04 February 2015

Posted by Discount Insurance on Wednesday, February 04, 2015
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We all know that we should be making a real effort to be more environmentally friendly but sometimes it can just all seem a bit too difficult and time-consuming. 

There’s no need to despair though, if one of your resolutions for 2015 was to be more green then here are our lucky seven tips to get you started that won’t take too much time or effort!

1.       Think about your food

  • What you eat is responsible for a surprising amount of emissions but there are some easy steps you can take to reduce your personal impact on the environment
  •   Buy local & seasonal produce whenever possible – a great opportunity to visit the local farmers market or why not try growing your own fruit and veg?
  • Try going vegetarian for one day every week – it’s not as difficult as it sounds and producing one calorie of meat takes a lot more land and energy than one calorie of veg so you’ll be saving energy as well as trying out lots of delicious new recipes
  • Plan your shopping – Surplus food is often thrown away, think about whether you really need everything you buy and remember to write a list before hitting the shops
  • Always take your own reusable bags to the supermarket and avoid products which are over-packaged

2.       Don’t be a gas guzzler

If you have gas in your home, it’s likely to be the most significant part of your carbon footprint.  In simple terms, you need to use less of it which means doing all or some of the following things:
  • Reduce the temperature setting on your thermostat - you probably won’t notice the difference but the environment and your wallet will thank you
  •  Look into condensing boilers, cavity wall and loft insulation all of which could save energy and money
  •  Invest in heavy lined curtains and draught excluders to keep your home toasty

3.       Save water

  • The water we all take for granted has been expensively treated and pushed all the way to your taps so make sure you aren’t wasting a drop.
  • Check for dripping taps and fix them straight away
  • Turn off taps when you don’t need them – for example when brushing your teeth
  • Have a shower instead of a bath whenever you can as a full bath uses up to 75 litres of water whereas a five minute shower uses a relatively frugal 35 litres
  • Think of ways to reuse “grey water” from cooking or fish tanks etc – this water can often be put to good use in the garden or used to water household plants
  • Washing machines can use up to 95 litres of water per cycle – washing a full load uses less energy, water and costs less overall than washing half loads – the same is true for  dishwashers
4.       Get an energy monitor

Installing a home energy monitor in your home can have an instant and dramatic effect on how much electricity you use.  Wireless models are now available for around £30 and you will soon find yourself obsessively unplugging chargers, switching appliances off standby and turning off lights!

5.       Rethink your car use

There’s no doubt that the car has revolutionised our lives and for many it is a non-negotiable necessity.  However we can’t avoid the fact that cars carry a significant environmental impact through consumption of fossil fuels and harmful emissions. Here are some green transport tips:
  • Don’t just automatically jump in the car; public transport, walking or cycling are often better options for shorter journeys
  • Turn off your car engine if you are stuck in traffic or stationary for more than two minutes
  • Watch that speedo – harmful exhaust emissions rise dramatically once you get over 55mph
  • Consider signing up for an eco-driving course which will teach you how to reduce the amount of fuel you use when driving
  • If you live in a large city, consider whether a car share scheme would be viable for you

6.       Be fashionably retro

Apply the “buy less stuff” rule to your wardrobe.  On average we buy 20kg of new clothes every year and each garment made from natural fibres has a typical greenhouse gas footprint of more than 20 times its weight. Luckily vintage and retro clothing has never been more fashionable so you can stay green and keep your street-cred at the same time (but remember to get the bus to the shops!).  

Or if you have friends and family who are roughly the same shape and size as you, why not organise a clothes swapping party?

7.       Watch your waste

It’s an old slogan but “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” should be a regular mantra before anything goes in the bin. Here are some other tips to reduce your waste levels:

  • Make sure you know exactly what materials your local council recycles and take full advantage of the collection services
  • Donate unwanted items to charity, sell them on ebay or put them on freecycle rather than throwing them away
  • Avoid buying disposable items whenever possible
  • Try not to make a special trip for recycling – combine it with other trips

And once you’ve sorted out your green credentials, why not call Discount Insurance on 0800 294 4522 to see if you can make a saving on your home insurance?