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REDUCE_ Powered By Docstoc
Miscellaneous Thoughts
     On Using Less
                           The five R’s

Resist                                             “weaR iT ouT,
  Reduce                                            use it up,
      Repair                                        make it do,
        Re-use                                      oR do wiThouT.”
Note that Recycle is last, better only than throwing away
The Story of Stuff
Heating fuel
Other Stuff
•   Bike or walk or T local trips; short car trips pollute more
•   Get convertible backpack luggage and stop taking cabs
•   Stick to the speed limit, or even lower (55 is still best)
•   Every touch of the brake wastes gas! Foot off the gas
    the moment you see a brake light or red light
•   Coast as much as possible – make a game of it!
•   Inflate tires to max allowed and check often
•   Use low-friction motor oil and change as recommended
•   Combine errands, plan routes
•   Don’t push pedestrian walk button if you aren’t going to
    wait for the light!
•   Experiment with hypermiling:
•   Some Prius owners have found CRUISE CONTROL the
    most efficient.
•   Kill phantom power! Everything that responds to a remote or has lights on
    all the time should be plugged into a power strip or have in-line switch

•                                    vs.

•   Set computer to hibernate after half-hour or so of non-use. Is hibernating
    significantly better than sleeping?
•   Of course, use no incandescent lightbulbs. Explore LEDs.
•   Install digital timers on bathroom fans that might get left on
•   Get a Killawatt to measure how much power you use on each appliance:
•   Remember that appliance that replies to a remote is never really off
•   Microwave vs. gas stove? Microwave is more efficient for warming up small
    items because it’s not producing heat
                     Electricity, cont.
•   Install motion detector switches so empty spaces are never lit

•   Install motion detectors on any exterior/security lighting

•   Line dry all clothes. A few minutes in dryer is
    enough to fluff towels.

•   Buy EnergyStar appliances only

•   Don’t leave coffee pot on. Microwave as needed.
                     Heating fuel
•   Heat home to 62 days, 56 nights and when house is empty.
    Wear layers. You will get used to it and be comfortable!
•   Install a clock thermostat with 4 settings per day
•   Have an energy audit, caulk, weatherstrip, seal
•   Weatherstrip even interior doors to basements, attics, cold hallways
•   Tenants install interior storm windows
•   Owners install the highest R-value storms affordable
•   Don’t neglect basement windows, often leaky and without storms
•   Blow insulation into attic floor or overlay it with rigid insulation
•   Have insulation blown into walls, if affordable
•   Keep heating system cleaned and tuned; replace old one with new efficient
    one if affordable
•   Check out this NY Times Article: “Chilled by Choice”
•   We use 20 gal/person/day including dishwasher and clothes washer
•   Install 1.6 gallon toilets
•   And then don’t flush them often! If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown,
    flush it down!
•   Brush teeth with one cup of water, not with water running. Dip brush in cup
    at start, rinse mouth afterwards, pour remaining water slowly over brush
•   Never run dishwasher or clotheswasher unless
    really full
•   Nest similar dishes, study most efficient way to
    use space in dishwasher
•   Catch running toilet tanks – Home Depot has a
    gadget for it. Running toilets can cost $30/day
•   The most efficient dishwashers use 4 gallons of water, about 1 cup/dish
•   Pull open dishwasher door to air-dry dishes
                            Water, cont.
•   Composting Toilets – may need special permitting in the city of Boston

•   Have dogs? They’ll prepare dishes for dishwasher, no water needed
•   Buy front-loading washer – gets clothes dryer, easier on them, saves water
•   Leave dishpan in sink all the time, catch all water for re-use for
–   Rinsing recyclables
–   Soaking cooking pots
–   Soaking and rinsing dishes before dishwasher or hand-washing
                           More water
•   Wash dishes using very little water
     –   Put dishes into last meal’s water for a first rinse, then discard it
     –   Collect water while running until it’s hot
     –   Run hot water into one squirt of detergent – it will last if water is kept clean
     –   Pre-rinse dishes with brush dipped into saved water or use it for soaking
     –   Rinse in separate pan
•   Don’t dump the dishwater afterwards - find other uses for it!
     –   Clean counters and sponges
     –   Clean/soak stove grills and burner pans
     –   Wash water filter pitchers, pet bowls. . . What else?
     –   Leave it until the next washing – find uses for it!
•   Consider a gray water system
•   Remember that you don’t have to wash each item
    of clothing before wearing it again
                 Water outdoors
•   If possible, install rain barrels under cut-off downspouts to collect rainwater.
    In rental property a landlord might well give permission
    because it’s the landlord’s water bill! It’s possible to garden
     without turning on a faucet.

