Cost-Efficient Ways to make your Home more Eco-Friendly [Infographic]

Originally Published on Huffington Post

Let’s face it: Reducing your home’s negative impact on the planet will likely require a huge amount of work.

But solar panels and temperature-regulating walls aren’t the only ways to help your household adopt more eco-friendly practices. There are a ton of easy — and fun — ways to conserve energy.

Luckily for us, UK-based magazine Good To Be Home has some clever ideas on other ways to do it.

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Things you should Not Refrigerate

The refrigerator is a great invention that has hugely increased the time we can keep out food without it spoiling.  However, whilst it is an essential tool to store food safely for some foods, others do not respond well to lower temperatures and can lose much of their flavor and even spoil quicker when stored in the fridge.

Continue reading “Things you should Not Refrigerate”

Save energy and keep you hands warm – The “Green Laboratory Program” at the University of Washington

Hello again. Today I’d like to continue our series about how to be eco-friendly in a laboratory. Remember last weeks post about the initiative at the Simon Fraser University? Here’s another university promoting green laboratories: the University of Washington. Besides the Green Office, Green Greek (“acknowledges and educates Greek community members about their habits at home relating to sustainability”) and “SEED Green Endorsement” (recognising UW students living on campus and off, who are thoughtful about the impact of their daily life on the environment), it has the Green Laboratory Program, which I’ll introduce here now in more detail, i.e. especially the Freezer Challenge.

As pointed out on their website, “Laboratories are one of the main generators of waste …”. So true. Working in a molecular biology lab, I’v thrown away a lot of consumables every day – all the reaction vials called Eppis, all the disposable pipette tips, transfer pipets, micro plates, … – it’s simply the way, it’s the way they are supposed to be used: just once. And then you throw them away.

But leaving this aspect aside for the moment (more about this in a later post), there’s another factor with a huge impact on the environment: the energy consumption of a laboratory. I didn’t know that a lab is “using about 4 times more energy than an office of the same size”. Wow. But giving it some thought, I absolutely believe it because there’s a lot of equipment running from morning to evening or even 24h. Of course, some equipment has to run permanently, such as the various incubators, fridges and freezers. After all, your freezer at home also runs 24/7, doesn’t it? But – and here’s an important difference – your freezer at home probably got a good Energy Star rating. Why? Let’s be honest: because it’s you who’s paying the electricity bill and getting one of those A+++ fridges is one one way to save money, isn’t it?

I know, we’re back talking about money and not just about saving the environment. My feeling is that you can’t avoid this connection – there’s simply a strong link between them. Anyway, why not use saving money as a strong motivation to be more eco friendly? In the laboratory, it’s the university who’s paying the bills. But if you care about it anyway and help them to reduce their energy bill:

a) you’ve done something good for the planet and
b) you might get more money for your research – at least, you’d very much hope, that’s where the saved money ends up.

Continue reading “Save energy and keep you hands warm – The “Green Laboratory Program” at the University of Washington”

How to Wash, Dry, and Store Lettuce

So this is how I wash, dry and store my lettuce so that it is fresh and ready for salad whenever I need it! I use this method for all types of lettuce (except iceberg, see the end of this post for information about cleaning and storing iceberg lettuce) and it also works for other types of greens and hearty herbs such as parsley.

1. Fill a sink* with cold water, separate all the leaves of lettuce, place them in the water and swirl them around. If the lettuce is a bit limp, let it soak in the water for 30 minutes and it will miraculously come back to life.

2. Drain the water, turn on the faucet, and briefly rinse* each piece of lettuce as you remove it from sink and place in the basket of your salad spinner. If you use organic lettuce, just give each piece a quick once-over to check for clinging bugs and dirt. As you put the lettuce in the spinner, you can tear the leaves in half if they are large (such as full-size romaine).

3. When the spinner is full but not tightly packed, spin the lettuce until dry.

4. Spread two paper towels (still connected) on the counter and pile the dry lettuce in the middle. Wrap the paper towels around the lettuce and slide into a gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Squeeze the air out and close the bag.

5. The lettuce can now be stored in the fridge and should stay fresh for at least a couple of weeks. You can take out what you need whenever you want to make a salad or sandwich and then just reseal the bag. The plastic bags can also be reused!

Lettuce on Paper Towels

Lettuce Wrapped in Paper Towels

Lettuce in Plastic Bag

Air is Squeezed Out

Ready for the Fridge

*My advice would be: instead of filling the sink with cold water and then draining it afterwards, why not filling a big bowl and then reuse it watering the plants, and when is time to rinse each leaf directly with the water running from the faucet, let the water run into the bowl (the same or another) in order to not wasting water and reusing it for something else, as I said, watering the plants may be a good option.

Find the full original article here, gives a lot of other tips including salad additions and dressings, totally worth it.