People are becoming more aware of environmental issues. Organic produce is on sale in ever increasing segments and issues like global warming are on everyone’s lips. Environmental protection is no longer the sole domain of hippies and we should all be doing something towards conserving our only home. The trouble is it’s so darn expensive to convert to eco-friendly alternatives. So, I have put together a few environmentally-friendly ideas that don’t break the bank.
Ideas that are free:
This is so easy to do. I have two bins in my kitchen; one for regular junk and one for recyclables. Put all paper, plastic, Styrofoam, glass and tins into the recycle bin.
The only work involved is to rinse the food out of the containers or packaging so that there’s no smell. Also, fold the items as small as possible so that they don’t take up too much space.
Some municipal areas collect recyclable material separately, but for those municipalities that don’t use a pickup service. They are really affordable. Try www.nostandingrecycling.withtank.com.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, find a spot where you can deposit all of your veggie peels and food scraps into a homemade compost heap. If you like you can purchase composters, which make the process easier.
The combined effect of recycling and composting will shrink your monthly contribution to landfills by 70 to 80 percent. I now only throw my single rubbish bag out once a month and, of course, it doesn’t smell (all smelly stuff goes to the composter!).
Where possible reuse items until they fall apart.
Save paper by using the blank side of printed matter for notes. Reuse your shopping bags until they break and then put them in the recycle bin. Better yet, buy material shopping bags and don’t use plastic ones. You can save 36 cents per bag not used (or reused), but the real saving is less plastic in landfills and less oil resources used to make plastic bags.
Always ask "Do I really need this?" before buying clothes, appliances, toys, magazines and so on as we get used to buying all these "things" in excess. How many of us have an "appliance graveyard" in our kitchen cupboards or have clothes that we never wear filling up our closets?
Use a good old-fashioned lunch box instead of plastic bags for sandwiches.
Cycle or run to work
With high petrol costs and environmental damage from car emissions, bikes are becoming a more attractive form of urban transportation. Cleaner air, reduced traffic congestion and lower noise levels are just a few of the benefits. Add to that the savings on a gym contract you no longer need and the healthcare savings because you are now fitter and less prone to common illnesses!
Ideas that save you money anyway:
Only shower once a week – no I’m kidding! But showering instead of bathing saves water, especially if you use a water-saving shower head and keep the shower as short as possible.
Use indigenous plants in your garden, they need less watering.
Be brave enough to let your lawns die off in the dry season, or use your recycled bath water to keep them green.
The biggest electricity consumer in the house is the geyser. If possible, switch it off when it’s not in use. Insulating geyser blankets combined with a lower heat setting (60ºC) greatly reduces consumption.
The second biggest user of electricity is the fridge. Take care not to leave the door open for too long and defrost the freezer section regularly.
Hang your washing out to dry instead of using a tumble dryer.
Only iron your clothes if they really have to be ironed.
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