Posts Tagged ‘Eco easy’
Did you know that in the UK, we throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food from our homes every year and that the average family with children wastes up to £680 worth of food a year, that’s £50 a month!
In fact, every year, the average dustbin contains enough unrealised energy for 500 baths, 3500 showers or 5,000 hours of television.
Now when times are lean, it’s vital we get the most value out of our food and our money, so where better to start looking at how we can save money in the home, than to start with our bins. Yes, you heard me, our bins.
That’s exactly what I’ve just been doing for the Walker family in Watford. Energyrethinking.org, the consumer facing site of the Energy Saving Trust / Shell / Michelin, invited me over to share my easy green tips to help regular families like the Walker’s save energy and money in their home.
From freezing bogofs to date labelling – there are so many easy ways in which we can get the most from our food and our money.
So come and join me, in the bin!
As consumers gear up for the launch of the next generation of iPhone next month, the recycling website www.sellmyoldmobilephone.co.uk is highlighting the top reasons why hanging on to old phones is bad for the world.
Graham Miller, director of www.sellmyoldmobilephone.co.uk said: “The excitement is rife around the new iPhone, which is expected on the market later this year. Many thousands of people will rush to upgrade to the new version from older iPhones, or even switch from other smart phones or mobiles.
“But that will undoubtedly leave countless phones languishing in drawers, unused and forgotten, when the alternative is to recycle the handsets and make a real difference to the environment and to other people.”
www.sellmyoldmobilephone.co.uk allows visitors to search for the best deal from more than 25 companies. It also allows users to review the buyer, helping to build an independent rating for future sellers’ information.
Graham continued: “Statistics show that there are more than four billion mobile phones in the world today, with upgrades taking place every 12 to 24 months. Therefore, the number of phones left lying around is expected to grow exponentially, unless the world changes its mindset and starts recycling.”
Graham’s top reasons to recycle:
- “Recycling phones reduces the amount of rubbish which goes into landfills. This is particularly important because mobile phones contain poisonous elements, such as lead, cadmium and beryllium, which are harmful to wildlife and human health.”
- “Some recycling companies send their phones to developing countries, providing a vital link for people who have never used such technology before.”
- “Making a mobile phone uses the equivalent energy of almost 40 gallons of petrol, so recycling helps to conserve dwindling energy resources.”
- “More than 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year are used in the manufacture of mobile phones and recycling can help to reduce this massive carbon footprint.”
- “The impact on the environment of mining for precious metals can be reduced. Mobile phones contain small quantities of gold, platinum and palladium, but with around 80 million phones estimated to be discarded, a big difference can be made.”
Graham added: “Let’s not forget that there is another very good reason to recycle an old phone: you can make money doing it and increase what you get by up to 30% by using a comparison site. Smart phones generally bring more money than more traditional handsets, but there is a market out there for most makes and models – even if they are broken.”
Here is an article that has come through to me today that I found interesting for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, a survey undertaken by Pilkington Glass highlights how saving money rather than saving the planet, is the main priority for UK households when it comes to making green choices.
If you are a regular reader of my articles here and in my other media columns, you will know that this is what I have truly believed from the outset. Many people are concerned about the environment, but when it comes to actually making changes in these cash-strapped times, the only green changes that will be adopted are ones that are simple, save time AND save money. That’s why as the Queen of Easy Green™, I have made it my mission to share with regular, busy households simple tips and advice which saves time, money and are easy green into the bargain – fear not, my work will continue
Secondly, the article makes the observation that it is men who are more likely to make green changes to save money, whereas women are more likely to want to protect the environment for future generations. Now I’m not sure I believe this to be entirely accurate, particularly as it is a fact that women make 85% of ALL purchasing decisions in the home, from food, technology, leisure time and home improvements. It seems unlikely to me that this would not be the case when it comes to making green choices.
I think the statement ‘with men more likely than women – 29 per cent – to say they had done all they could to make their home green’ maybe this is more indicative of perception, rather than fact, i.e. they [men] believe they have done everything they can to make their home green, when the reality is more could be done. That’s just my thought.
