The Environment in Peril
Can We Make a Difference?
In the Kitchen
► The refrigerator is, by far, the single biggest consumer of electricity in the average household, responsible for 10-15 percent of the electricity you use each month.
► If your refrigerator is near a heating vent, or always in the sun, then change the location, cover up the heat vent near it or drape the window. Clean the condenser coil. This one, very simple thing can improve the efficiency of your refrigerator by a third! Get rid of your second refrigerator. If you don’t need it, don’t waste the energy. Make sure the doors seal properly, and keep the cool in.
► When hand–washing dishes or cleaning fruit and vegetables, don’t run the water continuously. Wash them in a partially filled sink, and then rinse them quickly under the tap.
► If you have an automatic dishwasher, fill it up, and use the energy saver option or shortest cycle necessary to get the dishes clean.
► When possible, wash a few dishes by hand. Over time, that will save a few loads in the dishwasher, conserving energy. Don’t pre-rinse dishes. Today’s detergents are powerful enough to do the job. Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher.
► When boiling vegetables, conserve water by using just enough to cover them and use a tightly fitting lid.
► Use the microwave to cook small meals. (It uses less power than an oven.)
► Compost organic food scraps from your kitchen.
► Buy locally grown fruits, vegetables and meat. The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 to 1500 miles from the farm to your plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community. You can find a farmer’s market in your area at the USDA website: Find a Local Farmers Market
► Buy fresh foods instead of frozen. Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.
► Buy organic foods as much as possible. Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!
► Eat less meat. Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath.
► Start your barbecue briquettes with an electric probe. Or use a propane or natural gas barbecue.
► Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator, instead of running the tap until the water gets cool each time you want some. Be sure to rinse the container and change the water every few days.
► Use a water flow reducing attachment on your sink faucets.
► Use safer products, such as baking soda instead of harsher cleaners.
► White vinegar is a natural acid that works well on greasy surfaces, like tiles.