I hate to be all doom and gloom, but we're never far from news reports about air pollution and the fact we're running out of fossil fuels fast, but there are some simple ways we can help save our planet. We're a lot more environmentally conscious than we were thirty or forty years ago and I try my best to do what I can, but I know I could be doing a lot more. Here are some ways we can help save our planet.
I'm sure most of you recycle right? This is one of the easiest ways we can help save our planet. You're right, it's so much easier to just dump our waste into a bin and let someone else deal with it, but it's relatively easy to separate the various components.There are so many things you can recycle. For example, your unwanted wire hangers are often accepted by dry cleaners and there are companies who will gladly take your old cell phone from you, sometimes giving you a cash reward. If glass isn't recycled it can take a million years to decompose which is why it's worth taking the time to dump it in the special glass depositories from where they can be recycled.
2. A Real Turn off
There are so many different types of lights and bulbs which vary in terms of their energy efficiency. Incandescent lights should be turned off whenever they aren't needed as these lights emit a lot of heat. By turning them off you will actually make the room considerably cooler. Governments around the world are slowly phasing out the standard incandescent light bulbs in favour of more energy efficient ones. You often see signs in schools and other institutions telling you to turn off the lights when you leave the room and it's a simple way to help save energy. Most new buildings and some new homes are built with motion sensors which enable the lights to turn off automatically, but most of us don't have that luxury and can really cut the cost of energy bills by turning off lights when we're not in the room. It's not just the lights that should be switched off in our energy conservation efforts. Computers, photocopiers and printers and home appliances should also be switched off to save energy.
3. Plastic Not Fantastic
How many of you re-use your plastic bags? This is a simple thing to do which will make a big difference. 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year and they're not biodegradable so it can take up to 1000 years for them to break down in the environment. In a bid to help save the environment, some retailers in the UK are reluctant to give out plastic bags at the check-out and people are being encouraged to either re-use their plastic bags or buy a robust reusable carrier which will last them a fair few trips to the supermarket. It's easy to forget them at home though so keep a load in your car or your purse when you're out shopping.
4. Walk (or Cycle, or Car-Share) This Way
When you next go out, ask yourself, do I really need to drive? Can I cycle or walk? Or maybe I know someone else who's going that way who can give me a ride (hitch hiking is not advisable guys!) What I'm saying is that reducing the amount of journeys you make in the car will help in so many ways. You will get more exercise and improve your mood by being in the great outdoors. You will also save on fuel and with the rising costs of fuel it just makes sense. Who wants to be stuck in traffic anyway!
5. Water Water Everywhere
H2O. It's amazing! Where would we be without it? It's something most of us take for granted every day, but it's so special and we need to conserve it as much as possible. There are so many things you can do. Now I love to soak in a long hot bath after a tiring day, but it is a luxury rather than an everyday occurrence. Showering saves water and energy costs, but the length of your shower is also important. There's no use swapping your bath for a shower if you're going to stand in it for 20 minutes. Try taking a shorter shower. Every two minutes you cut on your shower can save more than 10 gallons of water and when some people in the world have to walk miles for clean water, it seems silly to be so wasteful. Turning off the tap when you're brushing your teeth will also save water. For more tips see wateruseitwisely.com
6. Get Thrifty, People
I love thrift shops and you can find so many items which you can reuse in your home. It's a case of being creative and seeing the potential in items that people have discarded. One person's junk is another person's treasure so take advantage of thrift shops and the amazing things they have on offer. You never know what you'll find on your next visit.
7. Read All about It
Junk mail can be irritating, but I try and reuse it when I can. If you're receiving junk mail through your letterbox you're not alone. The average American receives 40 pounds of junk mail every year, which means 100 million trees are being needlessly destroyed. There are services however which can help reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. As well as recycling magazines (see fabulous article diy.allwomenstalk.com by Alison Bryant about how you can do this), you can do the same with newspapers, and you can also request online bills and statements from companies rather than paper ones. In the US alone, 18.5 million trees could be saved if everyone paid their bills on line and received electronic statements instead.
I'm not saying I'm little miss perfect when it come to energy conservation and I'm as guilty as the next person for hopping in my car just because it's easier, but I'm trying to be more environmentally conscious. These are just a few things we can do which could make a huge difference. What do you do to help save energy and the environment around you?