REDUCE! Miscellaneous Thoughts On Using Less
The Five R’s Resist “wear It out, Reduce use it up, Repair make it do, Re-use or do without.” Recycle Note that Recycle is last, better only than throwing away
The Story of Stuff http://www.storyofstuff.com/
Overview • Gasoline • Electricity • Heating fuel • Water • Plastic • Paper/wood • Other Stuff
Gasoline • Bike or walk or T local trips; short car trips pollute more • Get convertible backpack luggage and stop taking cabs • Stick to the speed limit, or even lower (55 is still best) • Every touch of the brake wastes gas! Foot off the gas the moment you see a brake light or red light • Coast as much as possible – make a game of it! • Inflate tires to max allowed and check often • Use low-friction motor oil and change as recommended • Combine errands, plan routes • Don’t push pedestrian walk button if you aren’t going to wait for the light! • Experiment with hypermiling: www.hypermiling.com • Some Prius owners have found CRUISE CONTROL the most efficient.
Electricity • Kill phantom power! Everything that responds to a remote or has lights on all the time should be plugged into a power strip or have in-line switch • vs. • Set computer to hibernate after half-hour or so of non-use. Is hibernating significantly better than sleeping? • Of course, use no incandescent lightbulbs. Explore LEDs. • Install digital timers on bathroom fans that might get left on • Get a Killawatt to measure how much power you use on each appliance: www.killawattplus.com/ • Remember that appliance that replies to a remote is never really off • Microwave vs. gas stove? Microwave is more efficient for warming up small items because it’s not producing heat
Electricity, cont. • Install motion detector switches so empty spaces are never lit • Install motion detectors on any exterior/security lighting • Line dry all clothes. A few minutes in dryer is enough to fluff towels. • Buy EnergyStar appliances only • Don’t leave coffee pot on. Microwave as needed.
Heating fuel • Heat home to 62 days, 56 nights and when house is empty. Wear layers. You will get used to it and be comfortable! • Install a clock thermostat with 4 settings per day • Have an energy audit, caulk, weatherstrip, seal • Weatherstrip even interior doors to basements, attics, cold hallways • Tenants install interior storm windows • Owners install the highest R-value storms affordable • Don’t neglect basement windows, often leaky and without storms • Blow insulation into attic floor or overlay it with rigid insulation • Have insulation blown into walls, if affordable • Keep heating system cleaned and tuned; replace old one with new efficient one if affordable • Check out this NY Times Article: “Chilled by Choice”
Water • We use 20 gal/person/day including dishwasher and clothes washer • Install 1.6 gallon toilets • And then don’t flush them often! If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down! • Brush teeth with one cup of water, not with water running. Dip brush in cup at start, rinse mouth afterwards, pour remaining water slowly over brush • Never run dishwasher or clotheswasher unless really full • Nest similar dishes, study most efficient way to use space in dishwasher • Catch running toilet tanks – Home Depot has a gadget for it. Running toilets can cost $30/day • The most efficient dishwashers use 4 gallons of water, about 1 cup/dish • Pull open dishwasher door to air-dry dishes
Water, cont. • Composting Toilets – may need special permitting in the city of Boston • Have dogs? They’ll prepare dishes for dishwasher, no water needed • Buy front-loading washer – gets clothes dryer, easier on them, saves water • Leave dishpan in sink all the time, catch all water for re-use for • Rinsing recyclables • Soaking cooking pots • Soaking and rinsing dishes before dishwasher or hand-washing
More water • Wash dishes using very little water • Put dishes into last meal’s water for a first rinse, then discard it • Collect water while running until it’s hot • Run hot water into one squirt of detergent – it will last if water is kept clean • Pre-rinse dishes with brush dipped into saved water or use it for soaking • Rinse in separate pan • Don’t dump the dishwater afterwards - find other uses for it! • Clean counters and sponges • Clean/soak stove grills and burner pans • Wash water filter pitchers, pet bowls. . . What else? • Leave it until the next washing – find uses for it! • Consider a gray water system • Remember that you don’t have to wash each item of clothing before wearing it again
Water outdoors • If possible, install rain barrels under cut-off downspouts to collect rainwater. In rental property a landlord might well give permission because it’s the landlord’s water bill! It’s possible to garden without turning on a faucet. • If that’s not possible, even leaving containers around to catch rain for plants, basic outdoor washing like getting garden dirt off hands, saves water. • Do not try to have an English lawn that requires constant watering. Read up on native grasses and correct mowing heights. • Wash a car from buckets of warm soapy water in the rain, using biodegradable soap; don’t use a hose. • Never clean a sidewalk or driveway with a hose! Wait for a dry day and use a broom. • Come to the JP Forum’s “Creating your own Compost, Wormbin & Rainbarrel” program on May 7!
