It’s easy being green, regardless of your politics, location, gender, or income – and it has nothing to do with hugging trees! These commonsense changes will make a big difference to both your pocket and the health of the planet.
Watch your water:
Don’t wash clothes with hot water. For example: the average 8kg top loader washing machine will use 72kwh per year for cold washes – and 664 kwh for hot. If you’re due to upgrade your washing machine, consider a front loader. They use on average 51 litres per wash while top loaders use around 108 litres.
Take a Look in your fridge
Reduce your meat intake and your green output is by introducing No-meat-Mondays.
The fridge: if it’s over 10 years old, chances are it’s sucking the life out of the power grid. Getting rid of it can save you around $265 a year and reduce your carbon emissions by 1,000kg. If however you need two fridges, choose an energy efficient model, and if it is only used for drinks, try turning it off during the week or perhaps all winter.
Turn off the lights. Retrain yourself to switch off the lights as you leave a room. Open curtains instead of turning on a light and consider changing all your globes to enviro-friendly alternatives. They last longer and will save you money.
Declare war on orange dots. Turn appliances off at the wall at night or when they are not in use. This applies especially to heavy power users such as computers and plasma TVs. The less orange dots you can see on your power points, the more money you are saving and the less your carbon footprint. (More from Moneyhound:Save $1,000’s by the end of this year!)
Plant native plants in your garden; they require less water and attention. And giving someone a potted plant as a gift is more eco-friendly than giving them cut flowers.
Compost bins can be easily bought from your local hardware store for as little as $34. By putting all your garden and fruit and vegetable waste into a compost bin instead of general rubbish, you can turn it into rich fertiliser for your garden.
Have fun with the kids:
Start a worm farm with the kids. If you don’t like the look of an unsightly compost bin, worm farms are a great alternative. They can eat half their body weight in a day, making them a great waste solution for most garden food scraps. A one-metre square worm farm containing around 10,000 worms will eat about 10 kg of food and garden waste each week and their castings make rich compost.
Stay cool through alternative means:
In NSW alone, air conditioners account for 40 per cent of summer household electricity and can cost the average home around $265 a year to run, compared with $20 per year to operate six ceiling fans. You don’t have to live in a sweatbox – simply reduce your carbon impact and your power bill by setting the air conditioner thermostat between23-26°C. Raising the temperature by one degrees can reduce your power use by 10 per cent. (More from Moneyhound: 8 ways to keep cool this summer)
Make your workspace green:
At work or at home, use a photocopier that’s the right size for your needs. A mid-volume copier installed in a low-volume office can use 70% more energy per page than an efficient low-volume copier.
And if you really want to:
It might seem unthinkable, but consider using cloth nappies instead of disposables as an investment in your little one’s future!