Eco-friendly lifestyle tips and tricks are the main topic of many publications and Internet pages created in the last years. Albeit being a local real estate expert gives me plenty of opportunities to talk about the many ways of eco-friendly living with my clients, my topic today will be a bit more specific. Most people have already come across the crucial eco-tips, so we are not going to try to summarize them here again. Our today’s topic will be the three everyday items that we generally don’t even consider to be a problem: food, water and electricity.
Since most people (I believe!) regularly recycle paper, glass and tins, most of your common litter is probably composted of food. The bulk of the groceries that we throw away is in most cases in perfect condition and in some cases even in the original wrapper or box. We can find out that out of all the groceries that Canadian families pick out and pay for in stores, 20 to 30% eventually ends up in the dustbin. Adding stores and restaurants’ garbage, that’s 7 to 14 billion tonnes of food per year. That is worth $3 to 5 billion Canadian dollars per year.
Now you are probably surprised by these numbers, aren’t you? With so many organizations trying to help people affected by lack of food, while at the same time so much of it is being wasted right under our noses. While it wouldn’t be too smart to pack unused groceries and send it to countries hit by famine, there are other ways to avoid food being thrown out in vain. 1. Try using leftovers. For example if you had some rice remaining from last night’s supper, you could have prepared stuffed peppers today. 2. A good way of avoiding food going past the expiry date is sorting your food cabinet by this criteria: older food, that is going to expire soon, is placed in the front, while the longer lasting products can stay in the back of the shelves. 3. It may happen that you know beforehand that there is some food you are not going to be able to consume before its expiration date. Instead of throwing it out, try to find a local charity or soup kitchen and bring your food there when it’s still serviceable. Let some people eat it – hunger isn’t only to Africa. 4. If you have some leftovers anyway, try mulching it instead of just throwing it away. Always try to think in the way that food just shouldn’t be dumped. If you don’t have a garden yourself, try to find someone who does and can do the mulching.
You probably already know many tips on how to prevent using more water than necessary in your household. But there is one remarkable aspect of home water saving – toilets, as places we use to get rid of our excrements. We got used to using toilets so much that we no longer think of them – as long as they work the way the are supposed to. However, have you tried to calculate how much water your family uses every month for flushing the lavatory? Wow, that’s a lot of water, isn’t it? And has it ever occurred to you that this quantity is not necessary, that flushing your lavatory can be done using less water? There are two different methods to achieve that. 1. There are new kinds of toilets available, that are using just the minimum volume of water necessary. You might think that there is not much to choose from when buying a new lavatory, but just stop by at your local shop and see for yourself, you might be surprised! 2. Another way of decreasing the amount of water for flushing is to put several plastic bottles filled with water into the tank of your toilet. You might have to experiment a bit before you find out the right volume of water needed for the toilet to keep functioning fine.
You have probably already heard a lot of tips and tricks on how to save electric energy. But now let’s talk about tumble dryers, as I see these myself as one of the biggest energy-eaters in our households. Today, people are not used to waiting before they get something they want or need at the moment, and they sometimes need too much energy getting it, just because it will be done faster. It’s a fact that no one has time today to do the laundry by hands and dishwashers actually save water. But tumble dryer? Would it be such a great problem if we just waited 1 – 2 days for our clothes to get dry? If you really mean to “live green”, use your tumble dryer only in crisis situations or get rid of it (sell it) completely. Not only the environment will be grateful for your decision, but also you will pay less for electricity.