Easy Ways to Go Green
Green lifestyle choices are all the rage right now—everything from driving a hybrid or forgoing water bottles. But technology is also a serious energy sucker, according to The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers, Thomas M. Kostigen, and William McDonough. (Crowne Publishing Group; $12.95) By making a few green lifestyle changes in the office, at home, and on the road, you can drastically decrease your impact. Here, a few that will start you on a greener path.
At the Office
Consider the copier. When making copies, use both sides of the paper, and if you’re printing out a document that no one else will see, print it on scrap paper. When you’re through with the machine, put it on standby to lighten your energy usage by 70 percent.
Discard the cover sheet. When sending faxes, avoid using a cover sheet whenever possible. You’ll save paper on both ends of the transmission and help reduce the number of trees cut down—a whopping 17 million—for fax paper each year.
Swap your printer. If you or your office currently uses a LaserJet printer, consider switching to an inkjet printer. Laser printers use 300 watts of energy versus just 10 for inkjets
Use your dishwasher correctly. It might be one of the ultimate conveniences of the modern kitchen, but the dishwasher also wastes energy and water. To decrease its impact, run full loads in your dishwasher and don’t prerinse your dishes before putting them in. If you make both changes, you’ll save up to 20 gallons of water per dish load, or 7,300 gallons of water per year.
Change your washer cycle. Set warm-wash and cold-rinse cycles and you’ll save up to 90 percent of the energy you would have used if you’d only used a warm-wash cycle.
Clean the dryer lint trap. Just by cleaning your lint trap, you can save 5 percent on your electricity bill. If everyone in America cleaned their lint traps, we’d save the energy equivalent of 350 million gallons of gasoline every year
Go digital. Here’s one instance where technology is better for the environment. Digital cameras reduce some 686 million rolls of film that are processed each year, so click away.
Elect the E-ticket option: By forgoing a paper ticket, you could help the airline industry save as much as $3 billion annually and reduce the amount of paper used on tickets each day. Your wallet will benefit too: By using an E-ticket instead of a paper ticket you can save as much as $30 per ticket.
Unplug unused electronics. When you’re on the road, make sure to unplug all your plugs and adapters when they aren’t in use. Unplugged objects amounts to 5% of the energy used.