Saving the Planet, Water and Energy yourself

August 2015

This primer have all (or most of) tips and hints on how to help the planet, and your wallet. Please note that some tips are specific for cold or hot weather. Each tip have icons describing what you will be saving the most, as follows:

Animals matter!
Take care of your cat

  - Save up money

  - Save up on energy, and therefore reduce pollution from the need of extra power plants. Note that there are a lot of items where you do not use energy, but energy was used to build/make it. 

  - Save up water, and therefore also reduce pollution and sewage. Note that there are a lot of items where you do not use water, but water was used to build/make it, or using it pollute the environment.

  - Help the planet, either nature or society. Yes, we are aware all items have this (that is the point of this article). Note some items have only this when it is about society and empathy, promoting peace.

  - As an extra, it is good for your health


          Prefer to use a fan over the air-conditioner
          If the fan is not enough and you are in dry weather (less than 60% air humidity), consider a humidifier. The mist is often very fresh
          If it is hot inside but cold outside, try using a fan to blow fresh air inside by the window instead of the air-conditioner
          If all the above fail, set the air-conditioner to no less than 25°C (77°F). If you think it is not "cold enough", remember the idea is not to be hot. Go out and back again and you will feel it.
          On cold weather, before starting your heater, consider putting one more layer of sweater or blanket
          Be sure your heater have high energy saving rating (the old ones are energy hogs)
          Be sure your room is well insulated to avoid loosing hot/cold air to outside: close doors and windows
          If you end up using your heater, set it no more than 18°C (64°F), it is more than enough to keep you warm.
          Replace your incandescent lamps/bulbs with fluorescent ones (CFL), the lifetime savings is about 90%! Dispose burned ones in recyclable (or specially CFL trash) bins since they have mercury. Even better, if you can afford, replace them with LED lamps.
          Save light at day by keeping all windows and curtains open
          If you have mosquito/fly issues, consider installing mosquito nets at your windows instead of using poison (or those electric anti-mosquito devices which often are also poison)
          Only light the necessary, and install timers where they can be useful (for instance, if you have an aquarium, a timer is awesome to control the light). Motion detectors for outside lights are great too!
          Always set a timer to shut-down heaters or air-conditioners, just in case you forget them on. Also, set the timer so they shut off an hour before you leave so you save energy while the temperature is still pleasant
          Consider using brooms more often than vacuum. Not only it is a better exercise, it saves energy. Also, avoid cleaning the outside with water, wait for after a rainy day if you need the water!
          Buy digital goods instead of physical ones whenever possible: music, movies, books, magazines and so on. It is usually cheaper and you save on waste/pollution
          Turn off devices that you are not going to use for a while (hours) instead of leaving them in stand by. Even the simpler devices can use a few Watts per hour on stand by, multiply that for 720 (hours in a month) and you will see the savings.
          Do not print unless absolutely required, and when you do, use draft mode to save on ink. Why print anyway? we live in the digital age!
          Choose rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones. Not only it is considerably less waste (toxic by the way), good rechargeable batteries will end up saving up money. The best batteries as of 2015 offer over 1000 cycles (recharges) before loosing 10% capacity!
          Consider purchasing a cheap solar panel with battery. If you have a lot of daylight available at your house, you might be able to recharge your smartphone everyday - forever - with this set! And cheap solar panels are as cheap as U$20 (you will need one with about 5W to get a full smartphone battery loaded in 12h daylight, the ideal would be to buy a battery pack to stay with the solar panel, after all, you won't leave your phone connected to the solar panel at the sun all day) If you live in a house, consider actually installing real solar panels for real energy, money and environment savings.
          Don't be cheap: sometimes a brand that is slightly more pricey might actually last much more, or offer a larger warranty period. Research your brands!
          Hang your clothes dry on a clothesline or rack by the air. Not only it saves energy (and money), it has less chance of discoloring or shrinking than using a machine!
          Whenever possible, save water: use only what you need, and try to recycle even at home: don't throw away water, store it in some bucket to use to flush the toilet, for instance. Most Japanese people save the bath water to wash their laundry!
          Prefer function over form, like Flex cars where you can choose the best fuel, and check if it has good energy efficiency (so it saves fuel) and low emissions. (In short, don't buy VW .. sorry, couldn't resist)
          Plan ahead your day out, so you can take shorter routes or optimize batch errands. Saves time and fuel/money!, and remember: short routes are a lot more healthy and cheaper if done on foot.
          Avoid hot showers. Not only it wastes energy, it is also not so good for your skin. Warm is better! While on the shower subject, take quick showers!
          Prefer shower over bathing (bathtube), uses less water, unless you have a planned family bath poll (Japanese Style) where the bath water is used for the whole family (Check this out: "12 reasons why Japanese Bathrooms are the Best!")
          Reuse the bath water to flush the toilet: keep a bucket close and fill it after you are done in your bath, so the next flush is "free" (or keep the bucket in the shower, water will usually naturally fall inside, might not get full in a quick shower, but you get the gist)
          Install toilets with a tank, so only a set amount of water is used on each flush. Then, regulate the buoy to fill as little as possible said tank (this is a useful tip: "Save a gallon per flush"), and again, if you manage to preserve water from other activities, use it to flush it!
          When doing your groceries, avoid over-purchasing. There is nothing more sad than letting food root. And remember to bring your own bag, avoid using disposable plastic bags at all costs.
          If you have a dishwasher machine, do not rinse before putting things inside. Also, always wait until you have a full load, even if that means waiting a day or two.