•   If that’s not possible, even leaving containers around to
    catch rain for plants, basic outdoor washing like getting
    garden dirt off hands, saves water.
•   Do not try to have an English lawn that requires constant watering. Read up
    on native grasses and correct mowing heights.
•   Wash a car from buckets of warm soapy water in the rain, using
    biodegradable soap; don’t use a hose.
•   Never clean a sidewalk or driveway with a hose! Wait for a dry day and use
    a broom.
•   Come to the JP Forum’s “Creating your own Compost, Wormbin &
    Rainbarrel” program on May 7!
•   Gather a good collection of leftover containers and use them. There is no
    reason whatsoever to use plastic wrap for anything!
•   Take cloth bags to stores, keep some in car, one on you if possible.
•   Refuse plastic bags in stores; just carry your stuff. Suggest to salespeople
    who don’t ask if you want a bag that they consider making that store policy.
•   Put nonrecyclable, noncompostable trash in a paper bag, or even loose, in
    a trash barrel. No need for plastic bags.
•   Zip-lock bags can be washed and re-used many many times.

                     Plastics, cont.
• Don’t buy “disposable” giveaway containers. Use yogurtware!
• Speaking of yogurt, donate #5 plastics to Gimme 5
  at Whole Foods.
• Hang plastic bags from fridge with magnets to dry out
• Consider making your own detergent, and/or don’t use the entire
  amount that the manufacturer suggests.
• Don’t buy shampoo in plastic bottles. Order bar shampoo from JR
• Don’t buy liquid or stick deodorant. One crystal stick lasts 20 years!
• Check out the City of Boston’s recycling video:
• Make your own travel size toiletries. Small jars can hold toothpaste.
• Make sure to rinse out containers that you will recycle
• Rep. Consalvo was proposing a bill to ban plastic bags in MA
• There is also a plastic bottle bill in the MA legislature at the moment
                More on plastic!
•   Don’t put all loose fruits & vegetables in plastic bags. Loose mushrooms
    need a bag but 4 apples or 3 pears do not.
•   Take your own containers to places like Harvest where you can buy loose in
•   Take your own containers to restaurants for leftovers.
•   For the plastic bags you do wind up with, find new homes. Some stores are
    willing to use them. Give smaller ones (newspapers) to dog people.
•   And of course never buy bottled water, ever, and talk to people you see
    drinking it. Talking points and stats available at
    Carry your own refillable bottle.
•   Test your home water if you’re concerned and install whole-house filter or
    use pitcher filters if warranted. Britta filters, thoroughly dried, are now
    accepted by the Gimme 5 program.
•   Use newspaper for cat waste, and placing it under acid-loving trees
•   The “Preserve” product line is made up entirely of old yogurt containers
•   Make your own slogan against Disani water at:
•   Buy or find used or antique furniture, never new.
•   Use metal studs in construction if possible.
•   Buy certified-sustainable wood if new wood is necessary; never tropical
•   Never buy rayon!
•   Get off mailing lists at
•   Open all junk mail, save small and folded large
     pieces for note-writing
•   Save never-folded paper for use in printer
•   Fax from computer or print to scratch paper and fax
•   Always ask fax recipients if they need a cover sheet – most don’t
•   Re-use envelopes (except business reply) by applying stickers
•   Rayon is made from the virgin pulp of trees – don’t buy it!
•   Don’t buy tropical woods – none are sustainable
•   In public bathrooms
     – Never use disposable seat covers
     – Never use paper towels – just walk away!
             More wood/paper
• Unused holiday wrapping paper can be donated to organizations
  that give gifts to children.
• Keep handkerchiefs at desk, in bathroom, in pockets, wherever
• Scrounge rags, even scraps, from everywhere and avoid using
  paper towels by keeping rags
   – Under every sink
   – With cleaning supplies
   – With polishing supplies
   – Under driver’s seat and in trunk
• Build a supply of old towels from the trash; use for floor spills, all
  sorts of things.
• Keep towels everywhere there is running water.
   – On stove handle or somewhere else in kitchen
   – Beside basement sink
                    Other Stuff
• When you do need to acquire something, always think Used.
• The MSPCA and Bikes-Not-Bombs are always looking for rags –
  you can bring your old clothes there!
• Interesting book about the recycling of clothes to developing nations:
  The Green T-Shirt
• JP, of course, has two wonderful thrift stores.
• Join the Greater Boston Re-use Listserve to give away and request
• JP has its own, but it’s too small. Please join us!
• Every town has its own freecycle.
• Save giveaway things for JP’s annual YardSaleFreeStuff Day in
• Everyone is invited to First Chuch in JP’s YARD SALE! June 2/3rd!!!