This Or That? Sustainability Trade-offs In The Home

Have you ever scratched your head and asked yourself: What do I do with this rotten lettuce leaf…compost it, trash it, or throw it in the garbage disposal? What should I do with tonight’s dinner dishes? Throw them in the dishwasher or hand-wash this plate?!

Trash, compost or garbage disposal?

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Dilemma: You live in an apartment and haven’t quite figured out the whole compost-thing yet. Some of your veggies go bad in the refrigerator. You take them out and consider what to do with them – throw them in the trash, or use the disposal system.

Solution: Use your garbage disposal system. Disposals have recently been heralded as the “next great tool for urban sustainability” for their ability to take solid foods and chomp those scraps into a puree. When we throw our foods in the garbage can, they ultimately end up in the landfill, decomposing and releasing methane – a greenhouse gas. Not to mention, it takes garbage trucks and diesel fuel to get your trash around town.

Hand-wash or dish-wash?

Dilemma: Dinner is done and the table is cleared. Do you make a sink-full of soapy water to hand-wash your dishes? Or do you load up your dishwasher and press “start”?

Solution: While it may seem counterintuitive, the EPA suggests that washing dishes by hand actually uses much more water than a dishwasher. They say that if you use an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher, you could be saving an average of 5,000 gallons of water and 230 hours annually!

Dirty or Clean Energy?

Dilemma: It’s a sad fact that most of the electricity in the U.S. is made from dirty, polluting, non-renewable sources such as coal. In fact, making electricity is the #1 industrial cause of air pollution in the U.S. and creates more CO2 than any other sector. Although you would like to make the eco-conscious choice to switch from dirty, polluting energy to clean energy (from renewable energy sources), you are worried about how much it might cost.

Solution: Signing up for a renewable energy plan with 100% clean energy from Green Mountain energy can cost about the same as electricity plans using fossil fuels. Choosing a renewable electricity plan means you are choosing how the electricity is generated, not how it is delivered, so the reliability of your electricity service will not change. If more customers make the positive choice to source their electricity from clean, renewable energy sources, less of our electricity will have to come from limited and polluting fossil fuel resources. Check out the impact you can make by choosing a cleaner electricity plan.