Anyway, it’s an interesting read and shows more ways in which we can all save energy and money in our home – with fuel bills rising, we need to know as much as we can.
Saving money is now our main motivation for carrying out ‘green’ home improvements – ahead of concerns for the environment.
One in four of us say we’re thinking about carrying out energy-efficient measures, but our reasons are as much to do with keeping costs down as saving the planet. According to research by Pilkington Building Products, more than a third (36 per cent) of householders say soaring bills are making them plump for innovative measures.
But only 26 per cent cite saving the environment for future generations as their main reason for home ‘greening’. Helping the Government meet its targets to reduce the country’s carbon footprint was judged to be even less important – with just two per cent of those quizzed saying making a contribution would encourage them to adopt an eco-friendly measure.
The survey, conducted as part of the MOT Your Home™ campaign by Pilkington Building Products, also revealed nearly half of us have made energy-efficient upgrades in the last year, with 20 per cent planning more green projects in future. On the flipside, almost one in five – 18 per cent – say they have never made an energy-efficient upgrade and don’t plan to any time soon.
Homeowners in Sheffield, Edinburgh and Cardiff are the most proactive, while surprisingly, those living in Brighton – home to Britain’s first Green Party MP – are least receptive, with a quarter admitting they didn’t consider eco-efficiency a priority at all.
Interestingly, more than half of homeowners say they would be happy to pay more for an energy-efficient property in future, with one in five (18 per cent) saying they’d only consider paying up to £1,000 extra and one in ten (10 per cent) claiming they would shell out £5,000.
Young people, those between 25 and 34, are the age group most likely to pay over the odds with Liverpudlians the regional homeowners most at ease with considering a green property (61 per cent).
The research also found that gender plays a part in our green thinking too, with men more likely than women – 29 per cent – to say they had done all they could to make their home green. Females are more likely to want to make changes, but at a time that suited them (19 per cent). Men claim money saving is the key incentive for being green, whereas women are more inclined to want to save the environment for future generations.
Older people – those aged 55+ – are more likely to have already made green upgrades so felt unwilling to carry our more, while more than a third of 16-24 year olds admit they aren’t interested in trying to save energy.
As architect and TV presenter, George Clarke, explains, making small changes can make all the difference when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your home – and maintaining those green measures already installed is just as important.
As he says: “It’s encouraging to see that many of us have taken steps to make our homes greener and that people are actively thinking about how to make their homes more environmentally friendly – which will help save money in the long run. But, when it comes to making upgrades, it can be hard to know where to start.
“Some projects might involve an initial outlay but then reap the benefits in the long run, such as upgrading from single glazing to energy-efficient double glazing like Pilkington energiKare™. And others – like simply switching to energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the house – can be straightforward to implement and be activated quickly and cheaply.
“It’s important to research carefully to ensure you choose the most effective measures for your home. For example, installing solar panels is a great way to help generate energy for your home, and any energy you don’t use can now be sold back to the national grid as part of the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme.
“However, solar panels are not suitable for all homes as it depends on the roof profile and which way it faces – roofs that face south or south east are perfect to capture the most solar energy. You will also need to check if your home is in a conservation area, as installing solar panels could be restricted.
“I’d also recommend an annual check-up of green measures already installed, to ensure they are still efficient and working properly, think of it as an MOT for your home.”
For more information on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home, visit www.pilkington.co.uk/energikare or call 01744 692000.
On gorgeous days like today thoughts of keeping warm at winter may feel like a long way off, but with the announcement of energy prices sharply rising, now is exactly the time to start making plans.
Thinkinsulation.com is urging home owners to urgently review the energy saving measures in their homes following news that British Gas have raised their energy prices for customers, coupled with Npower’s announcement, that gas bills will increase by an average of by 15.7% and electricity prices by 7.2%, with effect from 1st October 2011. The news that the fifth of the major suppliers has increased its fuel prices for a second time this year has highlighted that homeowners must act now to prevent sky high energy bills.
