If you have read some of my previous posts, you will know I am a bit of an eco warrior (a very mild-mannered one). I am passionate that we should all save the planet, and it is actually a lot easier than you might imagine. If we all do our own little bit, no matter how tiny, it will all go towards helping save the planet. Most of you won’t notice minor changes, and they won’t impinge on your quality of life, but they will help future generations. Our world is a stunning masterpiece of creation and it is only us humans that are spoiling it. Please read on for 20 Practical Ways You Can Help Save the Planet:
1. Turn down the Heat
Energy generation is one of the major things sapping our planet’s resources, and in so many ways. Not only do we use up natural resources but in the creation of energy we are producing outputs noxious to our environment. One of the easiest ways to help the environment is to manage your heating. By this I mean anything in your home that has a thermostat – your heating and your hot water boiler. How many of you have your hot water coming out of the taps at a temperature you can’t even put your finger in for a few seconds? When do you ever need water that hot? The ideal temperature for hot water heaters is 140 degrees F. If yours is any higher, turn it down – now! Job well done. When you turn on the heating in the winter, drop it by a couple of degrees and also, check your fridge temperature – is it too cold? Not only are you helping save the planet, but you’ll save on your energy bills.
Do you have a garbage disposal unit in your kitchen? And do you have a garden? If yes, you can easily starting composting – bins are available at homeware stores. There are plenty of instructional videos on You Tube. According to the US Environmental Defense Fund, 18% of the waste for an average family is yard and garden waste. Recycle that together with your kitchen waste and you’ll be making a valuable environmental contribution. Compost also has the added benefit of less fertilizers and pesticides. And, did you know that a lot of US cities run municipal composting programs. Why not check out your local scheme.?fs=1&feature=oembed According to the US Environmental Defense Fund, 18% of the waste for an average family is yard and garden waste. Recycle that together with your kitchen waste and you’ll be making a valuable environmental contribution. Compost also has the added benefit of less fertilizers and pesticides. And, did you know that a lot of US cities run municipal composting programs. Why not check out your local scheme.
3. Fix Leaks
You may think that leaks don’t matter because after all the water just goes back into the ground and gets processed again – exactly –processing is the salient point. Water treatment plants are power hungry. And, more importantly to some – you are paying for lost water as is still classed as water you have used. So, if you have a dripping tap or a leaky pipe – fix it!
This is a favorite everyone trots out when talking out ways to help save the planet. That’s ‘cos it is a biggie. But it isn’t always practical. Hybrid cars are fab but expensive. Biofuels are amazing but not always practical nor easy access for the average consumer. Public transportation – well it’s just so hit and miss in some areas. But, you can make some small changes to do your bit. Can you organize or join a car pool either for taking the kids to school to get to work? Are there short journeys you could walk instead of driving? Invest in bicycles and use them instead of driving everywhere – great because you keep fit too- and at no extra cost.
5. Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are a death knoll for the environment. Many countries are now banning them but it hasn’t yet become the norm. If you still use plastic bags you can help save the planet by stopping, immediately. Invest in a few good natural fiber shopping bags instead and take them with you on shopping trips. If you need to make a large grocery shop, collect large boxes to fit in the boot of the car (if you have to drive) and transfer your buys from the trolley to the boot.
6. Drip Irrigation
Is your garden a source of pride and joy with a beautiful green lawn and colorful plants? If you water via a sprinkler system you should consider a change. Sprinkler systems are much less efficient than drip irrigation systems. They are more direct and less wasteful. Here’s a video on how to install one. videojug.com
7. Household Cleaning
Most of us are not cleaning freaks but we care about cleanliness and hygiene in our homes. Most of us also use a ton of chemicals to clean just about everything. Sometimes you don’t need harmful chemicals - a bit of warm water, a scouring pad and some elbow grease does a better job and does not harm the environment. Baking soda makes an excellent cleaner and it’s natural.
8. Leaking Energy
I already mentioned turning down the heat, but if you are leaking heat it will be much harder to keep your home at an even, comfortable temperature – plus it adds to your fuel bills. Check for places where leaks could happen and fix them. Check that your home is fully insulated. I live in the UK, and the government is in trouble with Brussels for not meeting our carbon emissions reduction target set by the EU to help save the environment. In October, I am getting 4 more inches of loft insulation supplied and fitted for free. Even though I own my own home, the UK Government is making sure every single home has the recommended amount of loft insulation. Check your state news regularly for energy initiatives that are to your advantage.
