Every day, I pen a syndicated column called Do Just One thing that appears in newspapers across the country. Over the past several years, I’ve accumulated thousands of tips that not only help people to live a little bit greener each day, but are also smart ways to cut waste and save money. In each issue of this magazine, I’ll round up my all-time favorite tips. they’re clever, fun, and simple enough that I think you’ll Naturally love to try them. –Danny Seo
- FOREVER FOODS
It’s a staggering statistic—nearly half of the food grown or produced in the world is wasted. Often, it’s from food that expires and is no longer safe for consumption. But some food in your own kitchen actually never expires. Honey, for example, never spoils. The bees use a natural chemistry to turn nectar into one of the most perfect foods. Condiments like salt, soy sauce, and real maple syrup can be added to the list of forever foods. Maple syrup is naturally anti-microbial; it will stay sweet for as long as you have it on your shelf.
- DRY SITUATION Got a dried-out marker that just won’t work when you try to bring ink to paper? Don’t toss it in the trash. Whatever the reason is for the dry tip (maybe you left the cap off overnight?), it often can be resuscitated. All you have to do is place the tip of the marker in a small amount of rubbing alcohol and let it soak for 15 minutes. The rubbing alcohol will lubricate the inside of the marker and help unblock any dried out areas. Give it a try on a piece of scrap paper. Odds are, your marker will be as good as new.
- BOUNTIFUL BAGS Do you have reusable bag overload? Perhaps you have bags you’ve received for free at the store, purchased too many (because you left them at home…again) or were gifted a few. The great thing about reusable bags is that they cut down on waste and can
be used over and over again. So try this with your extra bags: Fill them with goods that your local food bank or shelter needs. Then they can reuse those bags and let patrons use them to fill up food. You can also donate extra reusable bags to soup kitchens, shelters, and charities that need to carry and transport goods.
- A DIRTY BREW
In 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF)—a public health and safety organization—found that 50 percent of traditional coffee makers had yeast and mold growing inside. Worse, 10 percent had harmful coliform bacteria (yep, that’s the fecal kind). In fact, the report stated that: “Coffee reservoirs had higher germ counts than both bathroom door handles and toilet seats.” To prevent this, carafes should be cleaned with hot, soapy water every time you use them. Also, a simple combination of equal parts white vinegar and water brewed through a coffee maker regularly should disinfect all the internal components of germs and bacteria.
- CHECK AGAIN
It can be really frustrating when an appliance like a refrigerator,
washing machine, or stove suddenly goes kaput. Before you chuck it and buy a new one or hire a repairman, look for some simple solutions. Over time, an appliance can slowly shift and move, eventually unplugging itself. Circuit breakers can also be tripped, so check to make sure you don’t need to reset yours. And, if your flooring has warped or moved, some appliances will automatically turn themselves off as a safety precaution when they aren’t on the level.