Simple Steps to be Sustainable at Home

Sustainability isn’t just about large projects and plans. Everyone can contribute by making small but significant changes in the way they live and work. Below we have listed a few ways you can make a difference.

Energy

Households are responsible for 30 per cent of UK energy use. This energy is mainly produced from burning fossil fuels, which release damaging emissions contributing to climate change.

  • Switch off all lights and electrical appliances when not in use. Leaving your TV on standby uses a quarter of the power.
  • Choose energy efficient appliances and light bulbs
  • Turn your thermostat down by 1.C - this can save you up to 10 per cent on your heating bill.
  • Keep lids on pans when cooking to prevent your cooker having to work extra hard.
  • Let clothes dry naturally rather than use a tumble drier
  • Switch your oven to gas if you have the option. On average using a gas oven costs a quarter of the price of running an electric one.
  • Buy your electricity from a credible green energy supplier
  • Insulate your home with cavity walls – seek professional advice first
  • Ensure you have at least 15cm of loft insulation, use draught excluders and put foil behind radiators on outside walls to reflect the heat back inside.
  • Lag your boiler and pipes to prevent unnecessary heat loss by up to 75 per cent.

Water

In the UK, the average person uses about 150 litres of water every day, which means natural water sources are strained and levels often fall in waterways

  • Don’t leave the tap running while you clean your teeth
  • Take a shower instead of a bath, it saves water and energy
  • Fix dripping taps - they can waste up to 13 litres of water a day.
  • Install a Hippo Water Saver in the cistern of your toilet. This can save between 2.5 and 3.5 litres of water each time you flush. Visit www.hippo-the-watersaver.co.uk
  • Use a water butt to collect rainwater for your plants

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Each UK household produces over 1 tonne of rubbish annually, amounting to about 31 million tonnes for the UK each year.

Recycling household waste is a simple and inexpensive way to contribute to a better global environment

  • Take part in your local recycling scheme
  • Use mains electricity rather than batteries if possible. If not, use rechargeable batteries.
  • Store food and other products in ceramic containers rather than foil or plastic wrap.
  • Put sanitary waste and wrappings in the dustbin, not down the toilet.
  • Return unwanted mail and ask for your name to be removed from the mailing list. E-mail the Mailing Preference Service, mps@dma.org.uk - it can arrange for your address to be deleted from around 90 per cent of mailing lists.
  • Always recycle paper after use.
  • Share magazines with friends and pass them on to the doctor, dentist or local hospital for their waiting rooms.
  • Use washable nappies instead of disposables if you can.
  • Recycle as much as you can -  contact your local council.
  • Give unwanted clothes, toys and books to charity shops or jumble sales.
  • Instead of a plastic ballpoint, use a fountain pen with bottled ink, not plastic cartridges.
  • Dispose of old appliances - particularly refrigerators with units containing CFCs - responsibly. If in doubt, contact your local council.
  • Choose environmentally friendly cleaning products containing plant extracts that degrade quickly when washed down the drain.
  • Take waste oil to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre - it is illegal to put waste oil down sinks or drains.

Shopping

  • Buy fresh produce in season and support local growers and farmers
  • Choose products with as little packaging as possible
  • Take your own bag, a ‘bag for life’ or reuse plastic bags
  • Try environmentally friendly or green goods
  • Buy produce from Fairtrade companies that don’t exploit third world companies
  • Buy organic produce – this will reduce the harm done to the environment from chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers
  • Walk or use public transport to travel to the shops
  • Offer a lift to neighbours on shopping trips
  • Shop locally – cut down on pollution and transport costs
  • Avoid disposable varieties of products, usch as cups, plates, cutlery, pens, drinks, containers, razors, dusters and towels

 

The Green Grin-o-meter

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Website by Andy Grant