Instructables
Picture of 100 Ways to Reduce Your Impact
The world's most abundant and richest energy supply is conservation.

Developing energy efficient lifestyles are the first step in reducing the environmental impact that humans have on this earth. I made this Instructable to detail many different ways to reduce your impact. The reader's implementation of the tips I provide is extremely important in reducing our impact on the environment as humans.

If a large amount of people practice small "ways" to decrease the environmental impact, then we have accomplished a great deed. One person utilizing the energy efficient practices is great, but one thousand is even better.

Please share the following tips with your friends, family, and peers. Utilizing energy efficient practices on a large scale is the most important reason I made this Instructable.

I attached a PDF file, it has the gist of the tip, just not all the information. Enjoy!

Step 1: Change to CFLs

Picture of Change to CFLs
Compact fluorescents are a type of fluorescent lamp that uses less energy than a normal incandescent. They have a longer life than incandescent light bulbs, and in the United States, a CFL can save over US$30 in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime. This is compared to an incandescent lamp and save 2000 times their own weight in Greenhouse Gases.

Here is a good site to help you save electricity.

However, some may argue that CFLs do not last longer, and the recycling of them is a pain. Based on my usage of CFLs, we have only replace one. It seems as if sometimes they are a hit or miss. Sometimes they work great, and other times they are absolutely terrible.

My CFL Instructable will help you out if you have any other questions.

Steps for Purchasing:
1.Well first you have to decide where you will use them. A recommended fixture, is one that is left on 3 or more hours per day. You want to replace the bulbs that you use the most frequently first.

2.Make sure it will fit in your fixture. You wouldn't want to spend money on a CFL, and not have it fit into your fixture!

3.Check to make sure that the CFL is energy star compliant. What is Energy Star Compliant? It is a government that regulates programs and products that help save the environment and save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design or construction.

4.Circline or 2D styles are usually best for most table lamps. These also tend to be the brightest options.

5.Choose the Color Temperature, if listed, that's right for you; for example:
Approx. 2700K = Warm White (looks just like incandescent!)
Approx. 5000K = Cool White (White/Blue, often higher CRI)

6.Does your chosen fixture have a dimmer switch? If so, be sure your CFL choice is labeled to be Dimmable.

7.Avoid using CFL's with photocells unless the control is specifically labeled that is it compatible with CFLs. Timers are an easier option.

  • Many furnishing stores/hardware stores have boxes to place your broken CFLs to recycle.

Sites to Purchase
  • My energy provider gives half off deals for CFLs. Check if yours does! (I have PECO)
You can purchase CFLs all over the place.
Ace Hardware
Walmart
Lowes
Google Shopping
 
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upior1 year ago
Thank you for the list. You have many very valuable tips however I'm very surprised that within 100 ways to reduce your impact you forgot about one the most important to stop eating animal products. This can have the greatest positive impact on Earth. Please read "The livestock long shadows" by FAO in UN. I would add it as the first position
upior1 year ago
Phloem in Wester Europe it's called elimination communication and it's great. I used it with my daughter since she was 2 weeks old. I wasn't always successful because it needs a lot of attention but I had a cloth nappy as a back up. When my daughter was 1,5 years old I stopped using the back up because she was showing us when she wanted to go to the toilet.
We did however used also disposable nappies when we were outside but we used Beaming Baby biodegradable nappies
upior1 year ago
Read What’s feeding our food? The environmental and social impacts of the livestock sector by Friends of the Earth or "livestock long shadows" by UN and you will know that the biggest benefit you can do for the Earth is to go on plant based diet.
iya6 years ago
Hey, good work on the Instructables....but microwaves kill vital enzymes and vitamins that help you digest your food and just live in general, so you're best throw them out and get a toaster oven!!! thanks!
belkorin iya5 years ago
There is no conclusive evidence of this that I have ever seen. If there is, please post links to the information.
Just taste the food!!! We happen to have a rather sensitive sensor in our mouths to tell us the quality of the food we're eating. There is a reason microwaved food doesn't taste as good as conventionally cooked food. I haven't used a microwave in years and do not miss it at all!! I do love my pressure cooker though! I don't know why society needs a doctor to tell them something that common sense tells them. I don't need a stupid link, I know that microwaved food is bad because it doesn't taste right. I know that organic food is better because I no longer get heartburn 3 or 4 times a week. When I do get it it is because I ate at a restaurant that didn't use it. Doctors don't learn about nutrition, they learn how to prescribe drugs, and perform surgeries. Instead of listening to a brainwashed doctor, listen to your own body.
upior ronmaggi1 year ago
very true
upior1 year ago
Using microwaves will not help in the wrong run because it's unhealthy therefore people using them will use much more energy later to heal themselves
diyluke1 year ago
Hey peeps complaining about "food poisoning dangers". Wash them as you would a wooden cutting board, then coat them in a food-safe finish someone who makes wooden utensils/cutting boards/etc. uses on their wares.

