It’s Now Easy Being “Green”

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21:  Food 4 Less groce...

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Did you just run to the store and forget the bag to bring the groceries home? Now you have more plastic bags to add to your collection. Did that metal can get placed in the right bin? You do have separate bins for different disposables, right?

It doesn’t really take that much extra time or energy to consider our planet. The major cause of not following through is that we are not used to making this a priority. Like anything, we need to program our habits to include the important tasks.

This week-end, or whenever we go shopping, let’s remember our own grocery shopping bag or bags. Get your kids to remind you to bring those bags. This is doing our little bit to help the earth – and setting a good example for our children.

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“Going Green” in the Kitchen, Continued

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21:  Food 4 Less groce...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Some of you may be saying, “I’m just a kid. What can I do?” Big or small, doing everything to save the earth and the air we breathe is everybody’s business and responsibility.

When you come home from the grocery store, do you end up with lots of plastic bags and extra packaging? Where will those plastic bags end up? You’re right. They are going back to the garbage heap where they will take hundreds of years, if not more, to break down. Or, they may fly around outside, being scattered by the wind. Birds can try to peck at them or might even get caught in them. Plus they make our world look dumpy and trashy.

So, what can you do about it?

You can take the plastic bags that have accumalated and take them to a neighboring recyling center. Hopefully, they will be made into some useful products. Then, next time shopping time comes, to remember to take the grocery tote bag (or bags) with you. Think how many plastic bags this will eliminate!

Individual snack packs are certainly handy. But it doesn’t take much time to make your own snack packs. Pour a quantity of food, whether it is crackers, chips, cookies, or whatever, into reusuable containers for the lunchbox or car.

In addition, buying food in quantity saves money. However, buying in larger quantity is only good if you know you’ll use it.

Throw out the plastic water bottles. If you want to take water with you, use a thermos bottle or other non-plastic container.

If you wash dishes by hand, run hot water into a clean sink to rinse them. This way you won’t be running the water all the time. If you use the dish washer to wash dishes, wait to run it until it is full of dirty dishes. This saves on water and electricity.

When you think about it, it really isn’t so hard to make small steps that impact the world. Every little bit you do toward this cause helps to keep our environment cleaner and healthier.

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Conserving Natural Resources

This extremely cold winter has made our heating bills sky rocket. We need to do all we can to keep our gas and electric bills down as much as possible. When working in the kitchen, here are a few ways to conserve fuel, which saves money:

    • Choose the correct size pan to fit the size of the burner. If the pan is too small, extra heat will escape around it, thereby wasting energy.
    • Turn down the gas setting on your stove if the flame is visible on the sides of the pan.
    • Use a small pot or pan if cooking a small amount of food.
    • Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Plug in appliances only when you need them. Many appliances draw small amounts of power when they’re not in use.
    • Foods cooked in the oven use less fuel than on top the stove. Once the oven heats up, then the heat comes on only when it must to maintain the determined temperature. When cooking on top of the stove, a constant supply of energy is used.
    • When using the oven, cook several dishes with similar cooking temperatures at the same time whenever possible.
    • Microwave ovens cook food 75% faster than convention ovens, thereby using less energy.
    • Put a lid on food as more heat is trapped and the food cooks faster.
    • When recipes call for preheating the oven, turn on oven only for a few minutes before you’re ready to begin baking. However, for many foods, it’s ok to put them in the oven without preheating first.
    • Don’t keep peeking in the oven to see how the food is cooking. You’re letting out heat and this takes more energy.
    • Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible. Think of the refrigerator as being full of tennis balls and every time you open the door the tennis balls fly out the door. Try to keep them inside as much as possible!
    • A full refrigerator and freezer is a more fuel efficient unit. Keep it full, but don’t overfill. Air needs to circulate around the food.
    • If you have a dishwasher, use the air-dry or overnight-dry feature.

    Each of us can make an important contribution to the environment. Conserving energy takes a bite out of global warming, and saves money, too.