This price increase from one of the UK’s leading energy firms will see the average direct debit dual-fuel customer’s annual bill rise by 12.2%, up by an additional £134 per year. With just EDF left to announce changes to their tariffs, homeowners need to take all precautions necessary to ensure that energy bills are kept to a minimum this winter.
Lydia Sharples from thinkinsulation.com comments: “Price hikes are a stark reality and it’s no wonder that homeowners are concerned after the rises earlier this year. Although we have no control over the strength of the gas market or the price of fuel in the UK, there are changes that all homeowners can make to counter increased energy prices.”
She continues: “Ensuring your property is comprehensively insulated is one way to reduce heat loss – a simple job such as insulating a loft to the correct standards will dramatically reduce energy consumption and can save you around £145 per year on energy bills. Furthermore insulating your walls can save you as much as £385 on your annual fuel bills.”
To maximise return on your green investment Thinkinsulation.com recommends taking the following simple measures. And don’t forget to visithttp://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm to see if you’re eligible for financial help.
1. Insulate your loft - About 25% of heat in an un-insulated house escapes through the roof. Loft insulation is cheap to buy and easy to install and the job can be completed yourself in a day. As already mentioned, it has financial benefits too because insulating your loft can save you around £145* a year on your energy bills.
Tip: Opt for loft insulation with strong eco credentials and great thermal performance. Space Insulation is a range of energy saving loft insulation products. The glass mineral wool insulation products in the range are made from recycled glass bottles and are odourless, free from dyes and bleaches and easy to handle.
2. Insulate your walls
Cavity wall insulation - If your house was built after the 1920s it is likely to have cavity walls. If these aren’t insulated, you can arrange for a professional to complete the work in a day. Cavity wall insulation pays for itself in around two years, and it will typically save around 15 per cent – or £110∞ a year – on your home’s fuel bills.
Tip: A specialist should always be sought to complete this type of work – ensure that you choose an installer that is Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) qualified. Don’t forget to ask for home assessment to assess suitability of your property before any work begins.
Solid wall insulation - Older houses built before 1920 often have solid walls and are more expensive to insulate, but also cost more to heat. Around 7 million solid wall properties in the UK are un-insulated but with potential fuel bill savings starting at around £365 a year, solid wall insulation is definitely worth considering.
Tip: If your external walls need work anyway, then it could be an ideal time to have external wall insulation fitted. Alternatively, if your home is soon to be undergoing interior refurbishment then internal wall insulation may be more suitable.
3. Fit double glazing – Old single glazed windows can often be a major source of heat loss. Double glazed windows will not only keep the heat in but they will reduce noise, improving your level of comfort.
Tip: Make sure the windows you choose carry a BFRC label which indicates a good energy efficiency rating.
4. Draught proof gaps - If you have poorly sealed windows and doors you may be losing a significant amount of heat through the gaps. Draught proofing is a simple and inexpensive DIY measure and by keeping warm air indoors you’ll need less energy to heat your home and can save money on your fuel bills.
Tip: Although draught proofing is a simple DIY job that can be done at home, it can be more complicated if you have older property. If this is the case it may be wise to call in a professional. Costs start at around £100.
For more information and advice about cutting carbon emissions in the home visit thinkinsulation.com.
You may recall that a little while ago I wrote an article about TV soap stars and their green habits. In the article I suggested that maybe if more of our soap stars were seen ‘being green’, maybe this could have a positive effect on us their audience, here’s the article.
Well, this article was picked up by the The Weekly News, Scotland’s most famous Sunday newspaper, I have since been interviewed and here now is my article in this week’s paper. I hope you enjoy it.
(just a note, their is a typo midway – can you spot it?)
