Small and Simple Things- a blog by Greener Faster Participants Melanie and Mike

October 11, 2010 at 8:40 am Leave a comment

Just an update on some of the small things we’ve done in the past month or so to reduce our “foot-print”.

1. Dish-washing: We’ve changed our dish-washing habit to conserve water. We don’t have dish-washer so we were using the method of constantly running the water and washing and rinsing the dishes one-by-one and putting them on the drying rack. This method became apparent to me when I bought my first soap dispensing sponge. It seemed like such a great tool at the time…but I didn’t realize that the simplicity of it encouraged me to waste water.

We have now moved to the old fashioned dish-washing method of filling up one tub with water and soap, washing the dishes, putting them in the other tub, and then rinsing them all together. It has helped us save water and also save soap. So win-win..we’re saving money too!

2. Power-Strip: Many of the items in the home stay “on” even when we’ve turned them “off”! Obviously anything with a clock (micro-wave, stereo, etc.) but also things like chargers and tools pull energy even when they are not engaged. This is commonly called “phantom-energy”. Learning this, we’ve installed an inexpensive power-strip to the outlet where we have two stereo’s and a computer. When we are not using the computer or stereo we simply turn of that item and then we switch the power-strip to completely disengage them. I would like to get another power-strip for the television because it has a small light that is always on, which is obviously powered from somewhere..and that somewhere is my electric bill!

3. Bread crumbs: What the heck do I mean by Bread Crumbs. Well Mike and I typically do not like to eat the two end pieces of our loaves of bread generally referred to as “end-cuts”. I don’t know why…I just shy away from these oddly shaped pieces. We were in the habit of throwing them in the garbage after we were onto our new loaf of bread. What a waste of food…So I decided that I would freeze the end-cuts until I had a fair amount and make croutons. I let the pieces thaw on the counter and then cut them into small squares. I mixed olive oil with black pepper, salt and Italian herbs (rosemary, basil, oregano, etc.) in a large bowl. I rolled the cuts of bread in the bowl until they were slightly coated and placed them on a backing sheet baking for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I was afraid they would turn out too hard but after taking them out of the oven I put them in a ziplock bag and they stayed perfectly crunchy for weeks. I’m so happy we aren’t throwing away any more food! And win-win…saving money because we aren’t buying croutons from the store anymore..which I couldn’t find a local variety of anyway!

Now if I could just learn how to make banana bread so I can use all of the too-ripe-to-eat bananas in the freezer.

By Greener Faster Participants Melanie Jacobs and Mike Hebl.

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Entry filed under: conservation, energy, food, other, sustainability, tips, water.

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