Green by the numbers
Reduce your emissions footprint 5,000+ lbs./year
How does gas weigh anything? Consider taking a pound of ice and boiling it on the stove until it evaporates. The ice is now vapor in the air, but it still weighs a pound. On a larger scale, the same thing occurs at the power plant when you draw energy to power your home. Every step you take to save energy trims emissions from the atmosphere and reduces global warming. Here's a plan to reduce your emissions by over 5,000 lbs. per year.
Check your toilet. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water a day, 73,000 gallons of water per year. Add food coloring to the tank. If you have a leak, color will appear in the bowl within 15 minutes. Flush when you're done to avoid a stain.
Use drapes of blinds to reduce heat gain or loss. In warm weather, closing light-colored shades or blinds during the day can reduce your home's solar gain by up to 50%. In cold weather, closing them at night reduces heat loss by about 5%.
Dishwasher: 840 lbs.
Run dishwasher only when full and on energy-saver mode. Dishwashers use between four and eight gallons per wash. Washing by hand for 10 minutes with the faucet running can use as much as 20 gallons of water.
Heat & air conditioner: 478 lbs.
Turn down thermostat by 2° in winter months. Raise it to 74° when using your air conditioner. Dial down/up your thermostat by 2° and turn on a ceiling fan to lower costs by as much as 14% over each season, with no sacrifice in comfort.
Electronics: 240 lbs.
Plug TV & stereo into power strip; turn off when not in use. Televisions and other home entertainment components waste huge amounts of energy in "stand by" mode, but start up a few seconds faster.
Enable the power management feature in your desktop computer. With standby/sleep, your monitor, hard-drive and other parts go into a low-power mode, saving up to $100 on your electric bill over a year as compared to a screen saver. An LCD monitor uses one-third the power of a CRT monitor.
Change the air filters in your furnace regularly. Save up to 5% of heating costs.
Refrigerator: 696 lbs.
Clean the coils and defrost regularly. Refrigerators made pre-1993 use twice as much energy as the new Energy Star-qualified models. Save up to $65 in annual energy costs by replacing it.
Light bulbs: 300 lbs.
Replace five 70-watt bulbs with 9-watt LEDs. Replace five of your most used incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (which use two-thirds less energy and last up to10 times longer). Save $25 to $65 a year in energy costs, depending on the wattage and how long you leave bulbs on.
Washer & dryer: 1,224 lbs
Wash clothes in cold water, rather than warm or hot; Dry half your clothes on line or rack. Washing only full loads saves as much as 3,400 gallons of water a year. Heating water to hot accounts for 90% of the machine's washing energy. Switching to cold can save the average household more than $400 with an electric heater, $300 annually with a gas heater. If your dryer has a moisture sensor that turns the machine off when clothes are dry, use it. Clean the lint trap before every load to save up to $35 a year.
Weatherstrip & insulate: 1,188 lbs.
Insulation. Caulk and weatherstrip your home and insulate your home's hot water heater. These two home improvements can save massive amounts of energy each year.
Recycle those cans. Recycling just a single aluminum can saves enough energy to run your television or operate your computer for up to three hours on average.
Tires: 252 lbs.
Inflation. Keep your car's tires properly inflated.
Bus or car pool: 156 lbs.
Rides. Take the bus or grab a ride to work one day a week. Do it everyday and cut emissions by 780 lbs!
Recycled stock: questions & answers
There are varying definitions of recycled paper. General thinking is to encourage the highest post-consumer recycled content whenever possible, providing that 'fitness for purpose' and performance criteria are taken into consideration.
What are the components of recycled paper?
1. Convertor's waste: Waste which has left the mill and is waste from a cutting or slitting operation undertaken to meet a commercial order. 2. Printer's waste: Printed or unprinted - waste collected from a printing operation and may be either 'trimmings' (guillotine waste), 'overs', 'rejects' or any other similar waste received direct from a printer. 3. Domestic, household or office waste: Waste collected from either of these places which may be printed or unprinted.
What is post-consumer waste?
This is paper that has been used by the consumer and returned for recycling, thus keeping it out of a landfill. The more post-consumer waste that is incorporated into recycled material the better!
What is virgin fiber?
Virgin fiber is new fiber that has never been used by a manufacturer before to make paper or other products.
What is pre-consumer waste?
Pre-consumer waste occurs as a by-product to the printing process, such as printer's trim, make-ready and overs.
Is ink removed from recycled paper?
Sometimes the ink is not removed from the paper when it is processed but allowed to disperse into the pulp, discoloring it slightly, which is why some recycled paper can have a grayish tinge.
With de-inking, what happens to the ink?
With recycled paper that is de-inked, ink that is removed from recycled pulp can be burned to generate energy to run the paper mill, or sold to make useful materials such as compost or gravel for roads.
Why use recycled paper?
1. Reduces landfill. Recycled paper diverts waste paper from entering landfills. Landfills are a source of methane emissions and are rapidly becoming full, and fewer new sites are available.
2. Place less strain on global forest resources. Paper recycling optimizes the use of a valuable material and reduces the amount of virgin pulp required. Although forests are increasingly managed in a sustainable way there is a need to reduce wastage by using more recycled content.
3. Save water and energy. Producing recycled paper uses up to 70% less energy than virgin paper, as well as using far less water. For every ton (about two pallets) of 100% post-consumer recycled paper purchased instead of virgin fiber paper, we save at least 8,000 of water and up to 4,000 KWh of electricity, enough to power a three-bedroom house for one year.