8 Goes Green: Green Gadgets Way to Save Money

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COLUMBIA - Eugene Elkin has lived on a fixed income for about fifteen years, but he's made the most of his situation.

In 2006, Elkin decided to change his lifestyle, and it all started as he was trying to figure out the time of day.

"I noticed my kitchen clock, which is electronic. And that was the beginning of how my decision making changed."

At first, he just wanted to save money running the clock.  But walk around Elkin's house now, and it's tough to walk far without passing an item that is considered green. From aluminum foil on his window sills, to a can crusher by his back door, Elkin displays the makings of a green gadget pioneer.

But it is his solar lights which are the most efficient. For a $2.50 purchase per light, Elkin collects a free charge by the sun during the day, and then bring them inside at night to light evening activities.

Elkin uses the lights in the kitchen so he can eat dinner, and in the bathroom to shave and wash his hair. However, he finds that those are just the beginning of their use.

"I am surprised at the different uses I get out of them. I remember a couple days ago, I was walking around outside looking for god knows what. It's the new flashight," Elkin said.

He also has the lights outside, with five different types of lights outside that cost him $10 total.

Finally, he uses a manual can crusher that reduces the amount of recycle bags that he uses. 

"Anything I can do to help the environment is something that I and everyone should take advantage of this. It doesn't take that much time, and provides benefit for all," Elkin said.

Elkin sets a standard for going green, but experts say just starting off with something like a couple solar lights can help overall.

"I think it depends on everyone's situation," said Monta Welch, founder of the Columbia Climate Change Coalition.  "But if everyone gets a little push, it can provide a domino effect for anyone."

One can buy these products at a local discount or hardware store. The can crusher, ten solar lights, and outside light set cost Elkin a total of $32.50.