The coldest part of your home — your freezer — can be a real drag on climate change and your carbon footprint. At the start of this year, make a mini resolution to keep your freezer a little greener by changing up some small habits.
1. Cool ice instead of air
Your icebox uses more energy to chill air than ice. If you have large, empty spaces in your freezer, pad those holes with ice. Fill emptied two liter bottles or used milk jugs with water. Be sure to leave a couple inches of headroom or you may end up with ice everywhere!
Keep the ice accumulation in your manual defrost freezer to a quarter of an inch or less. These glaciers on the sides of your freezer not only take up valuable food storage space, they also make it more difficult for your freezer to work efficiently. It has to work harder to keep the middle of the freezer cold.
3. Make room
Although you don’t want large hollow cavities in the freezer, you do need some space for the cool air to move around, especially by the cold air output. If this location is crowded, your freezer won’t work efficiently and will turn on and off more frequently. Additionally, the cold air won’t be able to move down to the fridge for your fresh food.
4. Freeze food scraps
But, wait… we’ve only talked about saving energy. Also remember to save food in your freezer — and not just any food. Challenge yourself to freeze food you would normally throw away. A recent study suggests that 30 to 40 percent of American food is wasted — thrown out unused. This is staggering, when many parts of the world struggle to have enough food to keep their families fed. By saving food, you’re also saving landfill space and the energy required to grow, transport and sell the food. Here are just a few ideas to use your freezer to save even more food:
- Start a container of leftover veggies intended for soup or stock.
- Freeze bacon grease to use as a flavor booster later.
- Break eggs into individual ice cube trays and then store them in a larger container together.
- Know how much fruit you will eat before it goes bad. Freeze fresh fruit when you return from the grocery store and use it in smoothies, or make fruit-infused water.
These freezer hacks and food saving tips will not only save money, they will also help you be kinder to the earth.
Will you make some freezer habit changes this new year?