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3 Ways You Can Lessen Your Environmental Impact

Retained-Heat Cooking, Recycling, and Mind the Power Vampires

© 2013 Annette Hazard; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission. Posted February 11, 2013

A Chambers Fireless Stove


The art and science of energy conservation and recycling have improved in the last decade and many consumers have become more conscious about the energy they consume and how they discard of things.

These three tips show unique ways to make a positive difference with a little effort.

  1. Try Retained-Heat Cooking to Lower Your Energy Consumption.

    This cooking technique starts on the stovetop and ends in an insulated cooking chamber.

    It’s been around for centuries, but is starting to make a comeback as a real time and energy saver. People bring their rice, pasta, potatoes, or meat to a boil, which they maintain for a few minutes or longer, depending on the size of the food that needs cooking.

    Once that threshold has passed, they place the pan inside an insulated container, where it continues to cook for hours. The stove’s burner is on for just a short time.

    While the food sits in the heavily insulated container, it continues to cook. One of the most successful commercial models were produced by the Chambers Company (see the photo above).

  2. Recycle the Unusual.

    When you purchase a new mattress, buy it from a retailer who supports mattress recycling.

    Recycle Many second-hand furniture stores and thrift centers have stopped accepting mattresses due to health or insect problems, so disposing of worn mattresses can be a challenge when you’re trying to minimize your environmental footprint.

    When you just need to get rid of a mattress without replacing it, look for organizations or companies such as in your area that recycle mattresses.

    Your mattress retailer may be able to help you find such a group. The springs, wood and foam inside them can be reused.

    Unwanted CDs and DVDs are also a challenge to recycle. The discs themselves don’t qualify for household recycling, although the paper liners do. The jewel cases and the discs can be sent to the CD Recycling Center of America, which has offices throughout the U.S.

    The cases and discs are ground and manufacturers can use them for household products, building materials, safety glasses and fence material.

  3. Unplug Your Chargers.

    After they’ve replenished the batteries in your small electronics, they have served their purpose for the time being.

    Many chargers use power if they stay plugged into an outlet, even when detached from the device that they charge. This is why they are sometimes called power vampires.

    The U.S. EPA estimates that vampire power adds up to 100 billion kilowatt hours of unnecessary power consumption each year.

    Do your part to reduce your environmental impact by placing the chargers for your portable devices in one place, labeling the chargers, and then unplugging them when you top off the battery.

    As another option, just plug your phone into the cigarette lighter when you drive. This amounts to zero consumption added to your residential utility bill. Walmart sells a duel USB plug so you can charge two devices at once.

About the Author:

Annette Hazard is a blogger, avid cyclist and mother of one that has a passion for environmentalism.

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