soma002 years ago
you could use a whiteboard marker to write the contents on the fridge on the door or have a notepad, chalkboard or whatever nearby and write down the contents of the fridge. It would help you make up your mind before you open the door and rummage. Also a good way to mark the date you bought your produce etc. which will help minimise wastage.
I share my car with three other people who live in my building. I almost never use it, because I commute by bike and buses. Sharing it between three people cuts the registration and insurance costs to a third, and everyone pays for their own petrol (I keep a clip board in the car for a mileage log, and excel calculates km/L and charges back accordingly). We use a shared Google Calendar layer to book the car when we are going somewhere or have some need of it; if no-one's booked it you just take it when you want it.
Try turning off your computer instead. Stand-by and hibernate store the last state (of the computer) on the HDD.
Bottle caps are made from #5 plastic. You can recycle them at a gimme 5 location. http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/gimme5.html
triska4 years ago
I've been fascinated with dehumidifiers this entire summer. My air conditioner is not very good and the humidity level in my house is about 57%. The temp max in the house peaks at around 84% but I think if I reduce the humidity, and with the use of fans, my comfort level would be greatly enhanced. Also, I saw an exciting product last year that looks like a big dehumidifier, with the addition of a water purifier module. Then the outputs are 2 spigots with drinkable water, hot and cold! Bad thing, to me, is the cost is over $2,000. My cheapo solution to this is would be to use the dehumidifier water, like some of the other commenters mentioned, other non-drinkable uses in the home and garden. For example: Use it for the washing machine for the initial washing cycle. Also, for watering the garden, washing the car, etc. I remember years ago, a problem with dehumidifier water was mildew. How about adding a little vinegar or a little bleach to the water tank. Would that help, do you think? As for the drinking of distilled water discussion: I've been drinking distilled water for over 30 years and my teeth are great, hair healthy, skin clear and I feel pretty good. I do use a good multi-vitamin supplement and a calcium pill daily. Thanks for the stimulating post and the helpful comments.
Nyxius triska2 years ago
using a dehumidifier to lower the apparent temperature is a really effective strategy. Water has one of the highest specific heats of any substance known to man (which is why is is used everywhere for thermal management). Dropping your humidity by 1/2 would give the effect of dropping the apparent temperature by about 20 degrees (depending on actual temp). The actual temperature would stay the same, but sweat can now easily evaporate from your skin thereby cooling your skin.
However, you should only pursue this strategy if you can prevent the humidity in your house from rising again. If you can do this your house will stay "cool", if no you will have about as high of an energy bill as if you were using an air conditioner.
Generally it is easier to seal a house from moisture than to keep heat out, so overall I would recommend dehumidifiers.
gbaughma5 years ago
Using the water for such things as watering plants, or filling your clothes iron is great. But I wouldn't drink that water. The water that a dehumidifier generates is DISTILLED water. Not good for drinking.
From my understanding of distillation, that water is not distilled, it is condensed. Agreed that this water is not good for drinking because a dehumidifier is not a food service certified product and is likely to leach heavy metals and other nasties. and What makes distilled water bad to drink? Distilled alcohol is generally fine to drink.
In biology, I was shown that distilled water "over-inflates" cells (I know that's not the correct term)... but I actually saw cells burst... something about the distilled water gets over-absorbed into cells, causing cells to burst. Now granted, in a human, there's a lot more cells... but that's the demonstration my biology teacher gave me for the reason NOT to drink distilled water.
If I'm not mistaken, it has something to do with osmotic pressure.
Nyxius belkorin4 years ago
This is correct, the real danger here is that ion content of the blood drops causing brain cells to absorb water & swell.  This causes a rise in pressure in the skull and can lead to organ failure. The medical term for the condition is called "Hyponatremia".  This can lead to a very painful death.

