Tips For Saving Water

Fresh water is a precious resource, and we all need to do as much as we can to preserve it. Here you can learn about why water should be saved, how you can do so at home and in the workplace, and the potential that reclaimed water has to improve the condition of our environment.

Why Save Water?

Fresh water is a scarce resource around the world. Learning how to save water is not difficult, and it can begin with teaching good habits to your children. All you have to do is to think a little about how easy it is to waste water in everyday activities.

Saving Water Home

The most obvious place to start saving water is at home. There are a few simple tips that will allow you to conserve fresh water by only changing your habits slightly.
  • Don't use or store more water than you immediately require.
  • Never rinse your hands, clothes or vegetables under a running tap – do so in a bowl or sink.
  • If you take a shower instead of a bath, you will only use 20% of the water.
  • If you do have a bath, try using the water left over to wash the floor or to water plants.
  • Only use your washing machine or dishwasher when you have a full load, and cut down the rinse cycle if possible.
  • Fix dripping taps immediately, because they can waste up to 70 litres of water a day.
Saving Water At Work

Water can also be saved in the workplace with a little forethought and planning.
  • Use manufacturing processes and equipment that are efficient in water use.
  • Determine water requirements for each unit of production and check usage frequently.
  • Ensure that hot water pipe runs are as short as possible and that cold water pipes are laid away from heated areas.
  • Reduce water pressure to the lowest practical level.
  • Carry out regular leakage tests on concealed piping and check for overflowing tanks, waste, worn tap washers and other defects in the water supply system.
  • Pump cooling water to a condenser or heat exchanger for re-use.Collect, dilute and recycle rinsing water.
  • Re-use steam by collecting condensation.
  • Collect used water for cooling purposes, floor cleaning and yard washing.
  • Ensure that bottles, cans, churns and other vessels are fully emptied before they are washed.
  • Reduce spillage by keeping the water level in rinsing and washing tanks to a minimum.
  • Turn off the water supply system at night and on holidays.
  • Place posters and other publicity materials in prominent places to encourage water conservation.

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Simple Ways To Save Energy Daily

I have already covered in my last posting about the sources of energy we use daily, its importance to our environment and our economy today. I have also mentioned why it is important to conserve energy. So today, i will be sharing with you simple and easy ways on how to save energy in our day to day lives.

"Remember, the energy that we use in our homes pollutes the environment and reduces the availability of energy in the future".

You do not have to reduce your standard of living when reducing your energy consumption – you only have to think a little about how you can use them more wisely.

Lighting
Lighting accounts for around 15-20% of your domestic electricity bill. There are simple ways to reduce energy use in lighting without having to grope in the dark.
  • Switch lighting on only when you need it.
  • Use daylight whenever possible.
  • When buying new lighting, consider choosing compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 75% less energy than standard bulbs for the same amount of illumination.
  • Place your lighting carefully where you need it.
  • Use dimmers where possible (except for fluorescent lamps and compact fluorescent bulbs).
  • Use non-opaque, light-coloured lamp shades.
  • Keep light fixtures and lamps clean to maximise their efficiency.
Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is another major form of energy consumption in your home, but there are ways in which you can use it more wisely.
  • When buying an air-conditioner, check its Energy Efficiency Ratio, with lower numbers denoting better efficiency.
  • Avoid installing air-conditioners where they will be exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Close off areas that do not require air-conditioning, and turn air-conditioners off in unoccupied rooms.
  • Keep windows and doors shut when the air-conditioner is running.
  • Place weather strips on doors and windows to prevent the leakage of cool air.
  • Clean or replace the filters in all air-conditioners at the beginning of summer, and clean them every two weeks from then on.
  • Set the temperature to an energy-efficient level so that you will feel comfortable rather than cold.
  • Use fans instead of air-conditioning whenever possible.
Cooking
  • Choose a cooker or oven of a suitable size for your family needs.
  • A multi-jet cooker or oven offers you more flexibility, and can minimise wastage.
  • Adjust the flame to fit the bottom of your pan.
  • Cook several dishes in one session when using an oven.Use the simmer burner rather than the oven to reheat food.
  • Use your grill to its full capacity rather than cooking one item at a time.
  • Always put the lids on pans to trap heat.
  • Boil only as much water as you need.
  • Steaming and stir-frying is an energy-efficient way of cooking.
  • Turn your oven or ring off before you have finished cooking, and let the remaining heat gently finish the job.
  • Check your oven door seal for heat leakage, and replace it if necessary.
Water Heating
  • If you take a shower instead of a bath you will save about 50% in heating costs.
  • A low-flow shower head also saves water and heating energy.
  • Only use hot water when necessary.
  • When not using your water heater, switch off the pilot light.
  • Have your water heater inspected from time to time as recommended on the unit's label to ensure its efficiency and safety.
Water Use and Energy Savings
You can also reduce energy use in other ways when using water. Just remember that energy is used to transport, store and treat all water.

