Some more ways for you to help the environment now, ten of them, just because I’m feeling generous. Enjoy.
31. Buy food that’s in season. Out of season fruit and vegetables are often imported by air from abroad, which consumes vast amounts of energy. Even if it’s grown in this country, if it’s out of season it’s probably been grown in energy hungry greenhouses. A great website to find out what’s in season is this one.
32. Turn down and use the half load setting on washing machines and tumble dryers. Washing laundry at 40Â°C to 60Â°C in your washing machine could save you Â£12 a year. But you can go even lower, around 90% of the energy washing machines use goes toward heating the water, so you can use an even cooler wash – today’s washing powders are just as effective on 30Â°C programmes.
33. Buy recycled shoes. While reusing shoes is the best idea, there’s a limit to how many times you can put up with wet feet thanks to the holes in your ten year old trainers. You can donate them to rag merchants or get them recycled (some charities will deal with them), but you can also buy shoes made from recycled material. Adbusters in the US do some and Worn Again in the UK make shoes out of firemans’ uniforms, t-shirts and seat belts.
34. Fill the cavities in your walls. Heat escapes through gaps which makes you turn the heating up and keep it on for longer – wasting a lot of energy. The Big Green Insulation Scheme offers grants to help insulate your home.
35. Change your driving style. Changing gear earlier can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15%. When you’re approaching traffic lights, slow down gradually rather than suddenly braking as slamming on the brakes increases fuel consumption by up to 30%, and pulling away too fast boosts it by up to 60%.
36. Carbon offset. Yes I know it isn’t ideal and is often an excuse for people to carry on the way they are but claim to be carbon neutral, but there can be good reasons for it. Say you have to take a flight in an emergency, or you need to use a car because you live somewhere without local transport, well as well as big companies doing it, you can also. It’s worth looking around as so called carbon exchanges have been heavily criticised. Somewhere like Zerofootprint have a Carbon Shop and claim to work directly with sellers, usually tree growers, and make sure they are legally bound to leave the trees growing until they die. Examples of other companies are Terrapass and Native Energy.
37. Make your own cleaning products. Cleaning liquids can be harmful to the enivornment. Companies like Ecover offer a spray but you can make them yourself. Just buy a plastic spray bottle (or reuse one you have finished with) and buy the ingredients to make your own. Websites such as Summer Naturals offer the products and tips to make your own. White vinegar and tea tree oil seem to be the most popular!
38. Install thermostatic radiator valves. For about Â£75 you can install accurate and more controlable radiator valves in your home. It should save around 80kg of carbon an year – and give your boiler a bit of a rest.
39. On the subject of boilers, well hot water, make sure your hot water tank is wrapped up with lagging. This insulating jacket can cost less than Â£10 but save aroung 150kg of carbon a year.
40. Invest environmentally. For as little as Â£250, you can join a co-operative that invests in wind energy projects promoting emission-free technology. Or you could adopt a local renewable energy project. Find out more at www.energy4all.co.uk, www.yes2wind.com or www.bwea.com/ukwed.
Links to previous 100 Ways To Save The Planet can be found in part 4.