Far be it from me to preach about saving the earth– I mean, besides the fact that I’m vegan, I’d say I’m a planet killer in almost every other way– I love taking loooooong showers, I prefer online shopping to in-person (what’s better than shopping in your jammies?!), and I probably just killed 2 acres of trees this month since I don’t really find reusing a handkerchief over and over again all that appealing (do you?).
Still, a small effort is way better than none. Studies show that the average person uses about 80-100 gallons of water a day (that’s about enough to fill a 5′ x 5′ swimming pool!) and 11,496 kWh annually (which is roughly 13 classic light bulbs always on, 1 blow drier always on or 1 window AC unit running all the time). That’s pretty damn wasteful.
I know how busy we all are, which is why I’ve come up with 5 super-easy ways you can save not just your bills, but also the planet. I know, I know, so cheesy. Hey, trust me, it’ll make you feel much better than that triple-mocha latte ever will.
1) Watch a TV show at the same time as everyone in your house
TVs use about 150 watts if you have a 50” one, and you can strive to use even less if you watch TV together with your family, roommates, dust bunnies, etcetc. Yes, I know it’s tempting to simply watch that episode of Walking Dead all by your lonesome on your Mac under a blanket.
But come on: who’re going to have to complain to when you notice how AMC keeps using that same long-haired blonde chick zombie in every episode? Or that no one seems to care about getting all the chicks preggers on the show? Even if AMC isn’t being sexually sustainable, you can… well, I mean, without the sex bit.
2) Plop a container to catch your excess water runoff in the sink/shower
So if you’re like me, you like to use lots of warm water whenever you wash your hands, wash a mango, or wash your smelly little self in the shower. And that’s ok, because, well, warm water feels nice (sometimes scorching water even feels nice when it’s arse-freezing cold outside!), and it’s one of the little pleasures in life to get all fruitily-scented and squeaky clean. Cleanliness gets you closer to godliness, no?
But here’s a stinky fact: Americans use more water each day by flushing the toilet than they do by showering or any other activity. What to do?
Easy! Just transfer your love of washing stuff into saving toilet flushes with this no-brainer add-on: a small, removable basin for your sink. Water goes into the basin from scrubby time, water accumulates, water gets dumped into the toilet you just peed in, and water flushes your toilet… it’s an extremely satisfying cycle, trust.
Plus, all the soapy suds from washing your hands have now pretty much scrubbed your potty clean. Ah, the joys of killing two #1’s with one watery stone.
Basins cost like, what, 5 bucks at most? You really have no excuse. If you’re worried about what your guests might think, well, eff them, because you’re being smart. Or you can just remove the basin, s’all good.
3) Choose Standard Shipping When Shopping Online
The internet has proven extremely useful and extremely deadly in my experience. Pro: I can shop preeetty much anywhere and everywhere, even during sex… yeah, I went there. Con: I can’t find a job as a journalist. Boo.
It’s also created all these options. Gift-wrap? Sign for it? Standard? Expedited? Geez, I just want my shiz to get here in one piece! But I know that unless my boo’s bday is like, tomorrow, I’m always going to choose standard shipping. Why? Because the faster your package needs to arrive, the faster you are polluting the earth, making that superfast gift not as sweet as you thought it would be.
So the next time you forget someone’s birthday, don’t do overnight shipping… just make up a cute little IOU ticket with lots of cat sketches on it and I’m sure they’ll forgive you. And so will Mother Nature.
4) Go to sleep earlier
If you’re a night owl, you pay more. It’s just a fact of life… unless you really are a night owl, and don’t actually turn on the lights, in which case, I salute you. But for the 99.9% of us who do and like to stay up late… we use up more electricity than the early birds.
As a devoted night owl, I’m pretty unhappy about the fact that yes, I do need to use up more electric power than people who go to sleep instead. No more late night snacks! No more Jimmy Fallon! No more YouTube till 3 a.m.! Ok, I think I’ve proved that I shouldn’t be staying up late anymore.
I can’t deny that early birds have great benefits: you get more out of your day, you seem to have more energy, and you get to indulge in donuts, since it just gets automatically converted to energy. Ok, I’m sold: now I can probably achieve my new year’s resolution to try every flavor of Dunwell’s Doughnuts by the end of the month, possibly even week!
The trick is to do it slow and steady, like almost all things: chop 15-30 minutes off your bedtime, and before you know it, you’ll be a spring chicken.
5) Ladies: Try out a DivaCup
So you’re thinking, “wtf is a DivaCup” right about now. And that’s totally called for, since you most likely have never heard of it. No, it’s not a new baby toy made by a singer. It’s a menstrual cup– and before you get all grossed out, at least read this one sentence: It. Will. Change. Your. Period. And hence your life, pretty much.
I’m no delicate flower, as all my friends know, I tell it like it is, and this issue is no exception. Let’s face it– periods are gross, messy and use up tons of feminine products (and, in effect, money), and there’s nothing feminine about that.
Back in undergrad, I was getting so sick of using tons of expensive tampons and pads, and constantly looking for a less embarrassing way to stow one away in the middle of a lesson en route to the bathroom (there’s nothing worse than having to do that in front of the hottie sitting in back of you, ugh). Little did I know how much that flexible silicone cup-thing I picked up at my local natural food store would make my life a ton easier.
At first, it’s a bit annoying and frankly, weird, to use a DivaCup. I know, I’ve been there.
But you’ll find that the feeling of almost never needing to use another pad or tampon again is unparalleled– not to mention convenient when you’re traveling… no more packing a million packs of tampons! No more bulky, space-hogging pads! Girls, if there’s anything you need to try now, it’s a menstrual cup. Period.