Many of us want to be more sustainable in our everyday lives and the New Year is a great time to get started! This year, consider making sustainability a priority, or a bigger priority. Not only is it great for the planet, oftentimes more sustainable solutions save you money. Being green and avoiding waste saves the other kind of green, like your energy and water bills too!
#1 Use Outdoor Water Wisely
Even if you’re not in an area currently affected by drought, water conscious and drought friendly landscaping is a great way to cut down on water use and your water bill. According to the EPA, “as much as 50 percent of the water we use outdoors is lost due to wind, evaporation, and runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.”. They also state that an improperly maintained or incorrectly operating automatic drip irrigation system can waste a household up to 25,000 gallons of water annually.
Instead, make the most of your irrigation system by water at your plants’ roots. Instead of wasting water at the surface that can be lost to evaporation, run-off, or surface weeds, deliver water deep to your plant’s feeder roots. Deep root watering with our DEEP DRIP Watering stakes can save up to 50% more water than surface watering alone by putting your water to work deeper underground. You can use less water for better results.
#2 Declutter the Sustainable Way
While decluttering has become even more popular with organizers like Marie Kondo, try keeping your decluttering green instead of wasting what you no longer need. Donate what items can have a new life to a local charity. For items that may be better off in the bin, try repurposing them as cleaning rags or compost non-synthetic clothing. You can even recycle clothing, Earth 911 has a recycling locator you can use to find a textile recycling program near you.
#3 Put your Food Waste to Work
Instead of tossing your table scraps or spoiled leftovers, try composting instead. If you don’t want to compost at home, many cities/towns have composting programs you can use. Some veggies can also be regrown from table scraps, including: potatoes, onions, celery, cabbages, root crops like carrots, garlic, basil and other herbs, and much more! For more info on what veggies you can regrow check out this article from Rural Sprout.
#4 Reduce Vampire Energy
Energy vampires are devices that drain power even when they aren’t on, they just need to be plugged in. Also known as phantom power, some common culprits are microwaves, phone or laptop chargers, video game consoles and printers. You can simply unplug your devices, use a power strip with an off switch, or utilize a device’s “sleep” or low-power mode. Duke energy has an energy vampire calculator you can use to calculate how much money and power you could save by unplugging your devices.
#5 Do a Water-Waste Check
Many of us unknowingly waste water around our home without even realizing it. In fact, the EPA estimates that the average American family can waste 180 gallons per week or 9,400 gallons annually, enough water to wash more than 300 loads of laundry. Speaking of laundry, try to only wash full loads and wash in cold water. Water heating is about 90% of the energy used to run a washing machine and cold water is less likely to shrink and fade your clothes.
Not only our habits can waste water, leaks are another huge culprit, the average person loses about 10 gallons of water daily to leaks. One of the common things that leak are toilets. An easy way to check for leaks is to add food coloring to your toilet’s tank overnight, if any colored water has entered the bowl, you’ve found a hidden leak. As well as addressing existing leaks, consider using an adjustable flapper to reduce water use and prevent leaks.
If you’re looking to be more sustainable this New Year, preventing wasted resources and money, these tips should help! For even more helpful information, take a look at Today’s Homeowner’s guide “13 Ways to Save Water at Home in 2023“.