9. Low Flow Shower
At one stage this meant a shower that was a frustrating trickle – no good for anyone. Technology has moved on apace and now a low flow shower is just as good as a standard shower head. You save money and energy, and if you have faucet aerators fitted as well, you save even more. Learn more here showerheadstore.com - if these figures are true and we all did this we wouldn’t have to worry about saving the planet!
10. Natural Drying
Are you a perpetual tumble drier user? What’s wrong with natural sunlight? Drying clothes naturally is actually better for them than using generated heat in an enclosed space. Even in Britain, the sun comes out sometimes, so it sure does in the USA. If there are days when you can’t use natural solar energy for drying, then maybe save your washing for another time. It takes a few extra minutes to hang out washing but those few minutes are a contribution to save the planet.
11. Smart Cooking
Where you can, use smaller appliances to cook food instead of your huge oven. If you have to use the big one try and maximize its use. Bake a cake or some cookies on one shelf whilst a casserole or roast cooks merrily away on another. When boiling things only use the amount of water you need and don’t fill the saucepan.
12. Teeth Cleaning
Ok – hands up all of you who leave the tap running whilst you brush your teeth! Can you imagine how much water is pouring needlessly down the plugholes in homes all over the world every morning? Help save the planet by only turning on the tap when you need to rinse.
13. Paper Napkins
Another question! When in a fast food joint, how many of you grab a fistful of paper napkins as a natural reflex? Then you end up throwing more than two-thirds or half away. Why? If you don’t take them in the first place there will less trees to be cut down and less energy expended on paper recycling.
14. Eat Less Meat
Going vegetarian just once a week is a really easy way to help save the environment. Meat production is extremely resource hungry, so if you ignore meat just one day a week you can help save energy. Buy local fresh produce to make a tasty vegetable meal and you also cut down on the food miles – double whammy of helping save the planet.
15. Paper Bills
If you are still receiving paper bills and statements through the post, have you asked yourself why? There are so few bills these days that you can’t pay online and as most companies store all your transactions and statements online, you not only cut down on paper but having to store them too.
All standby does is use energy. There is no real convenience factor to leaving computers, TVs, games consoles, digiboxes or anything else on standby. Devices these days are fitted with memory chips so that settings remain even when turned off so take a few seconds to turn things off and put them back on again only when you want to use them. You can go even one step further if you wish. Many electrical devices continue to use power when plugged in even when turned off. You could connect all your electronic devices to a power strip (preferably with surge compression), then you could unplug it, thereby removing power from several devices in one easy move.
17. Light Bulbs
In the UK, we can no longer buy high wattage bulbs. Not sure what the rules are in other countries, but should everyone make a conscious decision to switch to compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs, it would make a huge contribution towards helping to save the planet. You would also be saving money; these types of bulbs are not only more energy efficient but they last up to 7 years.
18. Buy Bamboo
Bamboo is a highly versatile material and is fully sustainable. It is also extremely hard wearing and long lasting. The next time you are shopping for homewares take a look at what is available in bamboo. They are even using bamboo fibers in toilet tissue. Check out kitchen utensils, bathroom and vanity items and even bamboo flooring and rugs.
19. Answering Machines
It’s funny how many homes still have a telephone answering machine when seriously, these are totally outclassed by voice mail and voice messaging services. Unless you have a valid reason for needing one, you might as well get shot of it. Give thought to its disposal though – landfill is no way to help the environment. Check out local electrical recycling schemes.
20. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Recycling isn’t just about paper , plastic and glass. Check out your local city hall website and find out what recycling schemes they run – you might be surprised at just what you needn’t throw away. This website gives a good overview of most things covered by general recycling schemes. recyclenow.com
These are just 20 practical ways to help save the planet. It costs nothing to have a conscious, and more often than not, taking any of these actions involves very little outlay but a big saving moneywise. Do you think it is important we all do our bit to help the environment or are you indifferent? An interesting question I think.
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