Pick up that plastic

April 29, 2014

Keep plastic out of our waterways

Plastic is a blessing and a curse: it’s very durable for our everyday uses, but VERY persistent in the environment. As well, because plastic is so light, it floats in water and is very prone to getting blown around by the wind.

As a consequence, littered plastic often ends up in our oceans – carried there by waterways and the wind – where it remains for a LONG time. (Google “great Pacific garbage patch” to learn just how serious an issue this is.) I first learned about this problem while canoeing in early spring several years ago – an otherwise pristine stream had more than its share of plastic floating around in it.

So at this time of year, when litter is emerging from under winter snow, the wind is blustery and waterways are running fuller than usual with meltwater, please help keep plastic out of our oceans by picking up whatever littered plastic you can.

That’s it; just pick up some plastic!

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Save with Low Rolling Resistance tires

If you’re in the market for new tires, look for Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires. Here’s why.

When you drive, your tires flex a bit at the point where they make contact with the road, and then relax back into shape while they are not contacting the road. The friction of this continuous flexing and relaxing is called Rolling Resistance. It creates heat in the tire (touch a tire after a trip and you’ll feel the warmth), and makes your engine work harder to turn the tire and move your vehicle – thus affecting fuel economy.

Today, many manufacturers offer Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires, which can improve fuel efficiency by 4%. That may not sound like much, but that can amount to $100 saved over the life of a tire – meaning the tires virtual pay for themselves!

Unfortunately, no standard or certification has yet emerged to identify LRR tires. (Goodyear and Canadian Tire have their own logos; Bridgestone has a brand and Michelin has a neat one-minute video demonstrating Low Rolling Resistance.) However, ask for them the next time you shop for tires – good for you, your wallet and the environment!

Can you spot the LED?

April 1, 2014

LED light bulbs, the next big thing in home lighting

When it comes to lighting, many of us are reluctant to let go of those old incandescent because we like the soft, warm light they give. (Plus they come on instantly.) Well, take a look at this picture and see if you can pick out which bulb is the incandescent and which is an LED.

LED

They’re very similar, but there’s one big difference: the incandescent is using 60 watts of power (and is blistering hot) while the LED is using just 9.5 watts. Plus LED light bulbs last as long as 25 incandescent bulbs, so they may well be the last bulbs you’ll ever have to buy – or change. They’re more expensive to buy, but far cheaper overall because of their long life and efficient operation. And if you happen to live in New Brunswick, now is the perfect time to switch to LEDs: there’s a discount of $6/bulb for the month of April; details here.

So choose LED light bulbs – like the one on the left. (It’s a Cree soft white ENERGY STAR.)