In the Kitchen
Trade Up to Energy Star Appliances
Installing a more efficient dishwasher reduces both water and energy consumption in your home. An Energy Star dishwasher is about 10% more efficient than a conventional dishwasher, and will save about 5,000 gallons of water a year over handwashing. Additionally, Energy Star dishwashers use internal water heaters that can reduce household water heating costs by 10%.
Each Texan generates about 7 pounds of garbage every day. By recycling paper, metal, plastic, and other materials, you can reduce waste, help conserve energy, and preserve our states natural resources. In the U.S., recycling creates 1.1 million jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales, and $37 billion in annual salaries. If Texans recycled just half of all recyclable materials, we could divert over 35% of all municipal solid waste from Texas landfills.
Collect Your Food Scraps, Oil, and Grease
A clogged drain at home can be a real nuisance. Clogged sewer lines can cause overflows that pollute nearby creeks and streams. By using strainers to catch food scraps and collecting cooking grease in a container for disposal, you can keep fats, oils, and grease from clogging up your home's drain pipes or the city's sewer line. By properly disposing of your food scraps and cooking grease in the trash can, you can reduce plumbing costs. The cost of an average plumber's visit is $250.
Learn more about reducing fats, oils, and grease in your home or apartment.
Texans can help reduce energy consumption and air emissions by making sure that their pots and pans are not smaller in diameter than their stoves burners. A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner wastes over 40% of the burners heat, as well as the energy it takes to produce that heat. Using an appropriately sized pot on stove burners can save about $36 each year for an electric range, or $18 per year for a gas range. Keeping a gas ranges burners clean can also ensure that the gas is burning efficiently.
Annual Savings: $18 to $36
Adjust the Setting on Your Refrigerator
Of all household appliances, refrigerators consume the most electricity, accounting for approximately 9% of an average homes total energy consumption. To save money and energy, and improve air quality, keep your refrigerators thermostat set between 37 and 40 degrees.
Use the Dishwasher Wisely
Operating automatic dishwashers with a full load can help you save water. Also, you can use your dishwasher’s air-dry option or prop the door open after the final rinse to air-dry dishes naturally. Using the heat-dry, rinse-hold, and pre-rinse features sparingly helps you save money. Using a “light wash” feature conserves water. Use detergents without phosphates.
Replace Your Older Refrigerator
Choosing an Energy Star model can reduce energy bills by as much as $14 per month, or $165 per year. It’s important to select the appropriate size of refrigerator for your household’s needs. Side-by-side styles use 10% to 25% more energy. Automatic ice makers and through-the-door dispensers increase energy use by 14% to 20% and increase the purchase price by $75 to $250.
Buying locally grown food supports the local economy, reduces refrigeration and transportation emissions, and lessens the need for packing materials. Buy Texas organic products that are produced by a farming system that relies on maintaining and replenishing the soil to grow crops without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Most farmers’ markets and pick-your-own locations offer organic products. You might even discover a few fruits or vegetables you didn't even know were Texas grown. Find Texas products, businesses, and restaurants.
Recycle Paper Products
Recycling paper products–including newspapers, food packaging, cardboard boxes, junk mail, and office paper–saves money. That’s because recycling paper fiber is cheaper than growing, harvesting, and processing trees. Texans dispose of enough trash every two weeks to fill the Astrodome. Recycling 1 ton of paper saves the equivalent of up to 17 trees and uses 50% less water.
Safely Dispose of Hazardous Household Waste
Hazardous household waste (HHW) includes consumer products containing chemicals that can present concerns if improperly used or disposed. Almost all can be safely and legally disposed in landfills that can accept regular trash. However, community collection programs offer a better disposal option for collecting, sharing, and safely disposing of HHW. Find collection centers or events in your area.