First steps to an eco-home and green living

Does your council provide a green box or bin for doorstep collection of recyclables? Use it! Do you routinely go past a recycling point? Get organised! If you’re covering just those basics – cans, bottles, newspaper and magazines – you’re already part of a vital green network. More…

Don’t take the car to the corner shop. These shortest car journeys cause the most pollution, mile for mile: cold engines are inefficient, and you’ll spend half your time idling in the drive on your way out. More…

Get a rucksack! They’re fashionable, they let you carry a few bits of shopping without backstrain or cluttered hands, and you won’t even need a carrier bag when you’ve sauntered, car-free, to the shop down the street.

If you’ve decided to use a car for your journey, why not decide how you drive as well? You can save yourself fuel, and reduce emissions, by going for a smoother driving style, one that says: “I’m relaxed, I’m in control, and I’ve got nothing to prove!” More…

Turn off unwanted lights. It’s so simple, it saves money – and it says: “I want there to be enough for everyone, forever” More…

If you have central heating, every 1°C less on the thermostat can mean 10% lower fuel bills. More…

Set your fridge at 3-5°C – any lower is a waste of energy.

Clean the dust off the coils at the back of the fridge. Perfect housekeeping – and if the dust builds up, the fridge could use 30% more energy!

Is it really worth leaving your TV, hi-fi, computer etc. on standby? In the UK we spend £150 million worth of electricity a year doing this!

If you decide to buy toxic household chemicals (and most of them are toxic!), buy only as much as you need, and store any leftovers carefully, to avoid having to buy again in the future. More…

Don’t pour toxic chemicals down the drain! – sewage works are fragile, and so are rivers. Seal it, bag it, bin it! More…

Don’t throw used engine oil away! – it’s a real hazard to wildlife and waterways, and can provide useful energy instead. Visit the Oil Care Campaign site for information on local recycling sites.

Low energy light bulbs? – treat yourself to at least one. It’ll pay for itself, and it’ll make you feel virtuous too. More…

Gardening? Use peat substitutes, never peat itself – each block of peat you use was a piece of irreplaceable wild land, and a vital natural carbon sink. More…

New mahogany? It’s wild, and it’s desperately endangered – one to avoid, as your first vote in favour of the world’s remaining wild forests. More…

Give one of the “green” washing-up liquids a try. A cleaner environment – and with today’s products, no compromise in your kitchen! More…

Buy recycled! – it’s no good taking paper to a recycling bank if there’s no market for recycled paper products. Bigger supermarkets usually stock loo paper and kitchen towels made from recycled fibres, for a start. More…

 

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