It would appear I am not the only one to be re-appreciating the benefits of the having my milk delivered to my door each morning. Fellow blogger and food lover, Neil Goddard, is appreciating the easy green benefits of having his milk and groceries delivered daily by his local milkman. Here’s what he’s found out:
Not so long ago your average milkman was an old fashioned way of shopping, the preserve of the greying members of our communities. What could be greener than your average milkman? Electric vehicles, re-cycled bottles and locally sourced produce. Out of interest I checked where the milk I sometimes guiltily buy from the local supermarket actually comes from. A dairy in Glasgow apparently, which is only 200 miles away! There’s a cow in the field next to my house.
The evils of supermarkets!
In our search for greener living one thing we are all aware of is the need to start sourcing more produce locally. Certainly when it comes to most of my shopping I prefer the traditional butchers and bakers. The local butchers is very proud of their green credentials and always displays the (former) names and addresses of the bits of cow and pig that I buy – so if the cow in the field next door goes missing, I’ve a good idea where to find it. Too much information, for some people maybe, but I find it reassuring to know that locally sourced is really locally sourced. Yet I have to admit that when it comes to some of the daily essentials I’ll nip to the nearest supermarket, and for a long time one of those has been milk. Enter the trusty milkman.
Recycling the past
Milkmen have for years been seen as the original recycler. Glass bottles are used something like 20 times before being sent off to be recycled – a process which uses far less energy than recycling plastic. In addition when it comes to transport – well the trundling electric milk float has not yet trundled off the mortal coil – or the mortal milk round. Electric vehicles were far more common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries than many people realise. They were re-placed as improvements in the internal combustion engine were made – but they remained the vehicle of choice for those operating smaller delivery rounds. The dairies customers just love the ‘green’ aspect of the business. A quick trawl of green forums will show that people are beginning to re-discover the pleasure – and you can tell it is a pleasure from the posts – of having dairy products delivered by this most traditional and personal of methods.
What’s on your milk float?
Seeing the trend amongst many of us to have our shopping and groceries delivered – a trend that has really taken off with the rise of the internet – the dairies decided to muscle back in on their traditional way of doing business. By diversifying their product range from the straightforward dairy option they have been able, in some areas at least, to establish a whole new range of services. One dairy offers product lines of up to 250 items. The range covers many things you would expect – milk, eggs, cheese, yogurts – but also a massive new set of items that you might not. Vegetable delivery, pet food, cereal and bread are just some of the additional products you can have delivered to your door any morning of the week you choose.
The early bird catches all kinds of things
Next day delivery comes as standard with your milkman. While the supermarkets offer some excellent delivery slots I’m fairly certain they don’t offer ‘five o’clock tomorrow morning’. As I write this (just after four in the afternoon) I’m vaguely aware of a distinct lack of cereal and dog food in the cupboards downstairs. I could order online from the supermarket – and I may well still get it tomorrow evening but the cost of delivery would be too great to even consider this. Alternatively I can ‘nip’ to the shops this evening – but why bother when I can order as late as nine tonight and have the goodies before I’m awake tomorrow. Without a delivery charge! That’s where those established rounds come in to their own. Delivery is free and it’s always next day. The milkman is a bit of a mythological creature. If you sleep badly you may hear the whine of an electric float sometime around dawn, but you rarely see them in person. However, unlike other delivery services you always get the same guy (or gal). The service is personal, friendly and unbelievably reliable.
Faced with all that competition the Milkman could have succumbed and become just a quaint story from the ‘old days’. As it is, they have proved that evolution is the key to survival and they are now giving the supermarkets and other grocery delivery services something of a run for their money – albeit a slightly slow electrically powered run. I’m glad that these guys have fought back and are providing a seriously green alternative to other forms of online food shopping. With the focus that many of us have on green ways of living today I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually it is the supermarkets that will eventually be found in museums – and not these chirpy chaps and chapesses.
Neil Goddard is a blogger and social media enthusiast who writes for the milk & grocery delivery website milk&more. With a healthy focus on being frugal and a not so healthy focus on great food, Neil is a strong supporter of his local suppliers and milkmen.