Resources For You:

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Basic Things You Should Know About Renewable Energy And Its Importance

I'd like to post this basic information about sources of energy since not all of us know where our energy comes from and its forms. What are the effects to our environment when an energy is produced and used and why it is important to conserve!

Sources of Energy:

1. Renewable energy
is an energy generated from natural resources which are renewable (naturally replenished) or can never be exhausted.

We can obtain renewable energy from the sun (solar energy), from the water (hydropower), from the wind (windmills), from hot dry rocks, magma, hot water springs (geothermal) and even from firewood, animal manure, crop residues and waste (Biomass).

In 2006, about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning. Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable source, providing 3% (15% of global electricity generation), followed by solar hot water/heating, which contributed 1.3%. Modern technologies, such as geothermal energy, wind power, solar power, and ocean energy together provided some 0.8% of final energy consumption.

2. Non-renewable energy comes from sources that can’t be replenished in a short period of time. We get most of our energy from nonrenewable energy sources, which include fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, coal and from nuclear energy.

They are considered non-renewable because once they are removed from the ground and used, they are not immediately replaced.

Why it is important to conserve energy?

All of us use energy every day – for entertainment, cooking, transportation, lighting, heating and cooling homes, manufacturing, etc. We consume a lot of energy.

When energy is produced from non-renewable fuels, to heat our homes or power our cars for example, pollutants are released into the air contaminating the air we breathe and water too. The more energy we use or miles we drive in our cars, the more energy power plants must produce or gasoline our cars burn, releasing more pollutants into the air.

Aside from that,
the world's natural gas, crude oil and coal deposits took millions of years to form. Uranium, which is used for nuclear energy, has limited supply as well. Humans will have used up most of these deposits in less than 200 years. Once they are gone, non-renewable energy supplies cannot be replaced within human time scales.

By conserving energy we can lower the amount of pollutants we release into the air and water and thereby help to keep our environment clean. Additionally, if we use less energy we can save money on our electric bill or reduce the amount of money we spend on gasoline. So you can help the environment and save money at the same time!

Additionally, we can use energy sources that are clean and efficient. For example, wind and solar energy generate electricity without polluting the air. Another example is soybeans, which we can use to produce biodiesel. Biodiesel can be blended with regular diesel fuel or used all by itself to fuel tractors, buses and trucks. These types of energy are friendly to our environment and help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which cannot be replenished.

Why is renewable energy important today?

Energy Price Stability
In the last three years, we have seen large fluctuations in the cost of natural gas, oil, and electricity due to global economics, market deregulation, and political events in some parts of the world. Renewable energy is not subject to sharp price changes because it comes from sources such as sunshine, flowing water, wind, and biological waste, all of which are free. This gives people greater certainty about the cost of energy, which is good for society and the economy. By comparison, fossil fuels are limited in their supply, and their price will increase as they become scarcer.

Clean Air
Air pollution is a major problem in many cities in Canada and around the world. The biggest cause of air pollution in cities is the burning of fossil fuels, including fuels used for transportation. The Canadian federal government estimates that more than 16,000 Canadians die prematurely each year from diseases caused by air pollution. Thousands more suffer from long-term sicknesses and disabilities. The great advantage of using renewable energy in place of fossil fuels is that renewable energy adds very few pollutants to the environment. Renewable energy is considered "clean" and "green." Climate change may cause the world-wide spread of diseases such as malaria, which is carried by mosquitoes.

Protecting Global Climates
When fossil fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide. This gas acts like an invisible blanket, trapping more of the sun's energy in the atmosphere, causing the Earth to warm up little by little. Carbon dioxide is building up in the atmosphere as more and more fossil fuels are used in homes, factories, and automobiles. If this continues, most scientists think our planet is likely to become significantly warmer, which could cause many serious problems around the world. These problems could include melting of arctic ice, increased forest fires, rising sea levels, loss of animal habitat, damage to coral reefs, the spreading of tropical diseases, expanding deserts, and more frequent and severe storms.

Protecting Landscapes and Watersheds
Some energy projects, particularly big coalmines, hydro dams, and oil and gas activities, can have a large impact on lands and watersheds. Damage or loss of natural lands and watersheds is likely to affect humans and animals. For example, wilderness areas could be lost for when energy resources are extracted. Hydro dams can flood large areas, while the facilities associated with oil and gas and oilsands development can affect forests and disrupt animal movements and migrations. On the other hand, solar energy can provide a continuous supply of energy, which is integrated directly into buildings so that it has very little impact on land use. Run-of-river hydro plants can be designed to allow for free flow of existing streams.

Unlimited Supplies
Renewable energy supplies will never run out. While the supplies of coal, oil, and natural gas are limited, sunshine, wind, biomass, and water power are considered almost limitless resources. Canada's coal supply is expected to last 200 years, and natural gas about 100 years. Our large, untapped supplies of wind, sun, water, and biomass can power our society indefinitely.

