Being environmentally conscious does not have to cost an arm and leg, we can simply just change how we currently do certain things around our home and at work. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Face your toilet paper away from you - under not over (yes finally the debate is over!)
Do you face the toilet roll under or over? This has been a raging debate since the invention of the soft loo-paper. Toilet roll marketers insist that the correct way is facing toward you (over) so it does tear off before you manage to get enough for your business.
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They are correct, facing it toward you would allow you to easily take as much as you need, usually way more than you need and that’s what the marketers want. By facing the roll toward you (over), you will most likely use more paper than is required, thus having to purchase more. It's brilliant marketing but not great for the environment. Want to use less toilet paper and help save the planet? Place the roll so that the loo paper runs under...
2. Get a bucket
The simple bucket is a wonderful thing. Place one under the shower while you wait for the water to heat up or use a small bucket in your sink to catch water when rinsing off your dishes. You can use this water in your garden to water your plants, most dish soaps are environmentally friendly and will not harm your roses. (But do check out our gardening section where we tell you where you can use greywater)
3. Switch off your lights
If you are not in the room, please switch off the lights. Switch to new energy-efficient light bulbs which are brighter and last longer than traditional bulbs. This will save you money by lowering your power bill and reducing the number of light bulbs that you need to buy.
4. Tastes like chicken
If going vegetarian or vegan is too big of a jump, you can still reduce your environmental impact by consuming only chicken or turkey for your protein needs. Chicken and turkey are the most eco-friendly of all land-based meat options. They need the least amount of food, water and space to produce the same amount of protein per kilogram, like sheep or cows. Chickens are the most efficient animal at producing protein mass from grain and, most importantly, they have the smallest carbon footprint of all land-based protein. According to Eco&Beyond, chicken farming produces 2.33 kg of C02 per kg of meat before transport and processing while lamb produces an average of 20.44 kg of C02 emissions per kg. Best of all, you can raise chickens in your backyard! And even better - eat your veg instead!
5. Collect rainwater
Residential water tanks are generally quite affordable. Buying a good-sized tank and connecting it to your home gutter system is uncomplicated and can save you thousands of litres of water every year. Getting a pump connected to the tank would allow you to connect the water to your toilet system or garden irrigation system. If this is still a bit much, get a few buckets and leave them under your gutter outlets when it rains. Baby steps.
6. Print on both sides
Printing documents is becoming a thing of the past. Besides being a waste of paper, ink and power, hard copies of important documents can be a security risk for businesses and individuals. If you absolutely need to print something, try your best to print on both sides of the page.
7. Create your own sticky notes
Cut old, blank printouts into squares to use for jotting down notes or numbers. If you need to stick them up somewhere, little bits of Prestik are perfect and can be reused multiple times before losing their stickiness. Sticky notes are nearly impossible to recycle as the glue on them would jam recycling machines and contaminate paper pulp.
8. Switch off your PC
Switch off computer monitors, printers and other equipment at the end of each day. Even on standby mode, they are still using power. Always turn off your office light and computer monitor when you go out for lunch or to a meeting.
9. Carry a coffee mug
Disposable plastic and paper cups have a much higher environmental cost than one might think. About 16 billion paper and plastic cups are used for coffee annually. This leads to 6.5 million trees being cut down and 4 billion gallons of water going to waste. The manufacturing process uses enough energy to power 54,000 homes for a year. Just keep a coffee mug at work.
10. Be fuel efficient
Transportation is one of the biggest contributors to climate change globally. You can help reduce your impact by making your commute to work and back as efficient as possible. You can start by making sure your vehicle is in good shape and has had regular servicing. Keeping your wheels in proper alignment and tyres filled to the proper pressure will help reduce fuel consumption and prevent any future mechanical issues. Other things you could do to have a greener commute is removing any unnecessary weight from your vehicles such as golf clubs, clothes or random boxes and drive at a slower speed. Carpooling with colleagues is also a great way to save fuel and the planet.
Please do your part - the protection of our natural environment is critical if we are to reduce habitat destruction, damage to our sensitive ecosystems and most importantly, climate change and global warming.
As human beings, we share this planet with millions of species of plants, animals and insects who have every right to a clean, safe and healthy environment just as we do. We have a moral and ethical obligation to take care of and protect as much of the natural world as possible.