Reduce Archives

Reduce Your Impact On the Environment

fabric grocery bagsReduce. This is where it all begins; minimizing waste and reducing pollution and our energy consumption. Actions like composting, turning off lights and electronic appliances when not in use, taking fabric bags to the grocery store and conserving water all help toward this end.

Share how you reduce your impact on our environment in the comments section below, so we can all benefit from them.

Reducing Plastic Consumption

We’ve all heard about the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” floating in the Northern Pacific somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. For the most part, it is comprised of post consumer plastics. It’s estimated to be larger than the size of Texas – some say twice the size of the United States. That’s a lot of water bottles and plastic bags! Think it’s time to consider reducing plastic consumption?

The song in this video says it all
Waiting On The World To Change

Beginning mid January, Hawaii enacted a Plastic Bag Reduction and Prohibition Law. They joined a growing number of cities and countries around the world making the distribution of plastic bags at cash registers and check out stands illegal. Customers have the option of using a paper bag – or better yet – a reusable fabric bag.

Remembering to bring those reusable bags when you head out shopping can be a challenge. Getting them into the vehicle doesn’t seem to pose too much of a problem, but remembering to bring them into the market seems to be where many of us fall short.

How do we create a new habit of remembering them? Walking back out to the car is one solution, but if that doesn’t appeal to you try this. Make a commitment that each time you find yourself at the check out without a fabric bag to place your purchases in, buy another bag. After you have collected several bags the chances that you will remember to bring your reusable bags on your next shopping outing will increase.

This enterprising man
uses bottles and plastic bags to build an island for himself
Ya gotta love human ingenuity.

Conserve Water

The United Nations has warned that within two decades, the majority of the earth’s population could face serious water shortages. If we all become more aware of the amount of water we each consume daily and make a few changes to conserve water we can become part of the solution to this looming problem.

In our homes, the bathroom is where most water is consumed. The average home uses approximately 18% of it’s water in the shower. Our toilets account for as much as 28% of our water consumption. What can you do to reduce water consumption in the bathroom?

* Use a bucket or watering can to catch water that would normally go down the drain as you wait for your shower water to warm.

* Replace shower heads with low flow fixtures. Prior to 1992 the flow from shower heads was 5 gallons of water per minute. After that date the flow was cut in half to 2.5 gallons per minute.

*Take shorter showers. Shortening your shower by just one minute can save as much as 912 gallons of water a year.

*Consider replacing high flush toilets with a low flush model.

*If replacing the toilet isn’t an option, place a plastic milk jug filled with water or rocks in the tank. This will displace some of the water that would normally fill the tank.

The typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of their water outdoors for irrigation. Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by over watering. What can you do to reduce your water consumption in the garden?

* Consider capturing rain in a barrel to use for your gardening needs. If you have the time and inclination you can make your own rain barrel. Use rainwater for your yard and garden, and lower your water bill. A roof area of only 1,000 sq ft can provide approximately 600 gallons of water during a one inch rainfall.

* Install drip irrigation systems. These use 20 to 50 percent less water than in-ground sprinkler systems and water isn’t lost to runoff.

* Water gardens just after sunrise or at sunset to reduce evaporation.

* Mulch gardens to reduce watering requirements.

* Cut grass a little longer and more often and then leave the cut grass as mulch.

* Use drought tolerant plants in your garden and drought resistant grass for lawn.

* Sweep leaves off the driveway rather than using the hose to blast them off.

Adapting just a few of these tips will not only save you money on your water bill but also conserve the precious water that is needed for all forms of life to exist.