Reduce Footprints Challenge this week is:
This week, head over to Zero Waste Week 2011 and commit to at least one activity which will reduce waste away from home. Be sure to come back here and share your commitment. The same rules will apply as always ... if you write about it and/or tweet about, you'll be honored next week. After committing to an activity, keep track of your progress because we'll be talking about our successes next week.
For this challenge, I have "recycled" an article I wrote for Westford Patch back in June which listed tips for greening your vacation. I have reprinted it here.
- Turn your hot water heater to "vacation" (or down low). Just remember to turn it back up when you return. When I had an energy audit, the auditor told me this makes sense to do anytime you are away for more than three days.
- Set your thermostats up so you aren't cooling your home unnecessarily.
- Unplug everything you don't need running - TV, coffee maker, toaster, stereos, microwave, cable box, etc. Anything with a clock or remote control continues to use electricity even if you are not using it. I recently discovered that a cable box can draw almost as much electricity even when it's turned off.
- Stop your newspaper. No sense in just recycling it when you get home.
- Driving? Make sure your car is tuned up and your tires are at the correct pressure to get the best gas mileage possible.
- Bring reuseables such as water bottles, snack bags and grocery bags. This way you can pack your own snacks or even lunch, saving you money on eating out. You will also be saving the packaging of single serve items. Bottled water is super expensive especially at vacation destinations. You can refill your water bottles for free most anywhere. And remember that grocery bags can be used for any purchase.
- Flying? You can bring an empty water bottle through airport security and fill it on the other side.
- Another tip for flying - instead of printing your boarding pass, see if your airline has a mobile boarding pass application that allows you to use your phone for your boarding pass.
- Instead of buying new books, magazines or DVDs, go to the J.V. Fletcher library or borrow from a friend.
- Look for recycling bins at amusement parks or other attractions.
- Find out the recycling options. Ask the hotel or property agent. Recycling rules vary greatly. You may need to separate your bottles from your paper.
- If you are in a hotel, take advantage of their programs. Most hotels will offer to conserve water by not washing your towels everyday.
- You already have your water bottle so no need to buy bottles of water.
- Turn down the AC/heat and shut off lights when you leave. Hotels are now starting to install devices connected with your key that will automatically shut the lights off when you leave. You may not be paying for these directly, but we all are paying for it in the end.
- Try to resist the tacky souvenirs that will break quickly and be thrown away. I know this is difficult with children. Hats, T-shirts, even a great picture make fantastic souvenirs too.