Common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal mental status
    • Confusion
    • Decreased consciousness
    • Hallucinations
    • Possible coma
  • Convulsions
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
This is why I don't recommend drinking distilled water.
sbarton2 Nyxius2 years ago
Regardless of anything you are all saying, there are now commercially available dehumidifier/water coolers which have been purchased at my work and I haven't seen anyone dropping dead from over inflated cells...
http://www.konia.com.au/water_from_air.html
Nyxius sbarton22 years ago
a 150 lb person would have to drink about 2 gallons of distilled water over one or two hours in order for hyponatremia to be a medical threat. That or eat nothing and drink nothing else other than distilled water for more than a day. In the second case I'd believe you'd experience other symptoms before low salt content was an issue.
Even tapwater will almost surely have the same effect on raw cells.

There is a MASSIVE difference between drinking a substance and taking cells from your body and immersing them in that substance. The human body has all sorts of regulatory mechanisms (think urination) for keeping the osmotic pressure of our blood within certain limits.

Tapwater and distilled water are going to have negligible differences if they enter the body in a normal manner (drinking). The only real difference will be that proper distilled water will have zero minerals and will taste funny (plus a certain level of certain minerals in water can be good for you.)

In the case of dehumidifier water, it will be indistinguishable from distilled water EXCEPT that it was distilled using a non-food-grade device. I wouldn't drink it due to the possibility of contaminants from the dehumidifier.
nDR01d2 years ago
Actually there are PLENTY of Linux distributions that are specifically designed for older computers that have slow specs. As with all linux OS's, you don't need ANY antivirus software and new software updates alerts are (generally) normal practise. One click, one password and its done. PLUS, it's all free.
see w w w en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux for more detail etc.
nDR01d2 years ago
2.9Kg (weight of petroleum, rounded up) x 0.87 = 2.5Kg of carbon.
2.5Kg x 3.7 = 9.3Kg of CO2.
nDR01d2 years ago
378.54 litres = 100 gallons, 757 litres for 200 gallons. We live in a metric world. Only 3 countries don't use it.
nDR01d2 years ago
For everyone else who are not living in Burma, Liberia or the USA, 78F is about 25C and 68F is 20C.
Or you could use them for confining explosives, but that's not as eco friendly. Recycling's pretty kool.
OK this one got me to sign up and leave a comment. Simple test: Take a zippo style lighter, a bic style lighter and 2 metal plates. Support the plates above the lighters (in the flame) and keep the lighters lit for 20-30 seconds. Now examine the surface where the flames were touching. You will find a much larger black area over the zippo lighter. That is pollution you are looking at. I am not a representative of any lighter company, but I will say that Bic lighters will last a non smoker for years as long as the child lock is not removed. if the lock is removed, the gas begins to leak out. I have found that other types of refillable lighters tend to tear up, and develop leaks also. Now I'll throw this one in here too: those of you who insist on re-fillable lighters should ask a friend who uses non-refillable lighters to save them for you when they quit working. They are easily disassembled, for flint removal which can be re-used in your re-fillable lighters. Users of Zippo Brand re-fillable lighters should avoid flints out of Bic lighters because Bic uses a larger flint that will get stuck in the chamber.
Um, just for anyone glancing at this, I would love to rant on this guy.

