Start small with 8 green resolutions for this New Year
As we enter a New Year many readers may feel daunted by the huge environment problems the world is facing,
But green expert Ron Fox says although it is up to the governments worldwide to make the big decisions, there are many small changes that people can make to help cut our carbon footprint.
Here he gives his eight green suggestions.
- Take reusable bags when shopping. Plastic bags may be convenient, but they are difficult to recycle and are often thrown away. They are known to kill more than a million birds and hundreds of thousands of marine mammals every year. The bags also require 12 million barrels of oil to produce annually so we are spending nearly £500,000,000 on oil, just to throw it away.
- Take your own reusable water bottle to work, or to the gym or out walking. According to the Environment Protection Agency Americans buy enough plastic water bottles each week to circle the earth five times. The oil used to produce plastic water bottles is enough to fuel a million cars. Reusable bottles save you money in the long run and help the environment.
- Eliminate “phantom” energy (also known as “vampire” energy) which is the power used by electronic devices even though they are “off.” Any device with a “standby” setting is a potential energy vampire, so don’t leave computers and TVs on standby overnight. According to the Department of Energy this can add up to nearly 10% of a household’s monthly electric bill.
- Don’t leave lights on in empty rooms and do shut curtains in the evening to keep the energy in the room. Also fit thermostatic controls to heating appliances and use LED lights.
- Hang your laundry to dry. Research has found Americans spend about $9 billion a year on electricity to dry their clothes. Tumble dryers use 15 per cent of domestic energy and emit 54.72 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually in the USA alone. Drying them outside for part of the year or using an indoor rack can save consumers money and cut energy costs.
- Use reusable batteries instead of traditional batteries. Around 3 billion batteries are thrown away each year. Rechargeable batteries can save money in the long term and reduce pollution in the environment.
- Walk, cycle or use public transport more. Instead of driving for 20 minutes to exercise on an electrically-powered machine in an air-conditioned building why not run, walk or cycle in a nearby park and save time and your gym membership fee.
- Reduce the diesel and traffic fumes and pollution coming into your house by filling any cracks with spray foam insulation and installing air filters if necessary.
“If you want any advice on reducing your energy bills contact me on 0845 474 6641. Finally have a green and happy New Year,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.