8 easy everyday ways to help the environment
Want to help the environment and save some money? Check out these nine environmentally friendly tips
Clean dishes in a dishwasher
You’ll use far less hot water than if you washed by hand. For greatest energy efficiency, stick to full loads, use the pot-scrubber option only if necessary, and hit the no-heat or air-dry option.
Power down your computer
If you won’t be using your computer for 20 minutes, turn off the monitor. If it won’t be needed for more than two hours, turn off the computer. Do the same for all your electronics – printers, cable boxes, stereos, even the clock on your microwave. Over time, all those switched-on-but-not-in-use electronics use a LOT of energy.
Don’t idle cars
One of the most common activities that damage the environment is letting cars or trucks warm up in the morning. Idling does nothing more than create unnecessary emissions. What’s more, it wastes fuel and money. Even on the coldest days, it doesn’t damage the engine to drive immediately after starting. Driving will actually help your car warm up faster. And when stuck in traffic, it’s wise to turn your car off if you are going to be motionless for more than 30 seconds.
Save water throughout the day
Turn off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth or lathering up your hands with soap. Give everyone in your family a clothespin with their name on it to clip on their water glass in the morning (that makes it easy to keep track of which glass is whose, so you don’t have to keep washing endless glasses). Only flush a toilet when there are solid wastes. Also, wash clothes in cold water. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothing goes to heating the water.
Be cool in cool weather, warm in warm weather
During winter, set your home temperature at 18-19 degrees Celsius. That’s a little cool, but comfortable if you wear two layers of shirts around the house and have an extra blanket on the bed at night. But in summer, set your temperature at 24 degrees Celsius. That’s considered the maximum temperature that is still considered comfortable (in fact, it’s perfectly pleasant if you have a breeze coming through a window). Both of these settings will greatly reduce your annual energy bill.
Do a chemical audit
Rid your home of all toxic products including insecticides, oven cleaners and wood polish. Do not throw these out with the regular garbage or pour them down the drain. The chemicals in these products damage the environment when released into landfills or waste streams. Contact your local recycling center or city waste management program to learn how to properly dispose of these products.
Replace your household cleaning products with eco-friendly, biodegradable, non-toxic ones. You may even want to consider creating your own green cleaning kit that could include items such as baking soda, white distilled vinegar, and tea tree oil.
Turn on your car’s air conditioner
Yes, the AC does affect fuel efficiency. But it amounts to only one mile per gallon, and you could end up burning more if you open the windows at medium to high speeds, which increases air resistance. And keeping cool helps keep you alert, making you a safer driver.