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Food waste disposers: A better choice for your scraps

While nobody ever wants to waste food, it’s inevitable that you’ll sometimes have a few scraps left over. So, what’s wrong with tossing them in the trash?

Think about what happens when you throw away trash. It could sit in a bag on your property and act as a tasty treat for critters. After that, it most likely gets trucked to a municipal waste area and dropped into a landfill. It still doesn’t go away. Food waste, according to the EPA, makes up more than 20 percent of trash sent to landfills and incinerators. As it breaks down in landfills, that food waste emits methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

Instead of throwing those scraps in the trash, put them down a food waste disposer. Food ground up and shredded by a food waste disposer ends up either at a wastewater treatment facility or your home’s septic system. Treatment plants with the capability can convert the methane gas into renewable energy, and the solid waste into fertilizer.

Cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee and Tacoma, Wash. that have tracked the results of food waste disposer use in certain neighborhoods have reported reductions in food waste anywhere from 1.4 pounds to more than 4 pounds per household, per week. That also makes neighborhoods cleaner and can cut down on problems with rodents and other pests,

Now that you know some of the benefits, here’s some advice, courtesy of leading food waste disposer manufacturer InSinkErator, on how to best use your disposer:

Hold the shells: Food waste disposers have no taste for shellfish—not their shells, anyway. Never put clam shells, oyster shells, lobster shells or crab shells down a disposer.

Skip the fat: Never pour grease or fat down a food waste disposer or drain. You’ll risk clogging the pipes.

Use cold water: Always run cold water when you use your disposer. This allows the food residue to follow easily down the drain. Leave it on for 10-15 seconds after the waste is ground to ensure the best dispersal.  

Feed it in moderation: Food waste disposers are capable of handling most food waste, even chicken bones, celery and potato peels. However, you should avoid putting large amounts of food into the disposer at one time.

Keep it clean: Cleaning a disposer is easy. Try grinding several ice cubes, which will scour the grind chamber and shredder ring, and adding a quartered lemon to cover any odors.

How do manufacturers measure your oven’s baking ability? It’s a piece of cake.

 

Homemade cake "Red Velvet" decorated with cream.

Your oven’s baking ability has already been tested long before it makes it to your kitchen. Appliance manufacturers put ranges and ovens through a rigorous series of tests to make sure they’re capable of churning out a steady stream of treats for you and your family.

AHAM’s ER-1 standard for household electric ranges offers a specific recipe that manufacturers use to test their baking/browning performance.
• 1 cup (185 g) hydrogenated vegetable oil shortening
• 2 teaspoons (10 cc) vanilla extract
• 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
• 4 eggs (192 g) (Note: Mix 4 eggs, but use only 192 g)
• 1 ½ cups (352 cc) whole milk
• 4 ½ cups (425 g) sifted soft wheat cake flour
• 4 ½ teaspoons (16 g) double-acting baking powder
• 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt

After providing a detailed mixing process, AHAM’s standard instructs testers to place four, 22 gauge aluminum 8 inch (200 mm) round cake pans, 7 5/8 inches (190 mm) in diameter (bottom) by 1 1/2 inches (40 mm) deep, each containing 0.8 lb. (363 g) of cake batter, in an oven which has been pre‐heated to 375 degrees. The cake pans’ surfaces should not be discolored to affect performance.

After 25 to 30 minutes of baking and 10 minutes of standing, and cooling to room temperature on a cake rack, the cake is judged not on the taste, but on the consistency of color across on the top and bottom of the cake.

A consistent and effective baking performance has a major impact on how your foods taste and look. Uniform heat distribution, which is measured as part of the standard, plays a critical role in your baking success.

While AHAM’s recipe may not result in the fanciest, or tastiest cake, it provides product testers with consistency in the testing process. And consistency, as any baker knows, can make or break a recipe.

How appliances save water every day

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Two hundred and seventy billion gallons of water. It’s enough to fill 40 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. It’s also how much water would be saved if every home in the U.S. installed a new model dishwasher.

What are you doing to save water? It’s a great question to ask yourself on World Water Day, March 22 which the United Nations established in 1992 to shine a spotlight on conservation, sustainability and other water-related issues. Odds are your dishwasher and clothes washer are already helping you save serious amounts of water. Both are helping consumers cut back on their water use. Here’s how:

  • Washers are doing more with less. Clothes washers purchased today hold 20 percent more laundry than they did in 2000, yet they use even less water. The maximum water consumption per cycle for all types of washers (both front- and top-load) fell 35 percent between 2005 and 2014, from 35.7 gallons in 2005 to 21.6 gallons. The minimum water use per cycle also fell significantly during the same period, from 20.2 gallons to 12.2 gallons—a 39 percent drop.
  • Dishwashers are running near the minimum. The average amount of water used in a normal dishwashing cycle is down more than 41 percent since 2005. A new ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher can save an average of 1,600 gallons of water a year compared to 1994 models.
  • Less water + greater efficiency = lower bills. Even clothes washers of average efficiency can save your household more than 5,000 gallons of water a year and more than $150 in utility costs compared to the washers of a decade ago.

