Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Happy Earth Day! Buy Recycled & Tame your Fridge

We consumers are completely powerless. Wrong! Companies have to keep up with us. Yes, they try to influence our decision making, but they can’t force us to buy anything. If our spending choices are mindful of a healthy environment, any smart company will ensure that those products are produced and available.

Erin McMurtry reminded me about Kimberly Clark products, such as Kleenex. The world’s largest tissue company has been accused of harvesting old growth forests and greenwashing its involvement. Puts an interesting spin on “down the toilet”, doesn’t it? Greenpeace is spearheading an initiative to sign up 500 companies to avoid Kimberly Clark products. We can too….

TO Do This Week

Buy Recycled
This week when shopping, let’s check to make sure that all paper-based products that we buy are made from recycled material. Or, find alternatives to paper, such as reusable cotton wipes and hankies. Remember the hanky?

Check out an Earth Day Event – April 22
Let’s spend this Saturday outside! Check out an Earth Day event in your area, even if it’s only for an hour. If you can’t attend an event, then in honour of the day you could always incorporate one of my many tips if you haven’t done so already. Just scan this blog's past installments.

Taming Your Refrigerator
Let's make our refrigerators more energy efficient.

What’s the Big Deal? The refrigerator is by far the biggest energy consumer in your home. According to the Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, the average refrigerator uses 1155 kilowatt hours per year. As a reference, computers use 77. Happily, manufacturers are making them more energy efficient, to the tune of 435 kilowatt hours per year.

Tips! If you can’t afford a new Energy Star fridge right now, or are renting and your landlord is too short-sighted to invest in something that will save him money, here are some tips from Earth Easy to make your fridge a little bit more efficient….

• “Adjust temperature settings for different seasons. Check refrigerator setting by placing a thermometer in a jar of water and leaving in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, the temperature should read 34 to 40 degrees F. Adjust settings if necessary. Temperature settings usually need to be reduced in winter. The freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees F.

• During winter, freezer space often goes unused. Your refrigerator continues to use energy, however, to freeze this space. Take empty milk jugs, or other plastic containers, and fill them with water. Place them outside until they freeze, then put them in your freezer. This will fill the empty space and reduce the area to be kept cold.

• Manual defrost refrigerators are generally more efficient than automatic defrost models, but only if they are properly maintained. The freezer should be defrosted if ice buildup is thicker than 1/4 inch.

• Vacuum the coils in the back of your refrigerator twice a year to maximize efficiency.

• Check the door gasket occasionally to be sure the seal isn't broken by debris or caked on food.

• Refrigerator should not be located near the stove, dishwasher, heat vents or exposed to direct sunlight. Check to be sure that air flow around your refrigerator is not obstructed.

• If your refrigerator has an energy-saver (anti-sweat) switch, it should be on during the summer and off during the winter.

• Never run frost-free refrigerators with freezer compartments in unheated areas with air temperature below 60 degrees F.”

In the News
High War on Waste
Toronto Star article on the city’s plan to be waste free by 2012, a first for North America. If you live in one of Toronto’s 5,100 multi-family dwellings, this article will be of special interest.

Ontario Clean Air Alliance Raises Alarm on AMPCO
The Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario (AMPCO) can’t give up coal-fire plants. Global warming? What global warming?

Grist Magazine
Mexico City’s air is a little cleaner!


Truth Out

1 comment:

Janer said...

Another tip for Toronto dwellers but can probably be found at other retailers. I buy a 100% recycled toilet paper at my fave store - Honest Ed's - called Fiesta. Its competetive price-wise and post-consumer recycled.

Keep up the great tips Cheryl! You make being ecologically aware easier. Fer sure.