As a conscious consumer, you’re probably already doing multiple things to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize waste, but there may be more small changes that you can make. We’ve put together a brief list of green adaptations that you can integrate into your home life without having to disrupt your flow. And as we get into the swing of spring, now is the time to create new, better habits.
1. Stop Pre-Rinsing Your Dishes
According to Consumer Reports, you can save between 1.7 to 6 gallons of water per minute, as well as the energy costs of heating the water, by not rinsing your dishes under running water. Newer dishwashers have soil sensors that adjust their cycles based on how dirty your dishes are, so pre-rinsing isn’t necessary. And if you have an older dishwasher that doesn’t have this technology, rinse your dirty dishes in the stoppered sink to reduce your water usage instead.
2. Use Cold Water to Wash Your Clothes
Did you know that about 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes into heating the water? Energy Star suggests that you can cut your energy use in half by switching from hot to warm water and save even more if you switch to cold water completely.
Source: Michael Blue Jay
Check the care labels on your items to make sure using cold water is optimal for that item, although in general colorful, dark and delicate items are best washed in cold water. Your clothes are also less likely to shrink, fade and wrinkle if you use cold water.
3. Hang Dry Your Clothes
Running a dryer uses 2,000 to 6,000 watt-hours of electricity according to Direct Energy. Instead, Harness the energy of the sun and wind to dry your clothes. Hang a line up in your backyard or buy a bamboo clothes-drying wrack if you don’t have much outdoor space.
The sun also dries clothes more quickly and UV light does a better job of killing bacteria that may be trapped in fibers, in comparison to dryers.
Consider this and then enjoy the fresh smell of nature on your clothes every time you wear them.
4. Harvest Rainwater
Collect rainwater for non-potable use in and around your home, from watering your indoor plants and washing your car, to saving it to water your garden. You can also use it as drinking water if you boil and/or purify it first to ensure that it’s safe to consume.
You can keep it simple by using rain barrels or you can build a rain collection system into your home. You decide.
5. Unplug Your Electronics
Some appliances and electronic devices in your home use energy even when you aren’t using them.
Source: AEP Energy
Consider unplugging non-essential electronics after you’re done with them, and to make this easier, you can group electronics that you often use together on one power strip and then unplug that when you’re done instead. For example, your entertainment system (i.e. TV, cable box, gaming console, etc.) can all be powered through one strip which you unplug after switching off your TV.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all these things at the same time. Pick one a month and then move onto the next one once the switch has become a habit. After a few months, compare your energy and water bills to see what difference the changes have made. And if you’re willing to do some math, you can calculate the environmental impact of your greener living as well.