Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Take the Time to Unplug

By Archive, January 16, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive
How are those New Year’s resolutions holding up the as middle of January arrives? Or perhaps you’re still looking for a resolution? In a comment to this blog, Jami sets out her plan for 2008: She’s going to take the time to both unplug and unwind. She resolves "Every time I use some electronic device, I will unplug it after I use it—the TV, hair dryer, microwave, lamps, etc… Those 2 seconds of extra time means a better environment and a lower bill. On that same note, I’m going to unplug from being over busy. When I’m bored or have free time, instead of wasting my energy and the environment’s to watch TV or get in the car to go shopping, I’m going to go on a walk, spend time with my family, do something creative, and exercise my brain—instead of my wallet." This sounds like some good advice we could all start practicing. According to the US Department of Energy, "75% of the energy used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off." And you may save $10 a month on your electricity bill by unplugging appliances not in use. Need any more reasons to get started?
Category: Green Action




Juan Cordon says ...
My wife's company recently started using towles,toilet tissue and facial tissue made out of sugar cane. They say the benfits are that there were no trees chopped down to produce these items. I haven't seen tooo much of this product, but I've tried it and its a really neat idea.
01/16/2008 9:47:44 AM CST
Mark Anstis says ...
I made a resolution late in the year last year. Our Good Will, Salvation Army and second-hand clothing stores have really good stuff and I've been an avid fan. My resolution was that if I need to buy something "new" (ie. underwear, socks, etc.) I will only buy green products. And that's easier now with big retailers like Macy's, Marshalls and TJ Maxx now carrying bamboo, soy, and socks and underwear. And major brands like Gold Toe, Joseph Abboud, Dockers and Eddie Bauer using these fibers in their products. If the item doesn't have to be "new" then I will instead buy it from a resale shop -- recycling what's already in the marketplace and using less resources in the production stream.
01/17/2008 8:51:25 AM CST
Debra Black says ...
In the spirit of reusing and recycling, check out www.freecycle.org. Freecycle tries to keep as much out of the landfills as possible. It's free to join and if you're looking to give stuff away, post your item on freecycle and someone will come to pick it up. Alternatively, if you're looking for something, you might find it on freecycle. Freecycle rocks!
01/17/2008 9:13:37 AM CST
Hazel Greenberg says ...
The main electronics that are most popular are TVs, recorders of some type, and computers. I you unplug TVs and recorders, you have to reprogram them when you come back--not only a pain but a consumer of lots of time. That suggestion is totally impractical. If you mean to turn off your computer, you can only do that practically if don't have to use it fairly soon. Furthermore, you have to power down carefully all the devices attached to it, which another consumer of time. And constant starting and stopping is harder on a computer than leaving it in sleep mode. I think this idea is a great one and I am all for cheaper bills and a better environment, but I'd like to see a list of all the electronics that can be unplugged constantly in a practical and non-destructive manner.
01/17/2008 9:40:11 AM CST
Stephanie Katauskas says ...
My family's New Year's resolution is also to consume less energy and be cognizant about turn off or unplugging appliances and devices after use. Our other resolution is to consume less water. However, since I turned our water heater down, it takes longer for water to heat up and I feel like I'm wasting water waiting to wash dishes. I've since taken an empty gallon of water and started catching the cold water to resuse on my plants. I can sometimes catch a gallon of water before it heats up! As a result, I hardly have to use my hose to water my plants!
01/17/2008 11:15:49 AM CST
josh says ...
for us, we use city natural gas to heat our house. but gas is about twice as expensive as electricity. so we bump our thermostat (the gas) way down and instead use ceramic heaters in the rooms that we are in. if we close the doors and keep the rooms small, the room will heat up in about 5 minutes for half the cost. but you can't skimp on the ceramic heater. you have to get one of those tall, oscilating ones that are safe and have automatic cut-offs, etc. don't use those little box space heaters. but the big nice ceramic ones.
01/17/2008 1:21:31 PM CST
Dawn Parente says ...
I think what I have read is great, people going greener, buying new and or used. It all sounds great. However, I would like everyone to take time to look at where the items are made. If they are made in China, protest and put it back on the shelf. Our economy is going sour and consumers are at fault. Buy only USA and search out the :"greener" products made right here in America. Go online and research. You can buy recycled lunch bags made in the USA, Stainless steel water bottles, that are healthier for the environment and your health, Hemp products, etc. Greed is not becoming and the United States is paying the price.
01/20/2008 3:40:38 PM CST
V. Rogers says ...
What we did to conserve During cold weathers wear several comfortable loose layers of warm clothing and turn down our gas thermostat way down winter heat at 62 or less. Also, with several layers of blankets at bed time. During hot weathers, wear light loose comfortable clothings and turn up air condition to 72 or more. When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load if not full load to wash. A 5 gallon bucket to collect water from washing machine for toilets to flush. Stop the use of kitchen sink disposals Use our dishwasher on the 30 min cycle to save energy. Keep a clean 5 gallon bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up. Use this water to rinse the dishes before to load in the dishwasher in full. Take shorter showers to get wet first, turn off the water, soap and scrub, then turn the water on to rinse. Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair Turn off the water while shaving, washing our face, brushing our teeth, or wash our hands. Reuse fish tank water on our household plants Collect rainwater and gray-water for toilet to flush. Save us almost $10.00 on our water bill. Yay! It may sound a little hard to get used to but what a difference...if it is brown flush it down, if it is yellow let it mellow. Put your "yellow tissue" in the wastebasket. We keep a fridge box of baking soda in the bottom to absorb any odor. Save maybe 10 to 15 gallons of water a day!!! Last pee of the night.. flush and sprinkle a little baking soda and a splash of vinegar and swish. Good to go for the next morning! Also, collect rainwater for gardening use during gardening seasons. Use evaporative air conditioner to collect the water drain line in a 5 gallon bucket to water organic veggie garden and flowers Eat more organic vegetarian foods as much as possible and organic fresh or frozen veggies or fruits or dried fruits more. Meat makes less efficient use of land, soil, water, and energy - and cows emit 300 liters of methane per day. Buy locally produced foods; avoid buying foods that must be trucked in from great distances. Start a garden; plant a garden instead of a lawn Wash our cars outside during rain Bring our own washable canvas bags to the grocery stores from our car trunk. Maintain and tune up our vehicles regularly for maximum gas mileage. Make all our stops for one trip for a day to save our car gas and time. Maintain and repair the items we own in our house and car. a cleaning solution from equal parts vinegar and water with 2 or 3 squirts of dishwashing liquid. It cleaned everything from windows to kitchen cabinets. No more pricey cleaners that pollute the water. We use the whole house air filter to keep air clean inside, also use whole water system filter. also, use Pur filter at our kitchen for our drinking water for double water filter.