New appliances are just one of the steps you can take to cut back on your water use.  Here are a few more water-saving tips from the EPA:

  • Check for and repair any leaks in appliances, toilets, and other water-using devices in your home.
  • Don’t rinse the dishes. There’s no need to rinse your dishes in the sink before putting them into the dishwasher. Scrape them, and let the dishwasher do the rest.
  • Do full loads of laundry, or select the appropriate water level for the size of the load you’re washing.
  • Don’t use water to defrost. Instead, thaw frozen foods overnight in a refrigerator.
  • Keep cool wat

Save Money and Help the Environment with these Energy Saving Tips

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Everyone would like to use less energy and reduce their monthly electricity bill. AHAM has assembled some quick and easy tips to help you reduce the amount of energy your appliances use. Every bit adds up.

  • If you are replacing your refrigerator, do not use the old refrigerator as a second refrigerator because it won’t yield energy savings. Properly recycle the appliance. The store where you purchased the new refrigerator likely will pick up and dispose of your old one for no charge.  You can also visit the ENERGY STAR website for information about their Responsible Appliance Disposal program.
  • Allow hot foods to cool before placing them in the refrigerator, and always cover foods that may release moisture in the refrigerator.
  • Limit opening the refrigerator and freezer doors.  Label foods or use clear food storage bags to easily identify foods.
  • Scrape, but do not pre-rinse, dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  Dishwashers do a great job of cleaning soiled dishes.
  • Take advantage of your dishwasher’s “eco?? option that reduces water use, or use the no-heat air dry feature.
  • Use the proper load size setting for each load of laundry or use the automatic setting if your clothes washer has it to ensure you’re not using more water than necessary. Also, use cold water settings whenever possible.
  • Always clean the lint filter on the clothes dryer after each use.  A clogged filter will reduce dryer performance.

How do you save energy at home?  If you have energy saving tips, share them with us!

Keep Your Clothes Dryer Operating Safety and Efficiently with These Tips

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Proper installation and maintenance of clothes dryers are an important part of ensuring that the appliance performs as designed.

The dryer venting materials are an important factor in dryer performance and safety. AHAM recommends the use of rigid sheet metal or corrugated semi-rigid sheet metal venting material. Never use coiled-wire foil or plastic venting material.

Are your clothes taking longer to dry than they used to? Dryers need maintenance like any other appliance. In order to keep sufficient airflow around the heating source, lint must be removed from the dryer and vent. Lint and dust can build-up over time and reduce airflow, resulting in decreased performance, by not allowing air to circulate freely through the dryer. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer, where lint can be trapped. Clean the lint filter before and after each load. The interior of the appliance and venting system should be cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.

Dryer Do’s

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on installing the dryer and vent system.
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid sheet metal or corrugated semi-rigid sheet metal venting.
  • Clean the lint filter before and after each cycle.
  • Inspect venting system behind dryer to ensure it is not damaged or crushed.

Dryer Don’ts – Do NOT dry the following items in the dryer:

  • Anything containing foam, rubber or plastic (i.e. bathroom rugs, non-slip mats).
  • Any item which the dryer manufacturer’s instructions specifically state “dry away from heat.”
  • Glass fiber materials (unless manufacturer’s instructions permit).
  • Materials on which there was anything flammable (e.g., alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers, dry-cleaning solvents, etc.). These should be dried outdoors or in a well- ventilated room, away from heat even if they have gone through the wash cycle. Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
  • Fabric soiled with cooking oils.

A complimentary copy of AHAM’s Clothes Dryer Safety brochure can be obtained by sending a request to info@aham.org. Large quantities of the brochure, as well as those on preventing range tipping, portable heater safety and cooking safety, can be ordered through AHAM’s online store for a nominal shipping fee.

Rewarding Refrigerator Recycling in Utah

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Do you know that on average, approximately 90 percent of major household appliances (by weight) are recycled each year?

Additionally, according to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), the typical appliance contains 60 percent steel which can be recycled rather than being sent to a landfill.  Recycling has even more environmental benefits, too.   According to SRI, in a year, the steel industry saves the equivalent energy to electrically power about 18 million households for that same amount of time.  Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) and Utah Food Bank have joined forces to combine recycling, energy efficiency and meals for the hungry, according to a recent article in the Deseret News.  For over a decade RMP has been offering its customers $30 if they recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators.  Now RMP customers will have the option to automatically donate that $30 to Utah Food Bank, which distributes meals to food pantries, churches and soup kitchens throughout Utah.   Since the program was implemented in 2003, over 10,000 refrigerators have been recycled in Utah – saving the utility’s customers $150 annually on average, according to RMP.  Thanks to the program, Utah Food Bank estimates it helps provide 2,000 meals a week to families in need!

While your local utility may not offer a program exactly like RMP’s, you can still help the environment by purchasing a new refrigerator and reducing your electricity usage.  According to AHAM’s 2013 Trends in Energy Efficiency, on average, a refrigerator manufactured in 2013 consumes 52% less electricity than one manufactured in 1991 – and it’s 6% larger, too!

