Jul 1, 2008

Tips for Going Green

by Natalie Mitts

Although you're only living in an apartment and have no control over its preexisting appliances, you can still find ways to go green. Here are some tips for saving energy - and money!

In the kitchen

Buy locally-grown produce. This not only supports farmers in the community, but it also minimizes the need for trucks to transport food.

Have one night a week where you don't cook; instead, have salad, wraps, sandwiches or something else that doesn't require turning on your oven or stove.

Rather than always heating up the oven, see what you can fit in your toaster oven. You might be surprised to see that your casserole dish fits or the tray is the perfect size for cinnamon rolls.

If you have a garden, develop compost from kitchen waste. Save peelings from fruits and vegetables to use as mulch. You can even add eggshells safely, but avoid putting in meat or dairy products (they attract animals).

As much as possible, use dishtowels and rags to dry dishes and clean up in the kitchen. However, make sure to wash towels regularly so you aren't constantly spreading germs around. When you do have to use paper towels, buy ones made of recycled paper.

Use eco-friendly cleaning products in the kitchen. SC Johnson has a great line of products that are safe for families and the environment.

Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge so you don't waste water while waiting for the tap to cool when you want a drink.

When using water to boil pasta, use the recommended amount so you don't waste extra water.
Use the fridge or microwave to defrost vegetables, rather than running water.

Wait until the dishwasher is full to run the batch.

Other ways to save

Instead of driving, walk or bike short distances. You will save money on gas, cause less air pollution and get some good exercise.

When you go to fast food restaurants, exercise portion control. Every piece of food that you don't eat is a waste of your money and accumulates in landfills. Take home leftovers and remember to order smaller portions if you're not starving. Save extra napkins and plastic cutlery for future use.

Bring canvas bags to the grocery store. They are sturdier and you may even get a discount because you're not using up the store's supply of paper or plastic bags.

Use the plastic bags you already have as trash can liners or packing material. Also look for plastic bag recycling drop-offs if your supply is piling up.

When washing clothes, try to fill up the washer or adjust the water level if running a small batch. Always wash clothes in cold water.

When it's finally time to buy your own appliances, check out front-loading washers and dryers. They use much less water and don't waste as much energy. Look for the Energy Star rating.

According to Kohler, cutting one minute off a shower every day saves 2.5 gallons of water daily and 912 gallons yearly.

Start switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. They are just as bright and last much longer. Plus, the curvy design is pretty cool. The up-front cost is a little higher, but it will pay off in the end. Also remember to turn out lights when you leave a room to save extra energy.

Turn the thermostat down a few degrees in winter and up a few degrees in summer. These small changes require less work from your heater or air conditioner and lower your utility bills.

Unless you live on campus, there probably aren't bins for cans, cardboard, newspaper and plastics where you live. Visit utahrecycles.org for a list of locations near you. Many groceries stores and schools have drop-off areas, or you can also bring recyclables to the BYU campus. Check out how much cardboard BYU recycles in just one day (pictured below).
BYU also offers recycling services for books, batteries, computers, fluorescent lights and toner cartridges.

Drop off expired or unused phone books to local McDonald's restaurants.

Unfortunately, there are not any locations that will recycle glass in Provo. Save up glass bottles and drop them off at one of many locations in Salt Lake City. Visit recycle.slco.org for more details.

Donate used furniture and clothing to Deseret Industries or other thrift stores.

Buy used products; they are cheaper and don't require additional manufacturing.

Refill ink cartridges or send used ones back to the company. You can find a refill station inside Cougar Computer on the third floor of the Wilkinson Student Center.

Recycle old cell phones, PDAs and pagers. Sell back used phones at the cell phone kiosk inside the BYU Bookstore. If you would rather donate your phone, visit www.recyclemycellphone.org to get a mailing label with postage paid or drop off your phone at a local Staples store.

Apple offers a take back program for iPods and cell phones, no matter the manufacturer. The company also takes back your old computer with the purchase of a new Mac. Visit www.apple.com/environment/recycling/ for more information.

Dell also offers a recycling program for old computers, regardless of the model. Visit www.dell.com/recycle for more information. They even provide home pick up free of charge.

Buy rechargeable batteries so you won't have to keep replacing your camera batteries (we all know they last about an hour). In the long run you'll save a lot of cash and won't have to keep throwing old batteries out.

Although it is safe to throw out disposable batteries, recycle them instead. Go to biggreenbox.com to get a prepaid mailing label. The company separates the metals from the plastics and then makes more batteries.

During the day, set computers to go on standby automatically. Unplug electronics when not in use so they aren't continually draining from the plug. Shut down computers at night and turn off power strips.

Instead of constantly buying new, borrow books and movies from the library to save on your personal costs, as well as printing. Think about donating the money saved to your local library or school.
Consider buying digital versions of music and movies. This will save on space as well as printing and producing costs.

Unsubscribe from unnecessary magazines and catalogs. Most coupons and other materials can now be found online.

Switch to online statements for banks and pay bills online. Both programs are free at many different banks in the area.

Save old school assignments and use the back side to print faxes and rough drafts.

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