Life is full of trade-offs. We all know that. When you are trying to live less wastefully, the most common choices are between convenience and minimizing impact. With service as one of our Core Values, we thought we'd help you out this week with a few ways to minimize impact conveniently.
Fastest and easiest way to go lint and wrinkle free? Hang-drying your clothes after you wash them. The trick is getting them out and up as soon as the washer is finished. Try it out with a few key items that require special care and then see how it goes. Before long, you may find that dryer less necessary. You'll cut electricity use and extend the wearable life of your clothes.
Dishwashers can be amazingly efficient: they save on electricity and water, and they save us from a cluttered kitchen and the time it takes to do the dishes ourselves. Modern dishwashers can even ensure that our dishes become clean and germ-free in an environmentally efficient way. However, we often leave one convenient setting on that we really don’t need. Heated drying cycles are included to make the drying process seem faster. They don’t really sanitize the dishes more than hot water, and the dishes don’t need to be dry any faster if you choose a smarter time to run the machine. Set it to run before you leave for the day, the dishes will be dry by the time you get home. Start it at night and the dishes will be ready in the morning. Plus you can take advantage of off-peak electricity while also cutting out the energy needs of the heated cycle itself.
It's pretty safe to say that we all love our smartphones and tablets. It’s then also safe to say that we hate it when our batteries are running low on power. But did you know that we can keep the funny cat memes coming in if we just think about how and when we use our radios? Each sort of connection that we can make with our devices, namely WiFi, Bluetooth, and wireless cell data, are searched for and made with radio transmitters. We can easily turn these off in our device settings and save on the electricity and the hassle of needing to charge up. For example, if you aren’t connected to Bluetooth devices, just leave the Bluetooth option off. If you are somewhere without an accessible WiFi network and plan to just use mobile data, turn off your WiFi for now, but remember to turn it back on later! Combining this with other smart device choices like managing screen brightness and deleting or closing out of battery-draining apps can keep you charged and reduce your impact.
We are all online most of the time. You are reading this post online now (unless you printed it out, in which case, please recycle) and you will jump on to other posts and videos later. The internet is an endless expanse and we feel like we can add to it and shape it without end. While this is true in a creative sense, we become entirely detached from the physical infrastructure of connected servers that store and serve all of these 1s and 0s. These servers use an incredible amount of electricity to run and, even more, to stay cool. When we add more and more images and develop more complex and flashy apps, we are creating demand for even more servers. Of course, if what we upload is useful and delightful to us and others, then we should upload away. But we often get caught in the trap of uploading everything, regardless of use. Think of syncing all our photos to the cloud, even if those three accidental pictures of someone’s elbow get included. In order to reduce both our impact and our need to manage, sort through, and protect all of these uploads over time, consider whether something needs to be available or even saved at all before you upload it.
What did we miss? What do you do to save in simple ways? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org