Chattanooga Times Free Press

Automated car wash centers save water

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It’s no surprise that washing your car at an automated commercial center saves water. In fact, the Car Wash Associatio­n estimates automatic car washes use significan­tly less water than washing at home: just 45 gallons per car versus 80 to 140 gallons wasted at home. But if you must wash your car at home, do one thing: Park your car on gravel or in a grassy spot instead of on paved driveway. The soapy water will then get filtered through the ground and help recharge groundwate­r sources.

BACKYARD GARDENS

Now is a good time to start planning a backyard vegetable garden by sketching out a plot and choosing your seeds. Not only is gardening fun, but growing food for yourself can save you about $800 a year in produce costs. For the best success at growing vegetables, go for the easiest types to cultivate at home. These include lettuces, green beans, spinach, cucumbers, squash, radishes and tomatoes. And while you’re working on your small plot of farmland, also plan for a backyard compost pile so you can feed organic matter back to your plants.

PROPANE GRILLS

Is there anything more enjoyable in the spring and summer months than grilling dinner outdoors? It’s a great way to enjoy the warmer weather and turn a chore into a real joy. When choosing a grill, you might wonder which is better for the environmen­t: propane or charcoal. According to the Environmen­tal Impact Assessment Review, the answer is propane. This is all due to the production that goes into making charcoal, which creates significan­t CO2. If you want charcoal, opt for bamboo varieties, which emit little smoke and are made from renewable sources.

CLEAN THE FRIDGE

A refrigerat­or can become a dangerous breeding ground for bacteria that can make the food you store inside unhealthy very quickly. Twice a year, make it a priority to clean the inside of your fridge and freezer, and purge any food items that are past their expiration date. Wash the interior of the fridge with a solution of warm water and baking soda to loosen hard spills so they can be wiped out. If it’s possible, pull the

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fridge out from the wall and vacuum underneath and behind it, since dust buildup can force a fridge to work harder.

RIPE FRUITS

If you have very ripe fruit like peaches, mangos and avocados (yes, they’re a fruit!) and you’re not ready to use them, place them in the refrigerat­or. The cool air actually slows down the ripening process and gives you an extra few days to use the fruits. When you are ready to eat them, take them out of the fridge and set them on the counter to give them a chance to warm up at room temperatur­e.

FRIDGE SPACES

Did you know the back of your refrigerat­or is the coldest? And sometimes the difference in temperatur­e is significan­t from the back of the fridge and to the front or the compartmen­ts in the door. That is important to know when storing delicate produce, like lettuces, fresh herbs and other greens. If you place those items near the back, they have a high likelihood of freezing, which can change their taste and texture. Keep those delicate greens up front so they’re crisp, not frozen.

REUSABLE CUPS

An interestin­g study by the Institute of Lifecycle Analysis figured out how many times a reusable cup needs to be reused before it actually begins to save energy and resources in comparison to a throwaway paper cup. They found a reusable ceramic mug would need to be used 39 times before you begin to see environmen­tal savings; a plastic Thermos would need to be used 17 times, and a heat-resistant glass mug just 15 times. What’s taken into considerat­ion is the amount of resources needed to make a reusable cup, plus the amount of water and energy to wash it. So the lesson is simple: Buy one reusable cup and use it repeatedly.

 ??  ?? Danny Seo
Danny Seo

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