Saturday, August 30, 2008
Many appliances and electronics such as TVs, computers, stereos, washers/dryers, and power tools use energy even when they are turned off. This energy drain is commonly referred to as "vampire energy."
According to the Energy Information Administration, these suckers add up to around 20% of your monthly energy bill- and you are not even aware of it! On the website, it states, "that a TV with a remote could use more energy during the 20 hours it is turned off waiting for you to turn it on than it does while you are watching it for 4 hours in the evening." Crazy!
Consumers are paying more than 3 billion dollars a year for power that they are not using.
So, what can you do? Unplug electronics after you are finished using them. If you want an even simpler solution, just plug everything into power strips- it will be an easy one time switch off.
Remember, less energy use --> less fossil fuel use --> less pollution into our earth. Obviously, less money out of your pockets is a big bonus! So, unplug to stop the vampire drain!
This image is from TVA Kids.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Concerning the amount of water you normally drink and cook with, tap water is basically free. Now, how expensive is bottled water? One bottle from a vending machine can easily cost over a dollar. Bulk packages are a little easier on the wallet but by no means cheap. I recently bought a 24 pack of water for a road trip and even on sale, it was over 5 dollars with tax.
Sure, the bottled water companies try to dazzle you with their products. They design the bottle to be all slim and appealing and use catch phrases such as "spring water" and "pure and fresh." Did you know that a lot of bottled water really just comes from tap? It's really important to read the source on the side. A Dasani bottle says it is produced by the Coca-Cola company in Atlanta, Georgia. Hmmmm....don't remember any mountain springs located down there.
There's a new bottle design out, one that curves inward in the middle. It's supposed to use 1/3 less plastic and calls itself eco-friendly. This is one of them. Though it may be better than the old kind, its far removed from just plain old tap. Remember, not only does plastic require oil, but also the entire process of manufacturing the bottles requires energy. These bottles could end up in landfills, or use more energy in the recycling process. Energy= fossil fuels and fossil fuels= bad for the environment.
So, suck it up (literally) and try your tap water. I promise it isn't as bad as you might think.
This image is from Living Small.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
- Small plastic snack baggies
- Paper bags
- Glass jars
- Cans (Be creative! Pencil holders, anyone?
- Paper (Use the back of that scrap piece as your shopping list)
Reducing and reusing go hand in hand. If you reuse certain items, you obviously will reduce the amount you buy. Reducing is the best strategy environmentally, because since you cut down on the amount you consume, you skip both the recycling process and the intial manufacturing process. So, do you really need two paper towels for that little spill? Can you use two sides of the paper when writing? Little changes like those really can reduce the amount you buy.
You can't reduce everything, but what you can't reduce, you most of the time can reuse, and what you can't reuse, hopefully you can recycle. A combination of these strategies will lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.
This image is from the Penwith District Council.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Of course, these little packages of joy are very convenient and portion-controlled. However, they do take a toll on the environment and on your wallet.
More plastic and other materials are needed to create the excess packaging. Because of this, more oil is used to create the plastic, and more fossil fuels/energy is used for the production. Also, ultimately more trash ends up in our landfills and sidewalks. These items also cost a lot more per unit. For example, a large bag of Cheetos is cheaper than a pack of several smaller bags.
In the end, I believe that portion-controlled packaging actually encourages an unhealthy lifestyle. Why, you ask? Well, most of these goods are processed and relatively nutrient-poor. However, because of the portion control, people believe that they are eating healthy.
Steer clear of these convenience foods! If you need portion control, buy a larger bag and divide it up yourself. You can reuse your own little plastic baggies and save some money. It's the lesser of two evils. However, the best thing for the environment would be to avoid most processed and packaged foods and eat naturally and locally.
This image is from ABC News.