Quick Eco-Friendly Tips

Since starting my mission to consume responsibly, I see opportunity to improve everywhere. Sometimes I get bogged down. I want to start something right away, but it will take some research, time to develop a habit, or a special trip to a new store. So I write the idea down in a notebook and will add new habits as I’m able. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say. I’ve come to accept that this will be an evolving journey with lots of starts and stops rather than a straight path. This blog will be my outlet for (hopefully) more organized communication of my musings and meanderings.

I think it’s easiest to gain momentum with some quick wins that make me feel like I’ve accomplished something. With this in mind, I wanted to share how we’ve set up things in our house to automatically form habits (or almost automatically) to reduce waste and save energy. No thinking, just quick, easy wins once the system is in place. If you like any of these, see if you can fit them into your weekend plans. It’ll make next week a little greener.

Programmable power bar – I know electronics consume energy when off but still plugged in, but could never remember to flick the switch on the power bar. Programmable power bars automatically shut off and on at a certain time (we set ours for overnight when we aren’t using the computer).

Kill switch power bar – we have our TV, XBox, BluRay, and receiver plugged into a powerbar with a kill switch stuck to the top of the TV to conveniently cut all power while keeping the cords hidden. Since the switch is visible, I use it much more regularly than if I had to turn off a powerbar on the floor.

Bathroom fan timer – so this one takes a little more effort, but you don’t have to be an electrician. We bought a timer plate to replace the switch for our bathroom fan. No more leaving it on all day by mistake!

Porch light timer – same as the fan. Ours has settings to turn on at dusk, and off at a pre-programmed time. It comes with a switch so you can override the program when you need to.

Compostable bag in bathroom garbage – this one is less about technology and more of a reminder. Since most of what we throw away in the bathroom is compostable, I put a compostable bag in as a visual reminder not to throw in garbage. If there is something we need to throw out, we take it to a garbage bin in a bedroom. We also bring the empty toilet paper roll down to the kitchen for recycling.

Dedicated floor cloth – this one became more important with kids. I got in the habit of using paper towel to wipe messes off the floor, until I stuck a cloth under the kitchen sink just for quick floor spills. (One step closer to getting rid of paper towels all together.)

And here are some reminders of ideas I posted on Facebook and Twitter:

Coffee filter basket – never worry about running out of paper filters again with a reusable basket.

No junk mail sign – we got stick-on letters from Home Hardware and made our own on our mailbox, but you can also print off labels or buy signs already crafted. Either way, they really work and we don’t have to take recycling from our kitchen to the grey bin as often – a huge plus in the winter!

I realize this post has a lot about buying stuff. But these purchases will hopefully use less resources in the long-run. What are your favourite quickies?

Up next, cleaning out my personal care products – what I found in my home audit and what I’m going to do with the empty containers.

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