Five simple ways to save money while going green

A consumer expert offers five simple ways consumers can save a little cash and help the environment, too.

Do you need to spend a lot of green to go green?

Not necessarily.

Often, it's prohibitively expensive to buy environmentally-friendly products. But there are several easy ways to save a little money and do a little good for the environment -- no "eco-friendly" label needed.

SmartMoney senior consumer reporter Kelli Grant spoke with Michelle Gielan at CBS Up To The Minute to discuss ways consumers can save green while going green.

Here are her five tips:

  1. Stop receiving paper bill statements. By opting out, you save paper (which saves trees) and money. Some companies charge for paper statements, and others, such as insurance companies Allstate and Progressive, offer discounts for making the switch.
  2. Swap out old appliances. By upgrading to a new energy-efficient heater, fridge or washing machine, you can cut both your energy bill and your greenhouse emissions Better still, some states currently offer rebates for trading in old appliances.
  3. Recycle your electronics. Gadgets are full of hazardous materials, which can end up in landfills if not properly disposed of. Many manufactures will recycle old gear for free when you buy a new replacement, too.
  4. Reuse plastic bags. If every person in New York City used one fewer plastic bag each year, we'd reduce our waste output by 5 million pounds, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  5. Check your car's tire pressure. Improperly inflated tires increase drag, which make your car about 3 percent less fuel-efficient. That's not just more emissions produced -- it's also a $25 to $50 hit to your wallet each year.

Here's the video:

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