          As for clothes, also wait to have a full load, and do not use heat water. You can have clean clothes using only cold water wash cycles!
          Keep a glass/cup for yourself all day instead of using more than one. Also, never use disposable cups. Not only you save on not needing to buy new ones (and reduces waste), by knowing which one is yours, you can use it several times a day before a quick wash. If you are somewhere where they are using disposable cups, use a marker on your cup so you use only one.
          Find uses for plastic (pet) bottles. There are so many uses that we will just leave at that (check our articles), other than: if you can't find a use, recycle!
          When making your purchase, look for balanced savings packs: sometimes you see a pack that is really cheap, but have too much and some end up rooting/not get used. Avoid that, buy only what you need, or share with family/friends the excess from the promotion. Also, when buying beverages, try to get the bigger container: it is usually cheaper and wastes less plastic (Ex.: buy one 5L bottles instead of five 1L ones)
          Parents! Use cloth diapers. The waste of plastic/disposable diapers is literally insane! And needless to say, a lot more expensive. You might use energy/water to clean it, but it takes a lot more energy/water to build each disposable diaper! Also, some babies are allergic to disposable diapers.
          Prefer paper bags or cardboard, avoid plastic bags at all costs. Look for markets that instead of trashing the cardboard where their purchase came with so you take your purchases home! (extra tip: if you have cats, you know what to do with those boxes!). You can also purchase (some places will offer as a gift if you make large purchases) reusable cloth bags.
          Prefer public transportation (if clean and efficient, we know not all countries/cities have them) over your own car. Save fuel, pollution, stress and you won't have to worry about parking fees (or, depending where you live, car theft) - or car-poll with coworkers
          Walk more! If whatever you need is only 10 minutes walk away, walk! might even be faster than finding a parking spot - and it is healthier
          For only a few floors, use the stairs. Free cardio, and less energy used. When going down, consider even longer distances!
          Turn off your car when you are car locked in traffic. Some modern cards have this option built-in.
          For short travel, prefer bus or train over planes. They are cheaper and cleaner. If you are in Japan, forget planes!
          Seriously: no disposable stuff. 
          Donate or sell your old usable stuff. Even broken stuff might find a use at the hands of other people - at least for spare parts.
          Use economy mode on any and all devices where they exist. 
          Don't be spoiled or picky. Do not be a slave of brands and flaunt ... the good guy saves money, energy, water and the world - MEOW!
          Absolutely no smoking.
          Eat healthy (less healthcare, and sometimes cheaper too ... and longer life ... and better life .. win win). 
          Take care of your teeth (same as above)
          Do not let yourself get overweight or sedentary. Not only it is bad for your health, but it usually means you are eating too much.
          Learn about nutritional facts, so you know what is and what is not important. There are a lot of "healthy food" that are expensive but not really all that healthier. 
          Buy local products. They are usually cheaper (less transit fees) and can have less pesticides. If you want "organic" food (free of pesticides), then definitely go local.
          Tone down on meat. A lot of energy and water, as well farmland, go to get that beef on your table, and too much meat is not healthy anyway (no need to go vegan though, absolutes are often counter-intuitive)
          Juice up! Tea up! Natural beverages are healthier and have less artificial chemicals, and some are also good for specific health issues. Tea is excellent to clean up your system, for instance. Don't make carbonated drinks a villain: carbonated water or carbonated juices are just as healthy, the villain is sugary beverages.
          Drink tap water if your local supplier ensure quality. In some places, tap water is healthier than bottle water because there are more restrictions and monitoring - though in other places, just don't. Research your source!
          Use sunscreen ... too much (and costly) healthcare to fix skin issues later!
          Watch your posture, same reason. Being healthy is cheaper!
          Keep the plastic where your dairy or supplies come, so you can use them as storage later - no need to buy specific plastics or tupperware!
          Remember: Cars are for transport, not flaunt. Buy the most efficiency and eco-friendly one, not the biggest and fuel hungry just for show.
          Don't be a hoarder! Do yearly inventories and get rid (donate/sell) what you no longer need.
          Use all the napkin paper instead of multiple ones. Also, prefer paper napkin over those airflow heaters (that use so much energy and are actually not very hygienic)
          Love nature: plant, keep plants, plant trees! 
          We told you to sell or donate what you don't need, do the opposite too: don't be afraid of second-hand, sometimes second-hand items where not even used. Just check if the supplier is trustworthy
          Keep maintenance in all devices that require them in check: poorly maintained machinery lasts less, and if applicable, pollute more, and often also use more energy/fuel (prime example: car)
          Learn about other people beliefs and ideas so you can understand their point of view and avoid unwilling offend other people
          Respect other people by not belittling their lives. We all have our weakness. (Except if they are hypocrites ... than you are free to point out their glaring stupidity)
          Promote constructive and improving actions (positive action), prevent and avoid anything that would damage or hurt others. Respect to be respected.
          If you want to be wise, try to play with the idea of defending other people's point of view. You might not be able to, or even manage to defend a point of view different from yours, but in the end, you will learn arguments from both sides and improve your overall perception of the matter.
          Do not promote exclusive or "labeling" activities. If we are to be one people, one civilization, then we should consider everyone is the same: "recognizing" differences and minorities is actually the first step to exclusion and prejudice. Don't! If a person was born in another place, with another physical characteristic or religious/personal belief, it does not make them different, makes them unique, they are still the same humans are we all are - one race, one civilization.


This year donations/tips (click to tip/donate): $3.1, 2018 donations: $36, Server cost yearly: $180