Green Tip – Reduce Your Impact

GREEN TIP: There are things you can do RIGHT NOW to begin to live sustainably. For example, when you’re brushing your teeth today, turn off the tap.

As we go through our daily routines there are simple things we can do to reduce our impact on the planet. Here’s a look at some of the things you can do today to start living more sustainably:

In your kitchen:

  • Clean off the top of your refrigerator. Storing things on top of your refrigerator actually makes it work harder – interfering with its operation and using more energy.
  • Keep local and organic foods in your fridge.
  • If you’re using is correctly, a dishwasher actually uses less energy than washing by hand with hot water.
  • Don’t rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. This save the planet 6,500 gallons of water per year and you at least $30 per year. Scrape your food scraps into a compost bin.
  • Run your dishwasher on the economy cycle or prop the dishwasher door open to air-dry, rather than using the heater dry function.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it’s completely full.
  • Save energy and time when boiling water by placing a lid on the pot.
  • A few minutes before you’re finished cooking, turn the burners off completely. The residual heat will finish the job.
  • A heated oven loses 20% of its heat every time it’s opened. Use the light to check on your food.

In your bathroom:

  • Save water by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth.
  • Keep your shower time to five minutes or less.
  • Repair leaky faucets or toilets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a month.

In your home office:

  • Turn off your computer and printer when you’re not using them, or you can use the power or energy save option.
  • Unplug chargers for cell phones and other rechargeable devices when not in use; they still use energy when they’re plugged in.
  • Reuse envelopes and backsides of paper, print double-sided and purchase high recycled content paper.

In your laundry room:

  • Wash only full loads of laundry.
  • Front loading washing machines can save as much as 40 cents per load.
  • Use cold or warm setting for your washer, not hot. This can save 10 to 20 cents per load.
  • Use non-toxic laundry detergents to avoid harmful exposure to chemical detergents and water pollution.
  • Dry clothes the natural way whenever possible. Hang clothes outside on warm days and hang up lines inside for the winter.
  • Irons use as much energy as ten 100-watt light bulbs.
  • Clean out your lint filter every time you use your dryer so it doesn’t have to work as hard.

Around your home:

  • Recycle.
  • Pick up litter around your home and neighborhood. Whenever you see it… pick it up!
  • Check furnace or heat pump filters once a month for blockages and replace them regularly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure.
  • A programmable thermostat can save you $100 a year when programmed and used properly.
  • You can save 3% per day on your heating bill for every one degree that you lower your thermostat setting. For example, if you normally keep your thermostat at 75 degrees and you lower it to 72 degrees, you can save 9%.
  • If you leave a room, turn off the lights.

Source: Do It Green! Magazine, published by The Twin Cities Green Guide

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

No Impact Project
The No Impact Project is an international, environmental, nonprofit project, founded in the spring of 2009. It was inspired by the No Impact Man book, film, and blog.

To empower citizens to make choices which better their lives and lower their environmental impact through lifestyle change, community action, and participation in environmental politics.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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  1. Robin’s avatar

    I didn’t know that about the top of the fridge. Darn it. I have a really small kitchen and that’s where we keep the cereal boxes and pitchers that aren’t being used. Now it’s gonna bug me.

  2. Robin’s avatar

    However, on the plus side – you’ve given me a good excuse for not ironing – it’s bad for the environment.


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