If you’re interested in cutting your energy bill by purchasing a new refrigerator, visit www.coolsavings.com to learn more about the latest energy efficiency guidelines for refrigerators, and how to use the updated yellow ENERGY GUIDE labels.  Meanwhile, SRI’s website can help you find the recycling location nearest you.

Energy Department and AHAM Join Forces on ENERGY STAR Testing for Appliances

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The U.S.
Department of Energy
(DOE) announced today in
a blog posting
that it recognizes AHAM
as an ENERGY STAR
certification body for clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators,
refrigerator/freezers and freezers.

EPA states: “This agreement is a
reflection of DOE's and AHAM's extensive and long-standing collaborative work
together on verification and represent the kind of creative, public-private
partnership that benefits industry, consumers, and government alike.??

Prior to the agreement, AHAM and
EPA conducted separate appliance verification programs.  Working together, AHAM and DOE can conserve
taxpayer dollars and eliminate duplicative testing.  Consumers can purchase AHAM Verifide appliances knowing that the federal
testing procedures for measuring an appliance’s energy consumption are trusted
and were developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

EPA also stated in their post:

“As an EPA-approved certification body, AHAM
will administer verification testing for the  ENERGY
STAR program, which includes verifying data and reporting on specifications.
AHAM will continue to follow a
series of stringent testing requirements, holding appliances that are potentially eligible for ENERGY STAR
certification to the highest of standards, helping to ensure that these appliances deliver
significant savings for energy efficiency and quality performance. In addition, AHAM will identify instances of
potential noncompliance with ENERGY STAR requirements
and federal energy conservation standards. AHAM will notify relevant government stakeholders, including
the Energy Department, if an appliance is noncompliant with any program requirement, so that the
appropriate agency can rectify any issues with compliance."

Click
here
to read the rest of the blog post.   Last year, more than 15 million appliances
were shipped with the AHAM Verifide mark.   
To search for appliances that have earned the mark, click here.

AHAM President Joe McGuire Discusses New Clothes Washer Sustainability Standard

JoewebIn a July column in Appliance Design magazine, AHAM
President Joe McGuire highlights the first-ever sustainability standard for
clothes washers developed jointly by AHAM, CSA Group and Underwriters
Laboratories.

McGuire writes, “The goal of this
standard is to provide meaningful environmental performance information to
manufacturers, governments, retailers, and consumers about clothes washers and
to drive innovation and continual improvement in the sustainability of these
products.??  This standard follows last
year’s release of the first-ever sustainability
standard for refrigeration products
.

 “The standard is intended to be used to
evaluate products for six key attributes: materials, manufacturing and
operations, energy and water consumption during use, consumables, end of life,
and innovation, as a bonus attribute,?? notes McGuire.  The new standards can be especially helpful to
consumers who wish to have additional information when purchasing more
environmentally-friendly products.  For
example, the end-of-life category, consumers can evaluate clothes washers based
upon the amount of recyclable materials they contain.

Click
here
to read more of McGuire’s column. If your company is a supplier to the
appliance industry and you wish to purchase either the standard for
refrigeration products or clothes washers, you may do so here.

Staying Ahead of the Curve with Sustainability

JoewebIn the November issue of Appliance
Design Magazine
, AHAM President Joe McGuire pens a column titled, “Ahead
of the Curve: Sustainability Standard,?? highlighting the first sustainability
standard for refrigeration products (7001/CSA
SPE 7001/UL 7001-2012
) that AHAM and its partners, CSA Standards and UL
Environment
released in June.

McGuire notes, “The standards are credible and compatible
with government and retailer initiatives. In fact, in September AHAM presented
its Sustainability program to many leading industry retailers at the Retail Industry Leaders
Association (RILA)
sustainability conference. The reaction was very
positive and our work is respected; but it is also clear that AHAM is ahead of
the curve with these standards.??

Additionally, he states that AHAM will expand its
sustainability program: “Working with testing agencies as partners, AHAM will
extend its sustainability brand to the marketplace. AHAM’s program will support
companies who wish to have third-party certification to the AHAM/UL/CSA
standards. The common rating scale will ensure all appliances certified under the
AHAM program are rated uniformly and to the same scale and will offer levels of
achievement for those that wish to tout their product’s environmental profile.??

Click
here
to read the full column.

AHAM Releases New Refrigerator Sustainability Standard

Appliance manufacturers can now take advantage of a new Sustainability standard that can be used to evaluate the environmental impact of refrigerators.  Manufacturers can evaluate their products on a scale offering points for using recycled materials and using blowing agents which have a low contribution to greenhouse gases.

It’s the first sustainability standard for refrigerators and is a giant step forward in ensuring that refrigerators are manufactured with regard for how the product will impact the environment during the manufacturing process, while in use by the owner and when it reaches the end of its lifecycle. The standard identifies the environmental impact that refrigeration products have in five key areas:

  • Energy
  • Materials
  • End-of-life
  • Performance
  • Manufacturing

Wayne Morris, AHAM’s Vice President of Technical Operations and Standards, recently spoke with Plastics News about how the new standard and the role of plastics play.

 Click here to read the article.