There are lots of ways to protect the planet from climate change. Life Goggles thought we’d have a go at listing them, starting with 100 things you can do to help. This is part 1, the first 10. If you have any suggestions for the next part, we’d welcome them. Please leave a comment at the end of the post.
1. Recycle. It seems obvious so I thought I’d put it at number one. Recycling covers loads of stuff which some of the other ways to save the planet will explore in more detail, but generally put your cans, bottles, tins, paper and cardboard in the recycling bin/bag/big skip thing. There’s a good person.
2. Reuse your plastic bags. It takes around 20 to 1,000 (I presume that’s a guess) years for plastic bags to degrade, depending on sunlight and air exposure. Most will take a long time as they’re buried under tons of other rubbish at landfills. But new degradable plastic bags have been introduced by some supermarkets – some are bio-degradable plastics, which contain a small percentage of non oil-based material, such as corn starch; and others are photodegradable plastics, which will break down when exposed to sunlight. However the biggest concern if that if people think they will degrade, we may find more thrown away. So reusing plastic bags is the best idea. Keep a stash in the boot of your car or even in your handbag or coat pockets so you don’t have to get a new one when you go the supermarket. Ideas of what to do with them can be found here.
3. Turn off your lights. It’s an urban myth that if you should leave a light on as it takes more energy to switch it on again than if you’d left it on in the first place. Even with fluorescent lights it’s best to switch them off. It is true they draw more power when they are warming up however this only takes a few seconds at most so is equivalent to a couple of minutes electricity use when they are on. So if you’re popping out of the room for more than two minutes, switch them off. And the radio or TV too.
4. Sort out your heating. Turn down your thermostat by down by one degree centigrade could save around Â£50 a year. And setting your heating to turn off one hour before you leave the house and come on half an hour before you get home could save you another Â£50 a year and use less energy. And if you close and/or line your curtains to keep in warmth and you’ll find yourself that bit cosier.
5. Do a home energy saving check with the Energy Saving Trust. They reckon they can save you up to Â£300 a year and in that way you’ll help the environment too. Worth a go.
6. Freecycle. This is one of the many ways to save the planet which will be about reusing stuff. www.freecycle.org is an online group that you can join in your local area around the world and give stuff away or get stuff that someone doesn’t want. From cars to plastic bags, from chairs to windows, from… well you get the idea. Almost anything can be freecycled. Makes you wonder why you buy anything new.
7. Live in an Eco-Pod house. Not only does it cut down on CO2 emissions but also building materials. It has solar panels on the roof to heat the water, a wind turbine to generate power and a wood burning stove just in case there’s no wind. There’s a water harvesting and recycling system and odourless dry toilet, and the pod sits on a deep concrete base which incorporates the underfloor heating system. All very lovely. Except that it’s made from polyurethane and concrete, which are not very eco-friendly, but I’m sure that’ll change over time. Also if you don’t like the pod shape, there’s also a more traditional looking abode.
8. Buy an ecube for your fridge. Put ‘ecube’ into Google and there are lots and lots of them, but this one is a small wax cube which mimics food. You (if you’re a qualified engineer that is) connect it up to your fridge and the fridge cooling system will respond to how cold the wax is rather than how cold the air is. This means that instead of the fridge’s cooling cycle coming on 12 times an hour, it’ll only do it around 4 times – saving you money, saving energy, and keeping your food as cold as it was before. Simple and all for Â£25.
9. Get rid of your tumble dryer. I can see the advantages of it – having dry clothes quickly – but it uses up a huge amounts of energy. Get yourself a clothes horse or drying rack for raining days and when it’s sunny, let the sunshine dry them outside.
10. Get a milkman. And his milk of course. Life Goggles talks about it here. It reuses glass bottles and is delivered in an electric float – marvellous.
The next 10 ways will be here soon – if you have any suggestions, add a comment below.