Plastics • Gather a good collection of leftover containers and use them. There is no reason whatsoever to use plastic wrap for anything! • Take cloth bags to stores, keep some in car, one on you if possible. • Refuse plastic bags in stores; just carry your stuff. Suggest to salespeople who don’t ask if you want a bag that they consider making that store policy. • Put nonrecyclable, noncompostable trash in a paper bag, or even loose, in a trash barrel. No need for plastic bags. • Zip-lock bags can be washed and re-used many many times.
Plastics, cont. • Don’t buy “disposable” giveaway containers. Use yogurtware! • Speaking of yogurt, donate #5 plastics to Gimme 5 at Whole Foods. • Hang plastic bags from fridge with magnets to dry out • Consider making your own detergent, and/or don’t use the entire amount that the manufacturer suggests. • Don’t buy shampoo in plastic bottles. Order bar shampoo from JR Liggett: www.jrliggett.com • Don’t buy liquid or stick deodorant. One crystal stick lasts 20 years! • Check out the City of Boston’s recycling video: http://www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks/recyclingandsanitation/ • Make your own travel size toiletries. Small jars can hold toothpaste. • Make sure to rinse out containers that you will recycle • Rep. Consalvo was proposing a bill to ban plastic bags in MA • There is also a plastic bottle bill in the MA legislature at the moment
More on plastic! • Don’t put all loose fruits & vegetables in plastic bags. Loose mushrooms need a bag but 4 apples or 3 pears do not. • Take your own containers to places like Harvest where you can buy loose in bulk. • Take your own containers to restaurants for leftovers. • For the plastic bags you do wind up with, find new homes. Some stores are willing to use them. Give smaller ones (newspapers) to dog people. • And of course never buy bottled water, ever, and talk to people you see drinking it. Talking points and stats available at thinkoutsidethebottle.org. Carry your own refillable bottle. • Test your home water if you’re concerned and install whole-house filter or use pitcher filters if warranted. Britta filters, thoroughly dried, are now accepted by the Gimme 5 program. • Use newspaper for cat waste, and placing it under acid-loving trees • The “Preserve” product line is made up entirely of old yogurt containers • Make your own slogan against Disani water at: http://opentappiness.org/
Wood/paper • Buy or find used or antique furniture, never new. • Use metal studs in construction if possible. • Buy certified-sustainable wood if new wood is necessary; never tropical • Never buy rayon! • Get off mailing lists at www.catalogchoice.org • Open all junk mail, save small and folded large pieces for note-writing • Save never-folded paper for use in printer • Fax from computer or print to scratch paper and fax • Always ask fax recipients if they need a cover sheet – most don’t • Re-use envelopes (except business reply) by applying stickers • Rayon is made from the virgin pulp of trees – don’t buy it! • Don’t buy tropical woods – none are sustainable • In public bathrooms • Never use disposable seat covers • Never use paper towels – just walk away!
More wood/paper • Unused holiday wrapping paper can be donated to organizations that give gifts to children. • Keep handkerchiefs at desk, in bathroom, in pockets, wherever needed. • Scrounge rags, even scraps, from everywhere and avoid using paper towels by keeping rags • Under every sink • With cleaning supplies • With polishing supplies • Under driver’s seat and in trunk • Build a supply of old towels from the trash; use for floor spills, all sorts of things. • Keep towels everywhere there is running water. • On stove handle or somewhere else in kitchen • Beside basement sink
Other Stuff • When you do need to acquire something, always think Used. • The MSPCA and Bikes-Not-Bombs are always looking for rags – you can bring your old clothes there! • Interesting book about the recycling of clothes to developing nations: The Green T-Shirt • JP, of course, has two wonderful thrift stores. • Join the Greater Boston Re-use Listserve to give away and request things. http://lists.aq.org/list/listinfo/greaterboston-reuse • JP has its own, but it’s too small. Please join us! Jpfreestuff@yahoogroups.org • Every town has its own freecycle. • Save giveaway things for JP’s annual YardSaleFreeStuff Day in September. • Everyone is invited to First Chuch in JP’s YARD SALE! June 2/3rd!!!