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(BPT) - With sustainable practices top of mind and a revived shift toward conscious consumption, Americans everywhere are seeking ways to lead a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. From saving water to reducing energy usage, these are the top five ways to go green for the environment and your wallet.
What does it mean to go green? 2021 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Bosch home appliances defines this as the commitment to empowering consumers with more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible products. Leading an eco-friendly lifestyle starts within the home. What products and appliances are you utilizing in key home spaces to achieve a low carbon footprint and lower energy bills? Check out the below key features and practices that make sustainable living easy.
1) Reduce your energy usage.
By using less energy, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and save on your household bills. If you’re purchasing a new refrigerator, laundry pair or dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR label to find the most efficient appliances. For example, Bosch compact laundry pairs feature dryers with heat pump drying technology, a ventless, sustainable drying solution that was awarded Most Efficient of ENERGY STAR in 2021.
For further energy savings, some refrigerators have high-efficiency compressors to generate less heat when they are running for a lower energy output, as well as an Eco Mode that automatically adjusts the appliance’s temperatures to run in an energy-saving setting. A simple eco-conscious practice is letting your leftovers cool post-mealtime before storing them in the refrigerator, avoiding the increased energy it takes for the refrigerator to cool down its interior.
2) Shop smartly.
You can reduce your carbon footprint when you buy locally sourced fruits and vegetables in season, which don't need to be transported for long distances. Shop at your local farmer’s market, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, like “Where is this produce from?” and “When was it picked?” Pro tip: Fruits like cantaloupe, apricots, raspberries, honeydew and white cherries are in season for spring.
Another green way to shop is bringing your own reusable grocery totes to avoid the plastic bags provided at the store. Consider using a cotton or other reusable produce bag as well when picking fruits and vegetables, further cutting down on plastic waste.
3) Limit food waste.
To best limit food waste, focus on appliances that keep your food fresher longer and organize your refrigerator to keep items in view. A recent study found that Americans toss 103 pounds of spoiled food per year — that’s roughly $3,000 wasted annually. The latest refrigerators on the market can do much more than just cool food — look for one with innovative technologies that help limit food waste, such as Bosch French door bottom mount refrigerators that feature a four-point FarmFresh System with pre-programmed freshness settings and odor control.
Another way to combat food waste is saving leftover ingredients for meals you can prep ahead and stretch across multiple days. Consider making a leftover vegetable soup using veggies you have remaining from other prepared dishes throughout the week — you’ll make a tasty dinner, reduce food waste and save money when buying produce.
4) Use eco-friendly cleaning products.
Some household cleaning products contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Make your own all-purpose cleaner with natural ingredients for an eco-friendly approach to spring cleaning. For example, let orange peels sit in a jar with white vinegar for 7-10 days, drain the liquid into a spray bottle and you're left with a great smelling, homemade, all-purpose cleaner.
5) Be water wise.
There is a widespread myth that dishwashers use more water than hand-washing, when in fact, far less water is consumed when you run a dishwasher designed with water efficiency. On average, hand-washing uses about 27 gallons per load compared to the dishwasher which uses around three. A recent study found that 94% of consumers hand-wash glassware, plastics and more, when these items can be washed in the dishwasher. Many Americans also have a preconceived notion of needing to fully wash their dishes before loading the dishwasher, but the truth is you simply need to scrape off leftover food and let the machine do its job.
Saving water outside the kitchen is just as important; choose a laundry pair with a washer designed to reduce water consumption. Many washers on the market have connected features that offer consumption forecasts for each laundry program so you can stay on top of your usage. A good rule of thumb when doing laundry is “less is more” — avoid adding too much detergent to the washer, as the machine will take longer to rinse and will use more water.