Thursday, September 10, 2009

Local eco-sense for buying, reusing, recycling your appliances

Here's a recap of the show without the Betty and Bruce banter and/or mouth misfires...

Small appliances like toasters, food processors, microwaves, coffee pots, irons: NOW: Don't leave them plugged in. That draws a small amount of energy that's just wasted.
If they work and you're done with them? Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat, Freecycle. If they don't work, call Cycle Systems (formerly Coiners). They took our old microwave last year.

Bigger appliances:
Let's talk big losers in the home. We're not talking about the Bruce and Brads out there (joking!)It's the refrigerator. According to the EPA, the refrigerator averages about 9% of your home energy use.
NOW: Turn down the setting to 40 degrees and regularly get rid of the dust bunnies so the air is free to flow and don't lurk at the contents with the fridge doors open, just like your mom told you to!
If you have the money? Go to and research the highest efficiency models. Side doors are the least efficient. And if you have 2 fridges in your home (20% of Americans do), consider getting one big one. That could save you money and energy.

NOW: Do full loads, use biodegradable detergent, be choosy about your settings.
If you have the money? Buy a dishwasher with a .65 energy star number. Some models use 1/2 the water. We bought a BOSCH dishwasher last year and LOVE it. I consider them a progressive/green-minded company I can trust.

Refer to last weeks column in the Abode or in previous blog.
NOW: Full loads, cold water - Remember that hot/warm water rinses cost 5-10 times more. If you have the money? Check the cool tips on in the column

Water Heater:
NOW: Turn down the setting to 120 degrees. Use an insulation blanket. If you have the money, check out for tips.

When in doubt check Betty's search tool. If they work and are not absolutely egregiously uber-unefficient, Freecycle them or take them to Habitat.

Bulky Waste free Amnesty Day at the Ivy Material Utilization Center (fondly called Muck in the Biz): Saturday, October 10. check The freon will be recycled and the remaining will be stripped down at Cycle Systems.

Some local retail/repair companies will take it to Cycle Systems for you. Ask them what they do with broken appliances - if they say "trash" them, be an advocate by asking them if they would consider recycling it instead.

OR wait to find out about Virginia's cash for appliance program (similar to cash for clunkers - thanks to Obama's stimulus package) due out sometime this fall where residents are expected to get 50-200 dollars for the appliance when they purchase a newer, more efficient model.

Want another resource for savings?? Check out the tax incentives for solar heating and things like new water heaters at

Don't just take Betty's word for it - do your own research at and an AWESOME resource the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy or

And remember, if Betty is helping you SAVE money and SAVE the environment, please consider making a donation. (We a non-profit, all volunteer org!)



Waldo Jaquith said...

My wife and I are closing on a mortgage to build a house, and we were shocked that the bank won't permit us to use our existing appliances or buy used ones. We already have many of the appliances that we need, but the bank insists that we purchase new appliances, whether via our mortgage or out of pocket. They will not give us a loan unless we do so.

We pride ourselves on the amount of reducing, reusing, and recycling that we do in life, and that very much extends to our house. It hadn't occurred to us that the bank might be a limiting factor in that respect.

BWB said...

Incredible. I'm sorry to hear that. Your intention of reduced living and sharing that with your lender hopefully planted a needed seed of change. Thanks!