Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

10 steps to make your life greener

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It seems that we are ever more aware of our environment, and our affect upon it. At last people are waking up to the fact that we, as individuals, can make a positive difference. If you are still struggling to find ways to go green, try following the 10 steps below.

1. Water usage

Spend less time in the shower, be more sparing with the tap when brushing your teeth, and make sure you only put the required amount in your kettle when you are making a cuppa. This not only reduces emissions but will also keep your water and energy bills down.

2. Change your car

Buy from a range of hybrids. It may seem like a slightly more expensive option but in the long run you will save a fortune on fuel and reduce your carbon footprint. Even large 4x4 cars and estate cars don’t do as much damage to the environment if they boast a hybrid engine.

3. Food

Read the labels on your food and make sure you are buying organic, as this means the food hasn’t been produced using chemicals that are bad for the environment. Also buy local where possible to keep the food miles down.

4. Cut down on your paper use

So writing a letter has a certain sense of romance to it however we need to collectively reduce our use of paper in the world. You can communicate exactly what you need to online via email or messenger, so why not ditch the paper and reduce the demand for tree logging. Similarly try to cut down on how much you print at work.

5. Unplug everything

‘Standby’ mode is prevalent in our modern lives, but it still uses power. If you add up all the TVs in the world on standby you have a lot of power being wasted. Simply unplug things when you go out, such as the phone charger and the computer. It seems like a small step but if we all did it, the world would be a cleaner place.

6. Recycle

It’s an obvious one but we still seem to be playing catch up with many other countries on the recycling front. It’s so simple to separate the recyclables from the rubbish and most councils will provide free bags for the purpose now; so there really is no excuse not to do it.

7. Paint and other chemicals

If you are doing some painting, always buy the paint with low ‘VOCs’. This is a toxic chemical that you can well do without. Aerosols with CFC gases are also a big no-no.

8. Grow your own

Why not create your own vegetable garden? Even colder countries are able to harvest a wide range of fruit and vegetables and it’s a really gratifying passtime. This way you can grow organic vegetables without increasing your carbon footprint at all.

9. Re-use everything

There is an unwanted mountain of plastic bags building up in this world and the bad news is that they aren’t biodegradable. Supermarkets seem to be getting more conscious about this problem but we can do more to help by re-using the abundance of bags that we all have under the sink. Carry a few in your handbag, satchel or rucksack wherever you go.

10. Holidays

Try to be greener when considering your next holiday choice. Planes use a huge amount of fuel and emit lots of carbon dioxide. So why not think of looking at hiring the best family car available and taking a road trip instead of a long-haul flight?

All of these simple steps will make you feel better about yourself and help to create a cleaner future for ourselves and others.



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