Here are 10 ways you can be greener every day:
Some of the following information has been adapted from reputable sources, including Environment Canada.
1. Avoid idling vehicles for more than one minute
Instead of letting your car idle, turn off the ignition. It uses less gas and emits less CO2 to stop and restart your car than to let it run. In fact, idling uses twice as much gas as driving! If every driver in Canada avoided idling for five minutes a day, we could prevent 1.6 million metric tons of CO2 from being emitted.
2. Walk, bike, or take the busThe City of Moncton continues to invest in public transit. We’ve recently added more buses and more connections to residential routes. Bike racks are also available on buses. More people taking the bus means less cars on the road, and that’s good for everyone.
3. Maintain your vehicle
Keeping your vehicle in top shape will save fuel and help the environment.
- Keep tires inflated: Just one tire under inflated by six psi can increase fuel consumption by three per cent and wear up to 40 per cent faster.
- Replace the plastic cap on the tire’s air valve with a steel cap, which seals much better than the standard issue cap. This is the best tool to keep your tires inflated and generally costs less than one dollar.
- Align tires: A misaligned tire will use around two per cent more fuel and cause premature tire wear.
- Use appropriate fuel: Read your owner’s manual before heading to the pumps and use the recommended type of fuel. Using supreme or premium fuels in cars designed for regular fuel is paying a premium price for something that will not work as well. It is a waste of money and fuel, could hurt the engine, and will harm the environment.
- Keep tank full in winter: Keeping your gas tank full can end up saving you big. When the gas tank isn’t full, the moist air in the gas tank condenses against the inside wall of the tank. This water affects the quality of the fuel, causing starting problems, fuel not being burned efficiently, engine misfiring, and adding strain to the engine.
4. Conserve Energy
- Use fluorescent bulbs: Changing just one traditional incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent bulb results in savings of over $45 during its lifetime. Each bulb uses one-fourth of the energy of an incandescent bulb, lasts up to 10 times longer and the energy saved keeps CO2 out of the atmosphere.
- Lights out: It’s obvious, but turning off lights at night can save you, and the environment, big. A computer left on to run 24 hours a day can increase the electricity bill by $75 to $120 yearly. By putting the computer into standby mode, this amount is reduced to only $15 per year.
- Wash clothes in cold water: Over 90 per cent of energy used by a washing machine comes from water heating. Save on your bill by washing clothes in cold water, with special cold-water detergent.
- Lower the thermostats: Lower the thermostat by three degrees in winter and you can save up to 10 per cent on your heating bill. Wearing that sweater never felt so smart!
- Choose energy efficient appliances: Dishwashers today are nearly 95 per cent more energy-efficient than those bought in 1972. Visit the Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s directory of the most energy efficient products on the market at www.allthingsefficient.ca.
- Have an energy audit done on your home and retrofit your home to make it energy efficient. Many grants are available to finance this type of project. For more information, visit New Brunswick’s funding program, Efficiency NB and the federal funding program, EcoAction.
5. Conserve WaterMost common water wasting culprits:
- Leaking toilets are the most common cause of a high water bill. View our tips on preventing a leaky toilet.
- Toilet flushing is the largest single use of water in a home, followed by showering and bathing. New low-flush toilets use six litres per flush compared to 22 litres with older toilets, lowering your water bill by approximately $65 a year. Low-flow showerheads save eight litres of water each minute.
- Do not leave water hoses running unnecessarily.
- Never leave the tap running when washing vegetables or dishes, shaving, or brushing your teeth.
- Repair leaks immediately, as a small drip quickly amounts to litres of water wasted. Water meters can help detect a leak.
- Use water-efficient fixtures in the home, as showers/baths account for about 30 per cent of indoor water use and toilets account for about 35 per cent.
- Run the dishwasher and clothes washing machine only with full loads.
- Shorter length showers help conserve water, and filling the bath only half full saves 80 litres or more per bath. You could save hundreds of dollars each year!
- Keep water in the fridge instead of running tap water and waiting for it to get cold enough to drink.
- Dispose of kitchen and dry waste in the garbage instead of flushing down the toilet or garburator.
- Use a bucket and sponge for washing the car instead of running water.
- Use a barrel to collect rainwater from your downspouts. Collected rainwater can be used for garden and lawn watering.
Lawn watering tips:
- Deep, infrequent watering promotes deep, strong roots and will make your lawn healthier. Watering too often may cause disease by starving the soil of oxygen. Apply 2.5 cm (one inch) of water once a week, only if watering is needed.
- Water early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Some experts say lawns don’t need watering at all, since grass will go “dormant” during extended periods of dry weather, and will return to normal once dry weather stops.
- In an effort to promote the conservation and wise use of water, the City of Moncton has a lawn-watering bylaw.
6. Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce
- BYOB ( Bring your own bag!): Re-usable grocery bags greatly reduce the amount of plastic bags going into landfills, and are easily available in most stores. Use them for all your shopping needs!
- Enviro-friendly take-out: Bring your own reusable containers when ordering take-out. This saves tons of styrofoam, plastic wrap, aluminum foil and cardboard from ending up in landfills. Just let the restaurant know you'll be bringing in your own dishes, and make sure to have enough dishes!
- Rinse recyclables: Though some of the materials recycled in our wet waste are used for compost, help maximize the amount of material recycled. Rinse out cans, bottles, and other recyclable materials and place them in the blue dry bag.
7. Compost at home
You can further reduce materials going into landfills by composting at home. For more information on backyard composting, visit the Composting Council of Canada’s website at www.compost.org.
8. Plant a treePlant a tree. The city funds a residential tree-planting program that entitles each homeowner to have one tree planted by an arboriculturist on his or her property. Having trees on your property also provides shade and shelter for birds and small animals, keeping our ecosystem healthy and diverse.
9. Buy locally
- Support the local economy and enjoy fresh local food when possible. When the average person in North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically traveled at least 2,400 km. That’s like traveling from Moncton to Florida to get your peas and carrots! The transportation of this food emits tons of carbon dioxide, not to mention increases the cost to the consumer. The Marché Moncton Market provides locally grown produce, fresh meat and dairy, specialty foods, beauty products, crafts, and more. With over 130 vendors, there is something for everyone.
10. Use pesticides less often
The City of Moncton encourages residents to keep their lawns pesticide free. Visit our Healthy Lawn section for lawn care tips.