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Being green when it comes to secret shopping is not only good for the environment, it can be good for your wallet, too. Many eco-friendly choices for transportation, supplies and your home office can also save you money.
The basic mantra of green living is: Reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce how much you buy and the amount of trash you discard. Reuse products by repairing them, buying used or finding new uses for items. Recycle by sending paper, glass and plastic waste to facilities where they can be processed and used to manufacture new products.
Here are some tips to help you save cash and the environment at the same time.
Save paper by not printing everything. Instead of printing copies of your reports, save them as PDFs. You will also use less filing space this way.
Refill ink and toner cartridges instead of replacing them. You can buy do-it-yourself kits for many cartridges, or look for a local vendor who will refill them for you. Places such as Cartridge World and Office Depot will refill most brands.
Reuse paper by printing on both sides. When you do have to print, use both sides of the paper when you can. You will save money on paper and save a few trees, too. And when you discard the paper, recycle it.
Carry cloth napkins or small towels in the car, and do not grab a handful of paper napkins at the fast food restaurant.
Do you take a bottle of water with you when you leave the house? Use a refillable sports bottle instead of water in disposable bottles. Run tap water through a filter if you do not like the taste of your local tap water. It’s cheaper and does not create as much waste.
Use rechargeable batteries for electronic devices, such as digital cameras and voice recorders. You will save money and create less toxic waste.
Unplug electronics when not in use. Most use at least a small amount of electricity, even when they are not on.
Do not replace electronics sooner than necessary. And when you must get a new cell phone or computer, donate your old one to an organization that will reuse it or recycle it properly. You may even get a tax deduction for your donation.
Adjust your thermostat when you are not home. Why pay to heat or cool your house when you are out mystery shopping? Manually turn the temperature up (in summer) or down (in winter) when you leave for the day or, better yet, get a programmable thermostat that you can set to raise or lower the temperature based on your schedule.
Replace light bulbs in your home office with compact fluorescent bulbs. They use less electricity and last longer than incandescent bulbs (so they do not have to be replaced as often). Plus, many fluorescent bulbs provide softer, more natural light than harsh incandescents.
Paper or plastic? When asked which you prefer, the answer should be whichever you will reuse. For example, plastic bags can be reused as trash bags. Or, if appropriate, carry your own canvas bag when shopping.
Group your trips to save gas. Create a mystery shopper route, and do a bunch of shops in one day. Run other errands while mystery shopping, too.
Get the most out of every gallon of gas by keeping your tires inflated, removing unnecessary weight from your car, and other tips on how to save gas found here.
Reduce, reuse and recycle to save the planet and your pocketbook.