Enjoy New Electronics and Appliances Responsibly
During the recent holiday season, you may have acquired some new electronic gadgets--perhaps a flat screen TV, a Blu-Ray player, a laptop, or computer upgrade? Every home, no matter how new or old, has its fair share of electronic gadgets and appliances. And if you're working to make your home greener, here's a New Year's resolution to consider: Turn off those power-sucking vampires when they're not in use. Really, turn them off.
No matter how energy efficient your new toys may be, it typically takes more energy to keep your appliances and electronics running than to turn them off and then on again. And many plugged-in gadgets keep taking power even after you've switched them off.
Being Energy Efficient: What Can You Do?
So what can you do? Put all of your electronics on power strips and turn them off when they're not in use. Unplug your stereo, TV, computer, microwave, and other appliances and electronics when you're not using them. The same goes for cell phone and digital music player chargers. Unplug them and stash them in a drawer.
If it sounds inconvenient to turn off and unplug energy hogs when you're not using them, here are a couple energy consumption facts that might make the chore a little easier:
- Americans spend $1 billion a year powering appliances and electronics that aren't in use
- About 75 percent of energy used by our home appliances occurs when they're "off," according to the U.S. Department of Energy
Properly Dispose of Old Electronics and Appliances
When you get new electronics, sometimes means that old gadgets are no longer needed. What can you do with that old tube TV or VHS player? Here are a few green options to consider:
- Place an online advertisement. If you don't think you can charge money for your old stuff, give it away for free. Check out Freecycle.org.
- Donate your computer or other electronics to charity. Check with your house of worship or your children's schools to see if they are interested in taking what you have to give.
- Call your local recycling center. TVs, computers, and the like, contain metals, plastics, and batteries. Circuit boards alone contain the hazardous chemicals polybrominated flame retardants, selenium, and cadmium. Each item might cost you $10 to recycle, but that fee brings a clean conscience.
Now that you're getting off to an energy efficient and green start, take the time to enjoy your new gadgets!
Energy Star, Home Tips
Grist.org, o Way Outlet
U.S. Department of Energy, Home Office and Home Electronics
About the Author
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado-based writer and editor, who spends much of her free time remodeling an old house.
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado based writer and editor, who spends much of her free time remodeling an old house.