Earth Day is coming soon. But for those of us who are concerned with saving the environment, every day is “Earth Day.” Let’s take a look at a few tips that we can all take advantage of to help save our planet.
- Pull the plug: Shut off electrical items when not in use. Coffee makers, microwaves, TV’s are on all the time, even when you’ve shut them off. They’re still on standby, and even though they don’t individually use much electricity when you add it up with all the other things that are on standby over a year, it’s probably worth thinking about. You may want to try using a power strip where you can. Plug your computer and all its accessories into one power bar, and when you’re done working for the day, you can just shut off the power strip. All of these items, if left on, continue to use electricity if they’re still plugged in.
- Set a timer: There are some items in your home that can be put on timers, as they’re only needed during certain parts of the day or night, like lights, fans, heat. How many times have you turned up the heat in the morning, and forgotten to turn it down when you run out to work? A timer would solve that problem. Just adjust it as necessary if you happen to be at home during the day.
- Dry with care: If you regularly use a clothes dryer, make sure you keep it clean and lint-free. This will help with energy usage. And if the weather’s nice, you can try hanging your washed laundry on a line outside. It’s cheaper than running your dryer, and your clothes smell fabulous afterward.
- Load the washer: When washing clothes, try to run the machine only when you have a full load. If you have just a few small items, you’ll use a lot less water by hand washing them, rather than running a small load. If your washing machine has a quick cycle, take a look at your user’s manual, or talk to an expert to see if this would save time, water, and energy. It’s great for lightly soiled clothes when killing germs isn’t a major consideration.
- Fill the dishwasher: Wait until the dishwasher is full before you run it. You can always run the Rinse and Hold cycle if you’re not going to have a full load for a while, and you want to avoid smells. And try using the quick cycle to save even more water and energy. Use the smallest amount of detergent necessary; you may need to experiment.
- Open a window: Air conditioners use more electricity than just about any other piece of equipment in your home. During the warm months, when it’s not too unbearable, open a window or use a fan, rather than turning on your power-hungry air conditioner.
- Close a vent: Another way to reduce energy waste is to close off any rooms you’re not currently using. Close the heating or air conditioning vents. However, in the winter, make sure you’re not making the room so cold that you wind up with frozen water pipes.
- Turn down the heat: When you’re watching TV, snuggle up under a blanket or put on a sweater and socks. This will help keep you toasty warm, while still saving energy.
- Turn off the tap: Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. 6 litres per minute is wasted if you leave the tap running. So if you’re a diligent tooth-brusher (good for you.), you could be saving 12 to 18 litres, or more, every time you brush your teeth. If you brush three times per day, that’s a lot of water. And speaking of the tap, in North America, we’re very lucky to have clean, safe drinking water straight out of the tap. But if you don’t like the taste of tap water, consider investing in a filtration system or a filter jug, like a Brita, rather than buying bottled water.
- Stop the drip: If your faucet drips at a rate of 6 drops per minute, you are losing 1,200 litres of water a year. If it’s the hot water that’s dripping, you’re not only losing water, but also the energy used to heat it. According to BC Hydro, you can save up to $33 per year just by fixing a hot water leak.
- Fix the flapper: If your toilet has been around for a while, the flapper could be getting worn out, causing it to leak. Flappers are made of rubber and are very inexpensive, and quite easy, to replace. To check for a leak, just remove the tank lid, and drop about ten drops of food colouring into the tank. Put the lid back on and wait about 15 minutes. Check the bowl to see if the water has turned colour. If so, the flapper is leaking, and water is running unnecessarily into the bowl. You should check for leaks once or twice a year. You can find all kinds of videos online that will show you, step by step, how to replace a flapper, such as this one from PlumbingSupply.com.
- Go meatless: EarthDay.org tells us that the meat industry is responsible for approximately 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It takes nearly twenty times the amount of energy to produce a single calorie of meat, compared to one calorie from plants. If we can go meatless one day a week, we will be helping to reduce our own carbon footprint in the world.
- BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag): Instead of getting another disposable plastic bag at the grocery store, carry a cloth bag. You can purchase bags that fold down and fit in your purse or briefcase, so you always have it on hand. You never know when the desire to shop will strike.
- Recycle your electronics: Do you have an old computer or cell phone you want to throw away? Instead of throwing it in the garbage, think about recycling it. Just Google “recycle computers (name of your city), ” and you’ll find places that are looking for used computers and cell phones, whether working or not.
- Use your car less: If you use your car every day, think about ways that you can leave it at home for just two days out of 7. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says that you will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 1500 pounds per year. And when you do use your car, try to plan your stops so you can complete several errands during one trip. This will not only save on gas but on time as well. And don’t forget about walking or riding your bike a bit more. You’ll save on expenses, help the environment, and as a bonus, burn calories.
At Square One Insurance, we like to walk the talk. As a responsible company, we do everything we can to promote a clean environment and reduce waste.
- Clean commute: Our office is situated in downtown Vancouver, almost directly above a Skytrain station. This has encouraged our staff to take public transit to work, rather than bring a car downtown. Several of our staff have chosen to live downtown and save even more energy by walking to work.
- Clean environment: In our kitchen, all the necessary dining supplies, like glasses, cups, dishes, and cutlery are provided so there’s no need for waste, with paper plates and plastic forks. We have energy saving appliances including a dishwasher, as well as a refrigerator for staff to store their lunches.
- Responsible business practices: All of our insurance policies are issued online, and policies and communications are emailed to our customers. This has created a huge reduction in paper products. In fact, we have a shredder in our office to get rid of any sensitive material, but you have to look hard to find a wastepaper basket. Whatever paper we use, which isn’t much, is recycled.
You can get a quote on your home or rental property, easily online. And there’s no need to waste time or energy making a trip into our office. You can choose to complete your policy online yourself, or speak to one of our agents, who will help you get the coverage you need, and as mentioned above, will email your policy directly to you. There is no need for mailing documents or printing lengthy insurance wording booklets. And because our policies allow you to customize them to suit your specific needs, you’re not wasting money having to insure things you don’t have, like porcelain ware or rare collectibles. You can start a quote online, or, call one of our experienced agents at 1.855.331.6933 for a phone quote. We’re open 8:30 am - 5:30 pm (Mon - Sat).
To learn more about Earth Day, check out Earth Day Canada. Earth Day Canada is a national charity that has been inspiring Canadians to connect with nature and build resilient communities.