising messages touting the importance of going green. Businesses have embraced this marketing strategy to convince you, the consumer, that they care about the environment. However, it is now just about good business sense. There are several benefits to going green that extend beyond a marketing strategy.
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An obvious benefit of green actions is savings. Going paperless saves you money when you pay bills online. It saves the company money from paper and postage costs. Both you and businesses benefit. Likewise, if you use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), you save money on energy costs. According to Energy Star, each fluorescent bulb you replace an incandescent bulb with will use 75 percent less energy. If you replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 25-watt CFL, you will save over $100 per year, based on U.S. Department of Energy figures.
There are several key benefits to the environment if you recycle and reuse products rather than buy new. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycled products use less energy to produce than items produced from raw materials because the energy costs associated with collecting the raw materials have been eliminated or reduced. It can therefore reduce pollution and help conserve the natural resources. When trees are not harvested for paper products, the carbon dioxide sequestered within the plant material is not released into the air.
Green at Home
Even the simplest of acts can reduce the trash you generate and thus the amount of waste you are contributing to landfills. For example, if you reduced the default margins on your word processing program, you can save a significant amount of paper. A report by Penn State University found that if the university made a similar move in their Center for Academic Computing labs, they would save $120,000 per year in paper costs.
Going green is an effective, long-term solution for economic growth. According to the National Recycling Coalition, the recycling industry is good for the economy, employing over 1 million people and generating over $200 billion in annual revenues. When you recycle, you are contributing to the sustained growth of the economy.
Carbon dioxide is the primary man-made greenhouse gas, according to the U.S. Department of State. When you go green, you are making a commitment to reduce your individual environmental impact. This action may include reducing the amount of carbon dioxide your lifestyle contributes to the atmosphere. When you calculate your carbon footprint, you identify what aspects of your life contribute the most. With this information, you have a blueprint for going green, with specific ways in which you can reduce your environmental impact.