Simple Steps

Five simple ways to protect our planet this New Year.


1. Install a Low-Flow Showerhead

The average American uses nearly 12 gallons of water per day in the shower, according to the EPA. Factor all U.S. residents into this equation, and we’re using about 1.2 trillion gallons of water in the shower annually. Install a low-flow showerhead and you can cut that amount by 50 percent or more. And, new models, which can cost around $30 depending on features, mix in air, keeping pressure high and your body squeaky clean.


2. Buy Locally Grown Produce

Next time you buy a banana with a “Product of Ecuador” sticker, look at a map and see how far that sucker had to travel. Instead, opt for local produce at supermarkets or support an Island farmer at a farmers’ market. You’ll not only save oil used in shipping, but you’ll put money back into the local economy.



3. Nix Bottled Water

From July 2007 to June 2008, 30 percent of plastic bottles in Hawaii ended up as litter or landfill trash, or was burned at the HPower plant, reports the state Department of Health. Stop some of this waste before it starts by saying no to bottled water—and the energy it takes to manufacture and transport them. Get a filter if you don’t like the taste of tap and tote a reusable bottle when you’re on the go.




4. Ditch Traditional Light Bulbs

If switching to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs is still on your to-do list, then here’s a cash incentive: Hawaiian Electric notes that, by replacing four 100-watt incandescent light bulbs to 26-watt CFLs (based on three hours of usage a day), you’ll shave up to $96 per year off your electric bill. Plus, they’ll last up to 10 times longer than the old-fashioned bulbs.



5. Pull the Plug

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75 percent of the electricity used by home electronics—like TVs, kitchen appliances and stereos—is consumed while devices are off. Steer clear of these wasteful watts by unplugging appliances or using a powerstrip; just hit the off switch when leaving the house or heading to bed.