Go Green Week takes place this week meaning we’ll all be encouraged to do our bit for the health of the planet. For some us this might sound like a pain in the ass; but in reality there are a load of relatively small ‘green life hacks’ we could all adopt which would soon add up to a much bigger impact.
Why not use this week as an excuse to give the following a try…
Embrace Meat-Free Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday…)
Cutting down on the amount of meat you eat will save you money and reduce the risk of potentially life threatening illnesses like heart disease, but it also offers major environmental advantages. With 1/3 of the planet’s land now being used to raise animals or grow food for them, cutting out meat would help alleviate the pressure of needing yet more and more land. You can check out loads of Meat Free Monday recipes for inspiration here.
Turn off the computer completely at night
It may seem like a faff to turn your PC or laptop on and off every day, but this simple act can save both energy and money (estimated at over £50 a year). Throughout the day, try turning the monitor off when not in use and make sure your printer and scanner are also turned off too.
Cut down on plastic bag usage
One for my non-welsh readers, as plastic bag usage has fallen by over 90% since the 5p levy was introduced in Wales. Elsewhere, more than 500 billion plastic bags are expected to be used in 2015. Once thrown away, they tend to end up burned, which emits toxic gases, or dumped as landfill, where they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Tragically, they are also commonly mistaken for food by animals, with around a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals killed as a result each year. Just get yourself a trendy canvas shopper instead!
Wash clothes at low temperatures
Simply washing your clothes at 30C rather than 40C can use 40% less energy. It’s a no-brainer.
Wrap gifts in fabric
Britain throws out around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper over Christmas alone, along with over a billion greetings cards and packaging. Yes, these can all be recycled, but you could help cut down on waste completely by purchasing some pretty fabric and ribbon to cover your presents, or try using a pretty scarf which would form part of the gift too. Lush do a great range.
Cutting driving speed down from 70mph to 50mph can cut fuel usage by around 25%. This can mean big savings for your wallet as well as the environment, and of course, less chance of fatality in the of-chance there’s an accident.
Boil only the water you need
It’s tempting to fill the kettle up all the way when making a cuppa, but by using the notches on the side as a guide, you can save on the energy it takes to boil the whole lot. Another top tip: if you do boil too much water, pop the remains in a thermos flask and you can use it for tea or coffee over the next couple of hours.
Turn off the taps
Turn off any taps when you’re not using them and be careful to not leave them running while you’re washing your face or cleaning your teeth. One great way to save while brushing is to fill a glass with a little water and use this to clean your toothbrush and to rinse. You’ll be conserving water and saving money too.
Use rechargeable batteries
Around 15 billion batteries are expected to be produced in 2015, many of which are thrown away after use. By investing slightly more money in a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries (and a charger) you can be sure of a sustainable and more eco-friendly power source.
Do you still need to receive paper bills or can you complete your accounts using online statements from your bank and utility companies? The same goes for travel – there are plenty of apps you can use to track all of your confirmations and travel plans without having to print off your tickets.