Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-529-6165
St. Paul, Minn. -- Saving money will be a New Year's resolution for many Minnesotans, but reducing costs can also reduce the impact on the environment, saving the state additional money and resources on fewer cleanup projects. Here are seven ways that Minnesotans can save in 2009.
-- Put the car in park: Save fuel and money by leaving your vehicle at home. Try carpooling or taking the bus to work just one day a week. To find the lowest gas prices, tips on saving gas and your car's energy impact, go to www.fueleconomy.gov. Walking and bicycling are even cheaper, and healthier, options.
-- Save rain water: Rain water, also called stormwater, carries pollutants such as soil into storm sewers that empty into lakes and streams. By using rain barrels to collect water for your lawn or garden, you can save money on your water bill while protecting lakes and streams. More information is available at www.extension.umn.edu/info-u/environment/BD459.html.
-- Junk the junk mail: Eliminate tempting offers and reduce your recycling or garbage load by taking your name off mailing lists. Go to www.reduce.org to find out how to remove your name from junk mail lists.
-- Watch the grass grow: Let your grass grow a little longer in between mowings and save money on fuel. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, the typical yard of Kentucky bluegrass and fine-leaved fescue should be 2.5 to 3 inches tall. That's a little taller than a business card. Even better, convert part of your yard to native plants, further reducing the area that needs to be mowed and the fuel needed for mowing. For ideas, try www.dnr.state.mn.us/gardens/nativeplants/index.html.
-- One bulb at a time: As light bulbs burn out, replace them with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Fluorescent light bulbs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and last up to 10 times longer. The fluorescent bulbs may cost more, but they will save money in energy savings over the long run. For details, go to www.pca.state.mn.us/waste/lightbulbs.html.
-- Pack a no-waste lunch: When packing lunches, use plastic containers that can be washed and used repeatedly. The containers will cost less in the long run than disposable plastic bags. Also, students can use silverware from the hot lunch line instead of plastic silverware, saving parents a little money and the environment a little trash. For more ideas, see www.reduce.org/school/index.html.
-- Stay close to home: If a vacation will strain your budget in 2009, consider a day trip or weekend excursion close to home. Minnesota offers more than 100,000 acres of camping in 66 state parks and private campgrounds, along with more than 700 miles of paved trails, which is more than any other state. For ideas, go to www.exploreminnesota.com.
For more tips, sign up to receive the Living Green 365 e-newsletter at www.livinggreen.org.