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Towards sustainability

Here is what you can do to save energy while contributing to environmental sustainability:
Refrigeration
If at all possible, place the refrigerator in the coolest part of the kitchen, away from heat sources (e.g. stove, radiator and window); leave a clearance of at least 10 cm behind, above and under the appliance to ensure proper ventilation.
Adjust the temperature of the refrigerator according to the room temperature and avoid cooling too much (excessively low temperatures are useless for food storage, and your energy consumption increases by 10-15%).
Inside the refrigerator, arrange food according to their storage requirements, remembering that, generally, the coldest area of the refrigerator is the one at the bottom.
Do not overfill the freezer or refrigerator; an excessive load may result in increased consumption and the appliance might not cool properly.
Do not put hot products in the freezer or refrigerator: a product that is too hot increases energy consumption and might even spoil other products in the freezer or refrigerator.
Cooking
Choose next-generation ovens, which save up to 20% energy. For example, so-called Open Space ovens, which “divide into 2” to halve consumption when its entire space is not required.
Turn on the oven following the correct preheating time; do not open it if possible: remember that the oven is particularly “energy intensive”.
To reheat food, it is better to use the microwave oven instead of a conventional oven: since it does not need to be reheated, it provides considerable energy savings.
Ensure that the gas hob is set correctly: a yellow flame is a sign of excessive consumption (also noticeable by the saucepans turning black). Furthermore, the flame coming off the burner cap is a sign of too much air. PLEASE NOTE: For any settings, seek advice from specialists.
Induction hobs provide significant energy savings and fit in perfectly with renewable energy sources, thereby fully reducing any possible heat loss straight to the saucepans.
Extraction
Use the hood wisely, adjusting the speed according to actual extraction needs.
Clean the filters regularly: this maintenance operation will improve performance and thus reduce consumption.
Home temperature
Use the air heating and cooling system only if necessary and adjust the thermostats accordingly; keep the windows shut when it is in function and prevent any draughts. Also ensure that window frames are well-insulated (low heat conductivity or double-glazed windows).
Avoid covering radiators with curtains or furniture, if possible.
IAt home, in winter during the day, keep the temperature at about 20°C. Keep in mind that for every degree less, you save 5 to 10% on heating costs (source: ENEA).
If you are not at home much, install a thermostat with a timer so that you only start the heating a few hours before you return home.
Remember: it is important for your health to eat in the heat, but you can sleep in the cool.
Water consumption
Do not leave the water faucet running unnecessarily: this is a simple rule and certainly the most effective one to save water.
Make sure the faucets are turned off properly: make sure you avoid dripping; if there is a continuous leak, service the faucets promptly. The replacement of gaskets, which only cost a few cents, avoids the waste of tens of thousands of liters of water each year.
Assess the possibility of drinking water from the faucet (if drinkable) instead of bottled water: this will help to produce less waste (i.e. plastic bottles) and reduce transport-related pollution. Use a jet breaker on faucets (replace it regularly) and water consumption will fall drastically.
Avoid turning on the hot water faucet unnecessarily: even if the hot water does not reach the faucet, the boiler may nevertheless have been activated.
Remove scale deposits from the faucet filter on a regular basis so that it can effectively mix the water jet with an air flow, to reduce consumption for the same effect. Avoid using the dishwasher when it is not fully loaded, so as to reduce unnecessary water and energy consumption.
Do not exceed the recommended detergent dosage as indicated by the manufacturer and check detergent quality in terms of water hardness; this will help save water. Let any leftover cooking water - when not salted, (e.g. after boiling vegetables) - cool down and use it to water your plants.
Lighting
If every Italian home were to replace even one traditional 100W light bulb with a 20W energy-saving light bulb, the amount of electricity saved per year would be 1.92 billion KWh and atmospheric emissions would be reduced by 960,000 tons of CO2 per year. The annual electricity consumption of three people living together is equivalent to 1.7 tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere, for which 3 trees need to be planted to compensate. The consumption of one KWh, which is equivalent to an electric water heater or an electric heater being switched on for half an hour, in the best boiler rooms, requires the combustion of about 250 g of fuel oil and results in the release of 750 g of CO2 into the atmosphere. A family of 4 consumes about 7 KWh per day, burning 2 Kg of oil and releasing almost 2,800 litres of CO2 (source: ENEA).
Opt for modern energy-efficiency light bulbs (either fluorescent or LED), especially in the most frequently used rooms: although they involve a higher initial investment, they are environmentally-friendly and more cost-effective in the long run.
In the kitchen, avoid lights with multiple light bulbs. A 100 W light bulb provides the same lighting as 6 25 W light bulbs, consuming 50% less (ENEA).
Turn off lights that are not needed: it is important to get used to not leaving lights on unnecessarily.
Waste management
Avoid disposable products: use biodegradable or compostable products as an alternative.
Separate waste for recycling and recovery purposes.
Choose products with recycled or easily recyclable packaging, such as single-material packaging.
If possible, buy products in bulk or refill your detergent and shampoo or shower gel containers.
Remember to reuse the shopping bag so you don’t have to buy a new one with every purchase.
Take returnable glass back to the shop. Don’t throw it in the bin.
Put it in a glass recycling container.
Whenever possible, crush bulky waste (bottles, cans, boxes). If you have a garden or large balcony, use organic and/or green waste to produce compost for your flowers.
Recycle: give objects a “new lease of life” by using them to the very end, sometimes even in a “creative” way.
Use rechargeable batteries, which cost more but have a major advantage: they can be used again and again and prevent additional batteries from being disposed of in the environment.
Cleaning the kitchen
Do not overdo the use of detergents: a slightly damp microfibre cloth is enough to clean surfaces that are not particularly dirty;
Use the most environment-friendly detergents (such as those with the ECOLABEL certifying that the product’s life cycle has lower environmental impact) and those in packaging which also has less impact on the environment;
It is better to use a dishwasher (at full load) thank to wash by hand: modern dishwashers require much less water and detergent than hand washing.
Kitchen disposal
When the time comes to replace your kitchen, in order to minimize any environmental impact, first consider the possibility of reusing it totally or in part (e.g. in second homes, garages, charity organizations or second-hand product markets).
If it really needs to be disposed of, contact authorized specialists in your city and try, if possible, to sort any components that can be recycled (wood, glass, aluminum, steel, etc.), making recycling possible and thus allowing a new product that does not use primary resources to be created.
Pay particular attention to electrical and electronic equipment (referred to as WEEE) – such as appliances – which may contain materials that are harmful to the environment if disposed of inadequately. To do this, please contact specialist collection centers in your city.