Your credit card probably didn’t make your list of things in your life to make greener as Earth Day rolls around. You’re probably focused on more traditionally eco-friendly strategies such as increasing your recycling ratio, buying less plastic and maybe even buying a more fuel-efficient car this year.
But using your credit card can be a part of your environmentally conscious lifestyle, too. Green up your technique with these eco-friendly tips.
Greener living with your credit card
- Skip the statements.Not only does e-billing save on the costs of producing, printing and mailing a paper bill for your credit card every month, but you’ll enjoy a less cluttered, more sustainable home without drawer after drawer filled with paper statements. The average American household can save as much as six pounds of paper and 23 pounds of wood every year by switching to e-bills, according to the Seventh Annual Billing Household Survey from Fiserv. Let loose of the habit of using paper bills to remind you to make your payments; it’s the greener choice.
- Use your credit card to buy greener products.Most people are open to making environmentally friendly choices, but tracking down carbon offsets and figuring out which product has the smallest environmental footprint can be downright difficult, according to a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Where are the green products hiding? One reliable source for finding greener products and services is the EPA. Then once you buy green, stay green; make sure the things you purchase are built to last so you won’t have to throw them out and replace them before their time.
- Pass on the receipts.Unless you need to keep proof of payment for a tax deduction or a possible return, exchange or warranty claim, don’t waste the paper and ink for a receipt. Skipping the receipt also minimizes your exposure to the chemicals used to print thermal cash register receipts.
- Support an environmentally conscious organization with your credit card rewards.Use your rewards points or cash back for good by donating your rewards to an eco-conscious organization. Turn cash back from a PenFed rewards card into a charitable donation, or take those travel miles and turn them into an ecologically minded vacation or volunteer trip. (Get inspired at GoEco.org.)
- Stop writing checks.Every time you choose not to write a check, you reduce the environmental impact of the paper, ink, postage, and trip to the post office to make your payment. Use your credit card instead. Subtract those drawbacks from your ecological balance; instead, add the advantages of earning credit card rewards and purchase protection instead.
- Pay off your credit card balance every month.Making a habit of paying off your credit card balance every month creates a natural cap on spending. Overspending encourages overconsumption, tempting you into unsustainable purchases that drive pollutionand climate change.
Cash back for the greater good
Sometimes plastic can be good for the planet. With strategies like the ones above, you and your credit card can help make a real difference.
Turn the green of cash in your pocket into the green that’s good for the planet by using your cash-back rewards in eco-conscious ways. The PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® card gives you 1.5% unlimited cash back on every purchase — or an impressive 2% as an Access America Checking account holder or as a current or former member of the U.S. military. That’s the kind of green both you and the planet can appreciate.