Think people! Who cares about the soot! Soot is a speck of carbon! But the plastic lighters do matter.
A Zippo is made from almost entirely metal, hence being completely recyclable. Bic and other crack lighters, however, tend to be made out of plastic.
A smoker might go through over 500 Bic lighters in 10 ( YES TEN ) years. That's $50 a year.
Disposable Bic lighters are $1.
A Zippo has a guaranteed lifetime warranty and I'm sure that any emissions from the Zippo (shipping and mail courier gasoline that it takes when it is time to get it fixed) emits a tenth of the emissions that 500 disposable lighters will take to make, process, ship, and be lost, only to sit in a landfill once found and thrown away.
A Zippo's fuel will last for 10-14 days, with moderate to severe use. A bottle of Ronsonol (Zippo fluid) is $5 for a 12 ounces. A fill up ranges from 0.1 to 0.3 ounces, lasting about 40 refills for the 12 ounce bottle.
Do the math (12/.3=40*10days) equals 400 DAYS FOR $5 for severe use.
That is over a year's worth of fluid for $5! ( I used to lose a disposable lighter once a week. )
TOTAL SAVINGS PER YEAR = more than $33 for the first year ( Cheapest Zippo is $10 ) and every year after that you will save more than $43 with a Zippo over disposable lighters.
BTW, I said $33 and $43 because a flint will last for a good month or so, and I used to go through 6-10 flints a year. ($1 per 6 pack of Zippo flints.)
Also, a wick will last a moderately filled and properly maintained Zippo for a good five to ten years, adding cents per year, but the savings and lessened carbon emissions are MUCH greater than a disposable lighter will cause in it's lifetime.

Thank you,
Aaron
I am a smoker, and I use a Bic Lighter for up too 3 months at a time.

Simple fact is that fuel for Zippo lighters comes in a plastic container. It lasts the typical smoker about a month, then they throw the container away. The user of zippo lighters also has to have a can of fuel for the light around at all times.

If you drop a Zippo lighter while it's lit, it will not go out. Drop a Bic lighter, and it self extinguishes before it is out of your hand. Work for a major construction company sometime. Most of them have banned the use of Zippo lighters on the job because it wont go out.

Cost wise...I pay $1 or $2 per bic lighter. use maybe 4 a year. That's $8 a year. How the heck do you get that and I quote "TOTAL SAVINGS PER YEAR = more than $33 for the first year" When I only spend $8 a year anyway? Are you going to pay me the other $25 a year to use a zippo in which you provide wicks, flints, and fluid for?

What's this about a maintained Zippo? More work for me to do besides filling it, changing flints and changing wicks? There is no maintenance on a Bic lighter.

Under heavy use, a BIC will not last 3 months... A bottle of zippo fluid will last far more than a month. What do you mean by "The user of zippo lighters also has to have a can of fuel for the light around at all times."??

The self extinguishing has nothing to do with environmental protection, that is just a safety precaution, so that nothing catches fire by accident.

Properly maintained means not lighting it empty, not overfilling it. Flints are cheap and easy to replace. Saying that BICs are more environmentally friendly because they are easier to use doesn't make any sense at all...

For an equivalent amount of use, zippos are cheaper than BICs. Not easier, but cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.
kyriaap3 years ago
drive easy and not sporty like on a circuit (i know... its hard ;) ). try to shift gears up between 2000 and 2500 rpm and maintain that amount of rpm. will save you a lot of fuel.

imagine: here in the NL 1 Liter (yes, is really states Liter NOT Gallon) is around 1.70 Euro (!!!). saving some fuel is definately worth it!
hasen't it been made pretty clear that the single action your average person could take to reduce their impact is to stop eating animal products? i think its been shown pretty conclusively that that would lower your impact more then almost any 90 of the other ways you mention put together. why neglect what is clearly the # 1 greatest way to "be green"?
mlybbert3 years ago
what kind of pencil is that?
tinkerist3 years ago
our policy is that my wife controls the thermostat in the summer (and i walk around wearing little to nothing). i get to control it in the winter (while she's wearing 2 of everything, plus a robe). saves quite a bit!
Sketch983 years ago
Use LED light bulbs they use 7 watts instead of 60 and last for 9 years.
Sketch983 years ago
Actually if you don't live in a place where it is easy to grow the foods you are wasting more energy growing the food than it takes to transport them.
Sketch983 years ago
Lol, mail. The only things that really need to come through mail is bills and the such. Everything else could be computerized to conserve paper.
Sketch983 years ago
Use LED light bulbs instead of CFLs. They use barely any energy (7watts I think) last for 9ish years before dying and don't contain Mercury like CFLs. A planet in a light bulb OMG!
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