Jobs and the Economy
Renewable energy can be developed in such a way that every household or neighbourhood could have its own renewable power generating equipment. This would create many new jobs for people involved in setting up and maintaining this energy supply, and in manufacturing the equipment. It is also more efficient to produce renewable energy in small amounts right where it is needed. The energy losses and equipment needed to transmit power over long distances can also be minimized in this way.

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How To Recycle Different Types of Plastic

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Plastic Recyling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastics and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different from their original state. For instance, this could mean melting down soft drink bottles then casting them as plastic chairs and tables.

Each plastic type has different resin identification code ranging from 1 to 7 that can be found at the bottom of the plastic surrounded by a triangle of arrows (as seen below)

This to allow consumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers. So, before recycling, plastics are sorted according to their resin identification code.

Easy Plastic To Recycle

The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) and are assigned the number 1.

Examples: soda and water bottles, medicine containers, and many other common consumer product containers.

Once it has been processed by a recycling facility, PETE can become fiberfill for winter coats, sleeping bags and life jackets. It can also be used to make bean bags, rope, car bumpers, tennis ball felt, combs, cassette tapes, sails for boats, furniture and, of course, other plastic bottles.

Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo and motor oil. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, plastic lumber and rope. Like plastic designated number 1, it is widely accepted at recycling centers.

Plastics Less Commonly Recycled

  1. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), commonly used in plastic pipes, shower curtains, medical tubing, vinyl dashboards, and even some baby bottle nipples, gets number 3.
  2. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) number 4 includes wrapping films, grocery and sandwich bags, and other containers made of low-density polyethylene
  3. Polypropylene (PP) number 5 used in processing reusable microwaveable ware; kitchenware; yogurt containers; margarine tubs; microwaveable disposable take-away containers; disposable cups, plates, tupperware, among other products, few municipal recycling centers will accept it due to its very low rate of recyclability.
  4. Polystyrene (PS) number 6 and is ommonly used for egg cartons; styrofoam items such packing peanuts; disposable cups, plates, meat trays and disposable cutlery; disposable take-away containers and insulation. It is widely accepted because it can be reprocessed into many items, including cassette tapes and rigid foam insulation.
Hardest Plastics to Recycle

Last, but far from least, are items crafted from various combinations of the aforementioned plastics or from unique plastic formulations not commonly used. Usually imprinted with a number 7 or nothing at all, these plastics are the most difficult to recycle (Beverage bottles; baby milk bottles; electronic casing) and, as such, are seldom collected or recycled. More ambitious consumers can feel free to return such items to the product manufacturers to avoid contributing to the local waste stream, and instead put the burden on the makers to recycle or dispose of the items properly.

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Does "Biodegradable" Claim Ensure Environmental Safety?

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Many products claim to be biodegradable, but what does that label actually mean? With no legal definition for the term and no clear standards for enforcement, consumers have no guarantee that "biodegradable" products are good for the environment.

Is there a legal definition of “biodegradable” that companies have to meet in order to so-label their products?

There is no legal definition of “biodegradable,” but the American Society for Testing and Materials defines the term as “a degradation caused by biological activity, especially by enzymatic action, leading to a significant change in the chemical structure of the material.” The European Union deems a material biodegradable if it will break down into mostly water, carbon dioxide and organic matter within six months.

But despite such precise sounding definitions, the term “biodegradable” has been applied to a wide range of products—even those that might take centuries to decompose, or those that break down into harmful environmental toxins.

No Standards for “Biodegradable” Claim

According to the Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports magazine), there are no specific standards for the “biodegradable” claim, and no official organization exists to verify the use of the claim. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S., however, has issued some general guidelines on what types of products qualify as legitimately biodegradable, and has even sued companies for unsubstantiated, misleading and/or deceptive use of the term on product labels.

According to the FTC, only products that contain materials that “break down and decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short amount of time when they are exposed to air, moisture and bacteria or other organisms” should be marketed as “biodegradable.” But the FTC acknowledges that even products appropriately-labeled as biodegradable may not break down easily if they are buried under a landfill or are otherwise not exposed to sunlight, air and moisture, the key agents of biodegradation.

"Biodegradable" Does Not Guarantee Health or Safety

Of course, just because a product or ingredient is biodegradable does not mean it is healthy or safe for people or the environment. For example, the toxic pesticide DDT biodegrades to the compounds DDD and DDE, both of which are more toxic and more dangerous than the original DDT itself.

Consumers with questions about what qualifies a given product to carry a biodegradable label should contact the manufacturer directly. The Consumers Union maintains that “if a manufacturer has solid scientific evidence demonstrating that the product will break down and decompose into by-products found in nature in a short period of time, then claiming that it is ‘biodegradable’ is not deceptive.” If you encounter a manufacturer that appears to be stretching the definition, file a complaint with the FTC or to the concerned office of your respective country.
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