With the arrival of the Beckham’s new born girl dominating our news, here is my latest article for At Home magazine, showing how beautiful, ever-lasting ‘baby shower’ and ‘christening’ gifts don’t have the cost the earth – literally. It’s all about being easy green and kind to our purses…
A little while ago I was very fortunate to have been invited to an exclusive dinner at celebrity chef Aldo Zilli’s restaurant, Zilli Fish, to savour some of his delicious food, whilst also hearing about the benefits of frozen food, courtesy of our hosts The New Ice Age.
The New Ice Age (which is the consumer campaign for the British Frozen Food Federation) aims to demonstrate that not only is frozen food healthy and a quality option for the British consumer, but it is eco-friendly, taste good and creates less waste.
The event showcased a range of mouth-watering dishes created using frozen food, yet it was left to us to correctly identify which ingredients in our meal were made from frozen and those which were not. To read more about the event, Aldo, the dishes and the benefits of favouring frozen, please pop over to my At Home column where I reveal all.
As well as discussing and enjoying the benefits of frozen food, I also bagged myself an exclusive interview with the main man, Aldo Zilli. With my love of getting more for my money, saving time and reducing waste, I asked Aldo what his favourite ‘waste-saving’ tips were. Aldo had some great advice, plus he also revealed what his ideal ‘waste-saving’ kitchen accessory invention would be – to say I was very pleased with his idea is a huge understatement… as you will see.
This week, I decided to restart something I’d always enjoyed – I rejoined my singing group.
I’ve been in my local singing group for nearly 9 years now, the group meets up every week and is lots for fun, but since the sudden death of my dad two years I had stopped going, as I just couldn’t control my emotions every time we sang.
Anyway, after seeing a fabulous Twitter singalong posted up by the lovely @debsylee (they were all singing Abba songs) I realized how much I was missing my weekly ‘feel good’ session, so I made to decision to return and I’m so glad I did.
However, rather than return to sing the songs I already know, the group has a new medley of songs which I quickly need to learn in preparation for a local show and to be quite honest, they are all very new to me.
That got me thinking.
I believe that learning a new song and learning to live a greener life has quite a few parallels. Not sure what I mean, well let me explain:-
You hear the tune for the first time or the message
You have an instinctive response to whether you can do this or not
If you can, you listen more intently to the rythmn/message and see how it works for you
Before you learn the words you hum along to the tune – you begin to understand and appreciate the message
You learn the chorus and start joining in at this point – you decide to make one small, but significant change to your lifestyle
You learn the verses and can sing the whole song – you make this small change a part of your lifestyle
You add expression and tone to develop your sound – you add further, regular changes into your lifestyle
You sing the song with passion, commitment and it makes you feel good – your daily routine has many ‘green’ changes incorporated in it, all of which add value and make you feel good.
As with all things in life, not everyone is at the same stage of learning the song, or even on the same song sheet. Others would love to sing, but don’t think they can, some prefer to listen to other sings.That’s life.
But for me, I love singing, I’m not the best, but I’m having a go, because at the end of it all, I know that it will enrich my life and also, hopefully, that of others.
What are your thoughts on this, do you see green living as something that you can learn to incorporate into your daily routine, or is it instinctive to you? Is it something that could add more to your life than takes, or do you feel it’s not for you, just yet? I’d really like to hear what you think…
We all know that product placement in our television shows can positively enhance a company’s sales figures. So much so, that in the US and now this year the UK, companies pay millions for their product to appear (if but only in a fleeting glance) in our favourite primetime shows and soap operas.
But rather than products, what if our favourite characters could positively influence how we live more sustainability? What if Roy and Hayley Cropper started growing their own vegetables to sell at Roy’s Rolls, or Declan Macey. on Emmerdale’s Home Farm Estates installed solar panels on all of his properties – do you think it’d make choosing green even more mainstream?
Well, funnily enough I’m not the only one to be thinking of this, in fact EDF Energy has gone as far as to work out who is the greenest soap on television.
