We’ve talked a lot about Laundry, what to use, how to use it, and how to keep it Earth friendly. (Hand wash or wash in cold water, avoid the dryer when possible, use a natural/ grey water friendly detergent.) In honour of earth day, I wanted to touch on a few other inexpensive ways that we can reduce our Ecological Footprint on a daily basis.
Bricks in the Toilet.
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No, I did not make a typo. This new fad has been getting some serious buzz lately as the newest trick to keep your water and energy consumption down in the home. This technique involves dropping a brick or large rock into the reservoir of your toilet (the back part) to conserve water when flushing. (Make sure when trying this that you don’t block the actual flushing mechanism!) By dropping a brick sized blocker into your toilet, you will save approximately 2 gallons a day per person. In an average 4 person home, this means you’ll save about 50 gallons of clean, usable drinking water per day! As real bricks can eventually ruin your toilet with time, try another eco- friendly brick sized solution. Check out this initiative started in California last year for more information. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/drop-a-brick-in-your-toilet Unfortunately this initiative has now closed so these rubber bricks are no longer available for purchase, but I improvised by filling up a small brick sized glass tupperware container with small rocks for the same effect.
Public Transit and Carpooling
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This one’s fairly obvious but shouldn’t be neglected. Simply put- don't be lazy, gauge your distance. Do you need to get in the car, or could you just as easily get to your destination by bike or bus/subway etc.? If you must drive- carpool. Reduce the number of cars on the road by picking up a friend or colleague on your way to work, school, or wherever you are headed. This will reduce air pollution and save energy and gas.
Hand Washing and Composting
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Washing your dishes (and laundry) by hand as often as possible reduces energy and water consumption significantly. This is something we can make an effort to do more on a day to day basis to have a significant long term effect; not only to the earth’s well-being, but to our energy bills as well!
Image Source: http://composteverything.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/worm-compost-illustration.png
Composting is important as it reduces the amount of household waste that ends up in the garbage can significantly, thus also reducing the amount of compostable garbage that ends up in our dangerously full landfills. By recycling what we use, compost restores nutrients to the earth and soil and fuels regrowth, acting a natural fertilizer and eliminating the need for harsh chemical alternatives. Obviously, the abundance of plant growth and reduction in chemical pollutants leaking into the atmosphere is very beneficial to our air quality. To read more on how to get started check out this article: http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html
Turn down your thermostat!
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Another simple yet important step- forget the creature comforts. Turn down the thermostat a few degrees and grab a sweater. On those mild spring days in particular, when it’s neither too hot nor too cold, turn your AC off altogether to save a ton of energy.
Turn off the lights!
This one seems like another “duh”, but it’s shocking how many people leave their lights, electronics, and so on turned on when they’re not in use. We need to make a conscious effort to turn off every single electrically run item when we’re done with it. Closing your computer for the night? Turn it off. Going upstairs to get ready for bed? Make sure every single light is turned off. Also- it goes without saying that you’re using LED energy efficient bulbs by this point, right?