Three Small Ways to Go Green and Save Some Change

Saving the environment and saving your wallet have many things in common, one of them being that others might frequently remind you that the only way to really make a dent is to completely overhaul current behaviors.  But while that may be true, that doesn’t mean that small changes aren’t a step in the right direction.

Here are three small ways in which stores are helping customers to be green and save some change:

Skip the Store Bag: More and more, cities and/or states are requiring supermarkets and other food stores to charge customers for bags, be them paper or plastic.  Although these bag taxes are generally only a few cents, with California imposing the highest at 25 cents, it certainly adds up.  To avoid the charge, just don’t use the store bag.  You can bring your own shopping bag, but you can also just throw the purchased items in your backpack or purse or even carry it in your hand.  Also, stores that are known to give a discount to customers who do not take their paper or plastic bags have continued to apply that rule even when a bag tax kicks in.  In Washington, DC, for example, a 5-cent bag tax went on effect this past January.  But as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have both maintained their 5-cent discounts as well, not taking a bag from one of those stores really offers a 10-cent discount.

CVS /Pharmacy Greenbagtag: Along the same lines as the trend above, CVS gives its customers 1 ExtraCare dollar for every 4 purchases in which they do not take away a plastic bag.  Admittedly, the Greenbagtag costs $1, but it pays off after just four trips.  Besides, until March 31, 2011, CVS is donating 5 cents to the World Wildlife Fund for each bag tag sold.  An ExtraCare dollar is essentially like store credit; to earn it just remember to show your tag.  You do not need to bring a different kind of bag either – again, putting your purchase in your backpack or purse or carrying it in your hand also helps you earn ExtraCare credit.

Staples Rewards Ink Recycling: Unlike most other technology companies and stores, which might dispose of your ink cartridges for free (e.g., Canon includes a postage-free envelope with its ink cartridges), Staples actually gives you $3 in store credit for going green.  All you need is a free Staples Rewards membership, and you will receive an email with the $3 coupon within a month after you drop off the cartridge at any Staples store.  The offer is limited to 10 cartridges per month, and Staples has already recycled over 43 million ink and toner cartridges since the program started in January 2008.

Of course, there are greater ways to save money – and to save the planet, for that matter.  But the deals featured here require little effort, so why not take stores up on them?  Your savings might just be small change, but the change required to get them is small as well.

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