01/23/2008 2:58:02 PM CST
Gerald Young says ...
This is great information. Very good if we can put this to practice in our homes. It would have a huge combined effect. Now, what about in the WFM office? Might there not be a way to design electric circuts so WFM employees could unplug there equipment at night? The corporate office could save hundreds of dollars on their electric bill and save energy. Always nice if one can walk the talk.
01/24/2008 7:47:51 PM CST
Aleyda says ...
Due to the current water drought in Georgia, I decide to do something about saving and reusing water. I bought some inexpensive buckets (at the dollar store) and placed 1 in each bathroom. When someone is going to take a shower, the water they let run at the very beginning (until it gets to the desired temperature) is collected in the bucket; which later is used to water my plants, or flush the toilets, or to wash different things.
01/27/2008 5:03:06 PM CST
Brooke says ...
I wish supermarkets and all other retail stores would ask before printing a receipt. In most cases, I throw it away immediately. Even at restaurants. Most of us don't need a receipt unless we use it for tax purposes. (Some may want to keep track of their spending, but not all of us). Bank of America did this at their ATMs and have saved quite a large amount of money. Is there any way Whole foods could start doing it too? It could save the trees and make people happy too.
01/30/2008 5:54:13 PM CST
Janet says ...
I often receive mail order catalogs. There are many items in them that I have no interest in purchasing. How I ever got on the mailing list is beyond me! I have been calling these companies and asking them to stop sending me their catalogs - Save a tree! Buying these things over the internet is always an option.
02/07/2008 12:47:00 PM CST
Janet says ...
Where I work the ATM machines asks if you want a printed receipt. I've never noticed that before, but it's certainly a great idea! I cannot see Whole Foods adopting this practice since if there is an item that needs to be ret'd, for whatever reason, there is no documentation of proof. However, the fact that Whole Foods will be discontinuing their plastic bags is absolutely feather in their cap :)
02/07/2008 12:52:36 PM CST
Lisa says ...
A great way to reduce our carbon footprint and save a little cash is to take public transportation, car pool or bike. Using public transportation just once a week can make a difference!
02/07/2008 1:24:20 PM CST
Leonard Kreisman says ...
Like many Americans I am at a gym a few times a week. I often shave and always shower after a workout and I am shocked by the number of people that continue to run the HOT water while they shave. The same is true in the shower., Why not get wet, soap up and then rinse off? Also use the stopper in the sink since you can rinse your razor in that water. Think of all the electricity or gas that would be saved by heating less water!!
02/07/2008 6:11:09 PM CST
Carrieana says ...
When you do need to run errands, a more eco-concious way of doing it is to always plan your trip out first. Think of what you need to get and if you can condense the list into a couple stores as opposed to a bunch, then plan your route to be the shortest so you aren't driving all over town each time. Saves gas and leaves more time in your day for other more enjoyable activities like spending time with friends, sports, reading, etc. Also, decline a bag in every store, not just grocery stores... clothing stores, shoe stores, dept. stores... if you only have a couple items you can easily carry, save more bags! It will eventually encourage other large companies to do away with bags as we are doing at Whole Foods!
02/10/2008 9:51:02 PM CST
Katina says ...
My house is "all-electric" and I decided to make a conscious effort to turn off lights, unplug applicances, change lightbulbs, lower heating temp and raise a/c temp and I have managed to shave a minimum of $100 a month off my electric bill. I used to average $300+ a month in the summer and now most of my bills during that time are around $200. In the fall and spring my bills get as low as $50/month. And that's with all the price increases over the last couple of years. One thing I did to lower electric usage was to buy a portable a/c unit for my bedroom. That way I can stay "cool" while I'm sleeping and keep my a/c above 85 degrees in the rest of the house. And I catch the water that comes out of the a/c drain and use it to water my plants. And, I use fans all through the house.
03/06/2008 6:11:37 PM CST
Bruce Jones says ...
If you are going to unplug applicances be sure you do it correctly. Hold the plug firmly (not the wire) and pull the plug straight out to prevent creating a fire hazard. Remember also that each time you plug in and unplug an applicance, a small arc is created in the electrical outlet. Over time this can cause the outlet to fail, especialy if the applicance is a high amp user. Always be sure that the applicance is off before unpluging it, this limits the power surge that can damage some of the electronic componets used in the applicance when you plug it back in. Personally, I would only unplug applicances if I were going to be absent from my home for several days.
03/15/2008 1:06:37 PM CDT
sierra says ...
You may want to try using a multiplug surge protector instead. This way you can click a button that turns off your computer or sensitive TV so as not to upset the settings and is safe for your children to re plug in and to assist you in your effort to live green:)
03/15/2008 7:16:37 PM CDT