Simple, everyday conservation acts to help save the environment

(ARA) – The “going green” trend is going strong as more Americans discover that doing their part for the environment is now simpler than ever. Many small, everyday acts can help the environment – things as simple as using a water purifier instead of buying bottled water or switching to concentrated laundry detergents.

Procter & Gamble’s environmental education program, Future Friendly, offers these helpful hints for changes that can benefit the environment and, in many cases, your pocketbook.

Cleaning up your act

Doing a load of laundry seems like an innocent enough chore, right? Actually, our laundry habits can consume a lot of resources, from using more detergent than necessary to using energy to heat the wash water. Fortunately, greening your practices in the laundry room can be simple.

* Follow on-package dosing instructions – A third of Americans simply guess how much detergent to add to their laundry, with many just filling the cap or scoop to the brim, according to a recent Ipsos survey. In fact, 59 percent of those polled said they learned to do laundry from their mother, and 43 percent have never changed their laundry habits because they’ve never seen a reason to. It’s important to follow the recommended dosing instructions which are generally marked on the cap or scoop.

* Use concentrated detergent – Concentrated powder versions of Tide and Gain are now available, enabling you to use less detergent per load with the same great results. This concentrated formula means the detergents’ packaging has been reduced, creating less waste to toss in the trash or recycling bin.

* Wash in cold water – Most of the energy consumed in a typical load of laundry is used to heat the water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Switching to cold water for every load can yield significant energy savings and, when using specially formulated products, you won’t have to trade-off product performance to realize the environmental benefits.

Water, water everywhere

Water is a precious commodity that needs to be protected to ensure the health of the planet and our communities. Consider these water conservation tips as you go about your daily activities:

* Use a water purifier – While bottled water is a convenient aspect of modern life, the downside is the disposal of all those empty plastic bottles. When you compare the annual capacity and average price of a faucet-mount water filter to the price of water bottles that would hold the same amount of water, switching your household to a water purifier such as those available from Pur could keep more than 1,000 bottles out of the landfill and save around $600 a year.

* Skip pre-washing your dishes – Pre-washing dishes before placing them in the dishwasher can consume up to 20 gallons of water, according to If you use a good quality “complete” dishwasher detergent such as Cascade Complete, all you need to do is scrape off large food particles then place the dirty dishes in the washer – and you’ll save around 2,600 gallons of water a year (based on 12.5 gallons of water used to pretreat, at four loads per week). EnergyStar also recommends running the dishwasher only when it’s full and skipping the heat drying cycle.