Every day, we learn new ways to protect our environment by recycling, composting, and reducing emissions. The appliance industry has stepped up to the task and is letting us know that they are working hard to achieve their sustainable goals now and into the future.

Water ― we live in a state surrounded by it and feel very fortunate that we can enjoy its beauty. But litter–and particularly the growing number of discarded water bottles–detracts significantly from all this natural beauty. So what are appliance manufacturers doing to help combat this issue?

Refrigerator manufacturers first designed the exterior water and ice dispenser in the 1980s, and having cold refreshing water at the touch of a button was a huge hit. Then they realized that consumers were frustrated with height limitations when they went to fill a reusable water bottle. Consumers dealt with this for many years until the convenience of plastic water bottles came to be. To compete, manufacturers began to design sleek stainless-front refrigerators with a low-profile water dispenser inside the unit that still gave the consumer cold, filtered, refreshing water without the size restrictions exterior dispensers have. If used by everyone, each person could eliminate 1,460 plastic bottles per year just by using a reusable bottle. Not only does that help the environment, but it also represents potential annual cost savings to each consumer of $1,236.

There are other ways that appliance manufacturers are stepping up to help the planet. Reducing the emissions of both their products and their manufacturing facilities over the next decade is a primary objective for many companies. Powering many of the plants with wind turbines will reduce the electricity required to run them by 40%, and using solar power in many areas is already showing cost savings.

Cardboard, plastic, and Styrofoam are frequently used in appliance packaging. Many manufacturers are looking at ways to reduce their use by redesigning how a product is packaged and protected. In the past, many sprayed foam into the appliance packing boxes, which then caused the cardboard not to be recyclable.

New designs have and will continue to be designed where appliances are packaged and secured only with easily recycleable products. The challenge for manufacturers is that consumers are sometimes a bit shocked when they receive their appliances, and it looks as if they aren’t sufficiently protected. Numerous tests have proven that designing the packaging is crucial in eliminating elements that can’t be reused.

Many companies believe that health and wellness work together to create sustainability. Manufacturers are developing ways to slow down food waste with multi-air flow, humidity, and blue light technology within refrigerators. From produce to cheeses and meats, programmable settings adjust each area to create the optimal environment for all your food storage. Taking the guesswork out of food storage benefits both the consumer and the planet.

With sustainability top of mind, manufacturers will continue to find new ways to improve their products. We all want to do our part, and every little step forward makes for a better tomorrow.