You don’t have to move off the grid in order to reduce your dependence on electricity. Look around your house. How many of your small appliances can be replaced with the “acoustic” versions?

For example, how many of you have electric can openers? Unless you have a dexterity issue, manual hand-cranked can openers are the more eco (and less expensive) way to go.

Other examples:

If you live in an old house with radiators, forgo humidifiers and simply put pans of water on top of a couple of radiators. This also works well if you have a wood stove.

French press coffee pots can replace electric coffee makers — some coffee purists say the non-electric version makes a superior cup of coffee anyway. (Bonus: No paper filters!)

Air dry your hair instead of using a blow dryer.

Use an old fashioned pencil sharpener instead of an electric version.

Use a regular toothbrush instead of an electric one. (Recycla confesses she uses power tools to brush her teeth and she’s not sure she could go back.)

And then there are the big things, like hanging your laundry up to dry.

That said, sometimes, switching back to the old way won’t work for you. For example, studies have shown that using a dishwasher ultimately uses less water than handwashing. And in Recycla’s house, laundry is hung up inside in the laundry room, but never outside because both Recycla and one of her daughters have seasonal allergies, so wearing t-shirts covered in tree pollen is not going to work for them.

You don’t have to do all of these things, but you might want to consider trying even just one.

Tell the Eco Women: What other ideas do you have?

Photo credits: Yahoo Images

4 thoughts on “Unplugged

  1. I use small fans to circulate air when it is close to cool enough to open windows but still a little warm. I unplug a lot when not in use (toaster, coffee pot, computer, etc.) and some things when leaving town (tv and cable box, etc.). I splurged on my dishwasher-it is tough & I don’t have to rinse anything beforehand and therefore can let it sit while it fills up during the week. I have also cut down on using plastic and now buying glass dishes with covers (rarely use Saran style wrap anymore).

  2. My husband makes his coffee (he drinks “regular” I drink decaf) in a percolator on the stove top. Granted, that means he uses gas to heat it, but if you are talking “off the grid” then you could have propane to do that. I use a French press, and have for a couple of years. I got tired of replacing my espresso machines. Also, if you REALLY want espresso, the Italian espresso makers that are meant for the stovetop work really well! I’ve seen people take them camping.
    I think, further, that having GOOD quality “acoustic” versions makes a difference.
    Don’t get a cheap French Press, it’ll make mediocre coffee. I suppose if you wanted to be a little radical, you can still get hand-cranked coffee grinders. That might be fun…
    I do have and use a waffle iron, but have been contemplating getting one of those old cast-iron wafflers you use on the stove top. Anyone have any input on that?
    I have a really good set of knives, which I keep in good shape (NO PUTTING THEM IN DRAWERS! EVER! OR IN A DISHWASHER! EVER!). I do use my food processor now and then, when I need something pureed or blended pretty finely. Otherwise, I never use the grater or slicer attachment to the food processor. Knives and a good mandolin slicer work just fine. It has attachments for fine grate, julienne, slices, etc… I had a cheap mandolin, and it really was more frustrating than helpful. I got a nice one for Christmas last year, and I love using it.
    Keep knives sharp (yes, it’s true you can injure yourself more easily with a dull knife!), get good-quality knives and learn which ones to use for what and HOW to use them properly.
    Now, I cannot for the life of me figure out how I could ever do without my Kitchenaid mixer…not gonna happen…

  3. I do all of these things except the coffee–we use a regular coffee maker because of the sheer amount consumed.
    I listen to a portable battery operated radio instead of a stereo.
    I use a broom often instead of the vacuum.
    I usually mix by hand.

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