There are so many ways that we can choose to stay environmentally conscientious when we travel that there really is no excuse for not doing it.
Here are a few ideas for families that are traveling and still want to stay in their recycle-conscious state of mind.
Before you even leave your home there are ways that you can help save energy and waste. Turn your thermostats down on your home and your hot water heater. Some heaters have a “Vacation” setting right on them that can be used to set the temperature when no one will be around to need the heat. Just keep in mind the plants that are left behind and as long as they will not be killed off due to the temperature change, you’re set.
Be sure to turn off your outside water source, in the event that there is a pipe break while you’re away, this will minimize the damage. When you return home, turn the water back on slowly, where you will be able to be aware of any issues or leaks that may have occurred.
If you are going to be away from home for a few days, stop your newspaper delivery. That way the paper won’t be left to end up in the trash receptical and waste your time when you return home, sorting through what is relavent mail and what is not. You may even want to check to see if your paper can be donated to a school or non-profit organization, where it will be used in your absence.
If you or someone else in your home sleeps on a waterbed, turn the temperature down on that while you’re away, you can go as low as a ten degree difference and it will impact your energy usage. If you have a refrigerator with the ability to make ice cubes, be sure to turn that part off by lifting the wire, and you can lessen the risk of flooding should it break while you’re away.
There are airlines that offer electronic ticketing and by using these services will cut back on the paper waste generated by the airline, on a daily basis. There are even some airlines that charge a fee if you have lost a paper ticket, so rid yourself of any of those problems by opting for the paper-less airline ticket options.
If you are heading out of town, before you leave, go around the house and unplug the items that you would normally leave plugged in, like the TV, the computer, cable converter boxes, appliances, VCRs, stereos, etc. If these items are left plugged in to the outlets they can still draw or “leak” energy, even up to 40 watts per hour, even if they have been turned off. I think this is one of the most important messages to get across before you leave for a vacation; even if your electronics are turned off, they can still cost you money if they remain plugged in. Do yourself a big favor and always be sure to check these items before walking out the door to your vacation.