Taking into consideration all of the positive ‘green’ actions of each soap family, such as taking public transport, lift sharing, cycling, recycling, hand washing dishes, cooking without appliances, taking a shower (instead of a bath), using local market and deducting their negative actions including driving, using a computer, tumble dryers, hairdryers, leaving the lights on etc, during a period of one month, researchers were able to calculate who was the greenest soap of them all.
Here’s what they found….
Following its success at the BAFTAs, EastEnders has also beaten off soap rivals to be named as Britain’s ‘greenest soap’ according to research commissioned by EDF Energy, the first sustainability partner of London 2012. The study shows that characters in Eastenders, who share their E20 post code with the Olympic Park, are taking more action to reduce their on-screen carbon footprint than those from any of the other soaps analysed.
With millions of viewers tuning in to watch the TV soap families to witness the dramas of their daily lives unfolding, the lifestyle choices some of these characters are making could help set a precedent for a greener way of life.
The Mitchell family are named by the study as Britain’s greenest soap stars, with the programme’s Shirley Carter crowned the ultimate green soap character. The research, which looked at four of Britain’s best loved soaps, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, was conducted to encourage Britons to think about the ways in which they use energy in their everyday lives.
Below are the top five green soap families and characters:
1. The Mitchells/Shirley Carter – EastEnders
2. The Dingles/Zak Dingle – Emmerdale
3. The Websters/Rosie Webster – Coronation Street
4. The Mitchells/Ronnie Mitchell – EastEnders
5. The Barlows/Ken Barlow – Coronation Street
Each soap’s characters were monitored for one month and judged against a set of green criteria. These included their use of public transport, how many times they used electrical appliances, remembering to switch lights off and using lower carbon forms of transport such as walking or cycling. Their positive and negative ‘eco–activities’ were measured and compared to reveal Britain’s greenest soap family.
Jim Poole, Director of Residential Customers at EDF Energy, said: “While the research takes a light-hearted look at energy efficiency, EDF Energy is serious about helping Britons live more sustainably – that’s why we founded Team Green Britain. By highlighting the green actions of the TV soap families we hopes to encourage people to make more sustainable choices in their own everyday lives.
Mo Shapiro, behavioural psychologist added: “This research from EDF Energy highlights that television soap operas could be reflecting an increased interest in sustainability and green living in Britain. Despite the growing influence of social networking in our lives, television certainly continues to exercise a significant influence over our behaviour and personal habits including being environmentally active. I would hope that seeing our favourite soap stars being environmentally aware will, in turn, have a knock on effect on the viewer’s lifestyle choices.”
Households in the UK are estimated to spend around 8% of their electricity bill just powering appliances on standby. EcoManager, available exclusively from EDF Energy, allows consumers to both monitor the electricity consumption of appliances, and switch them off remotely, helping people to take steps to save electricity and reduce their monthly energy bills.
Commenting on the Eastenders win, Jim Poole added “Team Green Britain was founded to help people reduce their carbon footprint ahead of London 2012. It’s therefore great to see that the famous TV characters from London’s East End are already doing their bit to reduce their impact on the environment before the Games takes place on their doorstep. To help them further we’ll be sending one of our EcoManager devices to the set, making it easier for the characters to ensure that electrical appliances in the Queen Vic are turned off come closing time”.
Those looking for other ideas to help them save energy and money can visit www.teamgreenbritain.org. Founded by EDF Energy, Team Green Britain is a community which aims to help people work together to tackle climate change. The initiative is now comprised of over one million members and by following the advice from Team Green Britain, people can save up to 20% on their bills, producing a potential saving of around £166.
 Energy Saving Trust, 2010 : http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/About-us/Media-centre/Energy-saving-statistics-and-facts/Other-consumer-electronics
 We’ve based that saving on a typical EDF Energy customer with typical energy consumption, supplied on our standard tariffs, who reduces their household’s annual energy consumption by 20% through energy saving measures. ‘Typical energy consumption’ means an energy consumption of 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas each year.