30 July 2012

12 simple eco-friendly tips for the home

If you are looking for easy ways to save energy and help the environment then this is the list for you. Not only are these tips easy to do, they're not contingent on you purchasing something.

Check out these simple tasks to lessen your impact:

1. Old school- Keep used school notebooks for messages and shopping lists. It is neater than keeping piles of loose scrap paper and better than buying a note pad.

 Don’t have students at home? Stack 5-10 sheets of once used printer paper, cut it into 4 rectangles, combine the 4 piles, and staple the top to hold it together.

2. Return to sender
- If you receive mail for someone that no longer lives at your address, look for Address, Change, or Return Service Requested on the envelope. This endorsement means you can send the letter back and the company should remove the address from their mailing list.

In the kitchen 

3. Put a lid on it- Water boils faster when in a covered pot, this saves you time and electricity (or gas).

4. Turn off the heat
- For those with an electric stove, when boiling pasta for dinner start with salted water and a covered pot (salting the water increases the boiling point). Once the water boils add your pasta, cover, and return to a boil. After a rolling boil has returned for 2-3 minutes turn off the burner, the residual heat will continue to cook the pasta.

 This goes the same for basic baking needs, once you are in the last 10 minutes of your baking time turn off the oven.

5. Combine it
- When making a dinner of vegetables and pasta, add frozen veggies to your boiling water in the last few minutes of the pasta cooking. After you drain the pasta and veggies combine them on the warm burner with pasta sauce for a few moments to heat everything evenly.

6. Save your water
- After boiling something for dinner let the water cool and use it for your houseplants. Pots with boil baskets are great for this, after removing your food just set the hot pot in the sink until cool and water away.

7. Soak First- Stop running the water while you scrub the pots and pans. Instead, let them soak first, then quickly clean them and rinse.

8. Let it air dry
- If your dishwasher has the option, turn of the heated dry cycle and allow the dishes to air dry. Also, be mindful of what cycle you run your dishes through. Some cycles, like ‘pots & pans,' require the dishwasher to heat the hot water further.

9. Freeze it
- Keep water bottles or ice packs in your freezer. It takes less energy to keep ice cold than empty space. This tip also helps keep your freezer cold during a power outage, and you can use the ice packs and bottles when traveling instead of buying ice.

In the bathroom 

10. Use the hot water- In the winter when brushing your teeth turn on the hot water (especially if you're on the second floor). Doing so runs the cold water out of the pipes without wasting it- leaving a shorter wait time for the water to be ready to wash your face or shave with.

11. Use the cold water- In the summer when washing your hands use cold water. NYTimes.com shared a study which found no benefit to washing your hands with hot water.

12. Don’t turn up the heat
- Once you get settled in the shower and find yourself reaching to turn up the hot water turn down the cold water instead!

13. Don’t flush it away
- If it’s yellow let it... just kidding! I am all for flushing it all down. If you want to save water without having to ‘let it mellow,' fill up a plastic bottle for the water tank. It helps the tank fill with less water and therefore reduces the amount of water used for each flush.

If you have heard these tips before then consider this a friendly reminder. They only work if you use them. These tasks have a small impact, but it’s all the little things that start to add up!

Stephanie Pania | Facebook | Blog | Pinterest
Philadelphia, PA Stephanie is an eco-conscious vegan from Philadelphia, PA. She has a degree in Communications and Technical Theater, and is currently the communications specialist at an area nonprofit. She recently finished a year serving with AmeriCorps, and spends her free time playing with her adopted dogs and her rescued cats.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/bargainbriana