3. Alternative Energy Solutions
Continuing with this discussion of smart energy use, you can further minimize your impact on the environment by considering alternative energy sources. Instead of plugging all your electronic goodies into the wall, perhaps you can think about a solution like the Solio Solar Charger shown above.
This handheld device soaks in the power of the sun and then it can be translated to mini-USB power for all sorts of portable electronics, including cell phones, PDAs, digital cameras, MP3 players, and more. I've also seen a number of iPhone cases that integrate a solar panel.
Another alternative is the Ecosol Powerstick, though that isn't quite as green as the Solio Solar Charger.
4. Buying Local, Combining Shipments
Your environmental impact extends far beyond your immediate vicinity. Every time that you pick up a new toy, that new toy had to be manufactured, packaged, and shipped. Seeing how very few of us have manufacturing plants in our backyards, the shipping process is inevitable, so you might as well make it as efficient as possible.
When you buy from a local retail store, there's a good chance that the store bought your selected product in bulk. Shipping one big box is better for the environment than shipping several small boxes in separate trips.
Yes, you'll still want to look for deals online, but when you take that route, try to be as efficient as possible as to minimize the impact of transportation. Buy several items at once. Combine your order with your neighbors. This way, you not only save on overall shipping, but you also minimize the carbon footprint left behind by the trains, trucks, and planes that are delivering that stuff to you.
5. Opt for Online E-Billing
Paper billing is so last century. Whether it be the bill for your cell phone, cable TV, or credit card, it's likely that the company has some sort of e-billing solution in place. Tell them that you no longer require paper invoices and would prefer to receive electronic bills via e-mail. It's a small step, but it's a simple one and it can have a substantial impact if we all subscribe to this philosophy. In fact, some companies, like cellphone providers, may be charging you for that paper bill and may offer a discount of a couple dollars if you go the green route.
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