Everyone knows we need to save the environment, not just for our sake, but for the sake of our children’s children. When major nations hold back from taking urgent steps it can feel very overwhelming for us. Fortunately, there are practical steps that we can all take that can make a big difference if everyone takes them. They are easier than you think – and very close to home. Let’s look at some ideas now. Some of them will save you money!
For example — plastics, particularly the packaging some items come in. If it’s not biodegradable, it won’t naturally rot like old twigs and branches but will exist way longer. This creates a problem for landfill sites. Animals and birds get harmed by old plastic items that have been dumped outside. I’m sure you’ve seen the photos of birds tangled up in the plastic that holds beer cans together. Whilst you can burn some garden items, you can’t burn plastic without releasing toxic gas into the atmosphere. Try buying things that have been responsibly packaged in a sustainable manner. Recycle whatever you can at home, and if you have local recycling bins, use them.
If you’re having a party, it’s tempting to have disposable plates and cutlery. This may save you some work cleaning up, but it won’t bless the environment. Do you buy packs of individual cleaning wipes? Use a washable cleaning cloth and an antibacterial spray instead.
My fridge is old and has faithfully served me for years. Why should I replace it if it’s working ok? That was my personal opinion until I learned that modern fridges use 40% less energy. Does your dishwasher have a drying program? Why not open the door once the wash cycle is completed and let it dry naturally instead? A lot of money can be saved there. Consider using cold water in your washing machine, and don’t put it on when it’s only half full.
I always had daily baths because I thought showers just wasted water down the plughole! Yet again, I was wrong because showers use less water. Consider sharing the bathwater with a family member. My toilet always used a lot of water with every flush, but it is possible to adjust this to save on water use.
All winter I pop my washing in the dryer, but when the warmer weather comes, I forget to hang my clothes out in the sunshine. As with fridges and baths, these are all ways to save money.
Emissions from coal (fossil fuel) are similar to those of petrol and have a similar effect on the environment. They are not an infinite resource either. Wind energy is much better for our planet, but not easy to harness at home. What about considering solar energy to support your home instead? Solar energy comes from the sun (obviously) which means you can’t really run out of it. Click here to read more about how solar panels can be put on your roof to generate electricity for your home and reduce your carbon footprint. They are more eco-friendly since the environment will not be adversely affected as there is nothing bad released into the air.
Why not insulate your home – your walls, ceilings, roof space, under flooring, etc.? Replace the seals on your windows and doors if they let air escape. You are heating the great outdoors if you have escape routes for your vital warmth! Wear more clothes and have more bedding indoors – you can turn down your thermostat too. It’s actually unhealthy to spend most of your life in an artificially created greenhouse.
Turn off any appliance or light that you’re not using, to save electricity. Did you know? 30% of the power your television uses is when it is left off, but with the power light still on. Use compound fluorescent light bulbs for similar reasons. They are the most efficient ones you can purchase. If you’re always buying new batteries, purchase rechargeable ones. That way you’ll never run out and there will be long term savings.
Do you have a lawn? Consider whether you really need it. A lot of chemicals people use on their lawns are not good for the environment. Lawnmowers are like mini cars that can pollute the atmosphere. Petrol mowers, like cars, increase carbon dioxide in the air and reduce the ozone layer. Why not grow shrubs and bushes instead? You might enjoy a harvest from things like strawberries or raspberries if you plant them. Lawns don’t do this!
My dad always used an old dustbin to collect rainwater. It was a great way to collect water for his plants and wasn’t part of his water bill. He also had a compost bin to put in grass clippings, other garden waste, and unwanted food scraps. Things like that shouldn’t end up in a dustbin with the other rubbish.
It’s tragic when people knock down trees in their gardens so they can have a concrete path or drive. It’s the trees that help keep the air clean and reduce the greenhouse effect.
These days, it’s deemed normal for a family to have two or three cars. We’ve already seen the problem with petrol. It’s very ironic that so many of us are unfit and using our cars for short journeys. Using public transport, cycling to work, or having a lift share are viable alternatives. You save money doing this, so there are tangible benefits here for helping the environment. If your old car is working ok (like my old fridge), remember that new cars are also more energy-efficient and therefore should be cheaper to run.
Never throw litter on the ground, wherever you are. A lot of it ends up entering waterways and killing natural wildlife.
This has just been a surface look at how we all waste vital resources. Perhaps you might want to calculate how much money my tips will save you? It’s not just a case of benefiting the environment, it’s benefiting your bank account. We can no longer afford to just live for today. It is imperative we think of our future and the future of mankind.