We all try to be as responsible as we can, when it comes to living a green, and eco-friendly life. But the reality is when people get home at the end of the day, their tired, and being responsible isn’t always the easiest choice to make. So here are some eco-friendly tips, that will help you save time, money, and energy.
1. Shut off your electronics completely, by plugging them into a UL-certified power strip. Not only does it make turning off your electronics easier, you can turn multiple items off with one button, but by turning off the power strip at night, you prevent electricity from being used for stand by power. Also called vampire draw, it is the power consumed by an appliance while they are switched off, or in standby mode. It can make up to 10% of the total residential power consumption.
2. Items like cell phones and laptops don’t take all night to charge, and continue to draw energy as long as there plugged in. Instead of charging your electronics while you sleep, plug them in as soon as you get home. That way, they can be fully charged, and ready to go for the next day without wasting any energy.
3. Recycle your old CD’s, DVD’s, DVD cases, electronics, cables, cell phones, TV’s and more, easily at Best Buy. They have a wonderful new recycling program that not only accepts almost every electronic device that you can think of, but is at no cost to you. Simply check their e-cycle list of accepted products, and then bring your recyclables into your nearest store!
4. Finally a recycling program for all those #5 plastics that you would love to recycle, but can’t since most recycling programs simply don’t accept them. The website Preserve, My Gimme 5, has set up drop off locations all over the country where you can bring in all of your number 5 plastics, otherwise they would be going straight to a landfill. With the Gimme 5 program, plastics are recycled in this country, and turned into the wonderful eco-friendly products you can purchase through Preserve.
5. Instead of buying bottled water, make sure to fill up your BPA free water bottle with filtered tap water. One simple reason to use a refillable water bottles, is that only 1 out of every 6 plastic bottles in the US is recycled, and that it takes 17 million barrels of crude oil a year, to produce the 29 billion plastic bottles used annually in the US. That’s enough oil to run a million cars for twelve months. As an added benefit, if your using Brita water filter you can now recycle them with Gimme 5.
6. Make sure to always run your dishwasher when it is full, a half full load uses the same amount of water, and energy as a full one. Allow dishes to air dry instead of using the heating element. Washing your dishes at night, gives them plenty of time to air dry, and cuts down on the amount of energy used. I know that most dishes need to be pre-rinsed, but to cut down on water use, fill a small bowl of water and use a brush to wipe down your plates before placing them in the dishwasher. And finally use a phosphate fee dish detergent, phosphates can damage our ground water’s eco systems, and should be avoided.
7. There are so many ways of collecting water to be reused later. The simplest is to use a rain barrel, it collects the water cast off by your drain pipes. Another great place to collect water is from your shower, while waiting for the shower to heat up, place a large bucket at the bottom, you can collect it for a few days, and then add it to you rain barrel. This water can be used on your yard, garden, or potted plants.
8. For stocks and soups, reuse water that you have cooked vegetables in. The residual vegetable flavor will add to the stock, while saving water from going down the drain. This water can also be used for watering plants.
9. It’s is estimated that 30% of a household water use is from flushing the toilet. If you have an older toilet consider replacing it with one that is low-flow, or low-consumption. On the same note, replacing shower heads, installing faucet aerates, and horizontal axis washing machines are all one time changes, that can help a family drastically cut down on their water usage monthly.
10. And last but not least, always make sure to bring reusable bags when ever you go shopping. Plastic shopping bags are dangerous to sea life, as well as birds, they clog our waterways, and are one of the most common items washed up on shore. Plastic bags never completely brake down, instead the pieces just become smaller, and smaller eventually polluting our soil, and while recycling them is an option, it is extremely expensive to recycle them and not cost effective, since they sell for small fraction of the production price.