Tips to help you save money while also helping to protect the environment
A group of children from a school in Tullamore have come together and put together a series of tips to help us all save a considerable amount of money while also helping to protect the environment.
Gaelscoil An Eiscir Riada, Tullamore pupils Ealga, Lily-Marie, JP, Gavin and Elizabeth give monthly tips and they are well worth taking notice of.
Here are their tips for this month.
* Remember to switch off the lights when you leave a room. The electricity that powers your home is probably produced by burning fossil fuels.
* Take a short shower instead of a bath, it is a simple way to save energy that is needed to heat the water.
* In winter turn down your heating by a degree or two and wear more clothes. This will help the environment and reduce your heating costs.
* When shopping try and buy fruit and vegetables that are in season, and check where they are being sourced from, because if they are being brought overseas then they are increasing your own carbon footprint.
*Try to wash your clothes at a lower temperature. You can get very good results at 30 degrees and even 20 degrees and save money into the bargain.
* Lighting accounts for more than 10 percent of most people’s electricity bills and that cost could be reduced by as much as 80 percent by switching from halogen light bulbs to energy-efficient LEDs. In simple terms, the saving per bulb replaced could be around €7 a year. Add to that the fact that LED bulbs last around 10 times as long
* Tumble driers drink electricity at the same time as removing moisture from your clothes. Typical machines use about 3,000 watts of electricity and even the most energy-efficient cost about 30 cent per wash to run. Older and less efficient models can cost more than twice that. The best way to save electricity, of course, is to put the clothes on the line outside. You can always hang them up on a clothesline indoors as well.
*From toothpaste tubes to shampoo bottles, our bathrooms are heaving with plastic and only about 30% of it can be recycled here. The good news is that achieving a plastic-free bathroom routine is easier than you think. Bamboo toothbrushes, silk floss, safety razors, menstrual cups, solid shampoo, conditioner and body bars are all options.
* Every day in Ireland, we go through the equivalent of €3 million in food waste – this statistic alone should be enough to make you rethink how much food you buy when doing your weekly shopping. Revive leftovers, bring yesterday’s dinner to work for lunch, repurpose food scraps into jams and sauces, and stretch your budget by meal planning.
*Do you know how much of the pots and pans you put in the dishwasher could be done by hand? Simply cut a sponge into smaller pieces for easier handling and to make them last longer. And the best of all, at the end of its life you can compost i to the environment.
* You can reduce your heating bill by 10 percent by lowering your room temperature by just one degree. This doesn’t mean sitting at home shivering under piles of duvets and blankets. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) recommends a quite comfortable living room temperature of 20 degrees with halls and bedrooms slightly lower at 15 to 18 degrees. You can save even more energy and money by using radiator valves to turn off the heating in rooms that are used less often. Go down a lot if you have more than 3 people moving around in the room- like at a party.
* Remember the days when we all washed our clothes at 60 degrees or higher? It took us a while to get used to the fact that we can get the same results at 40 degrees at a lower cost. Well, guess what? You can get pretty damn good results at 30 or even 20 degrees and save lots more money into the bargain. UK consumer watchdog Which carried out a few tests some years ago which found that washing at 30 degrees produced similar results to 40 – apart from a stubborn olive oil stain – and reduced running costs by 46 percent while turning the dial down to 20 resulted in savings of 66 percent with pretty much the same results.
* The proportion of renewables on the Irish electricity system has risen from about zero to almost 40 percent over the past two decades and that is set to rise to 70 percent by 2030 under the government’s Climate Action Plan. Smart meters in our homes will soon make it possible for consumers to choose to use only renewable power for certain applications such as charging electric vehicle batteries. But we can go green before that if we choose. We can install solar panels on our roofs and small wind turbines on the sides of our houses or in our gardens. Not only will these lower our dependence on electricity from fossil fuel sources but it will also be possible in the near future to sell excess power generated domestically back to the grid.
* Not many people have heard of it but voltage vampires are undead and sucking power out of just about everyone’s home. A voltage vampire is an appliance that consumes electricity even when it’s not being used. DVD players, sound systems, TVs, microwaves and any device with a digital display are all vampires. Battery chargers also fall into this deadly category. You might think that when a battery is full, they will stop consuming electricity but the transformer in the charging unit is constantly using small amounts of power. Switch off and unplug all these devices, don’t just put them on standby. Plugging several devices into a multi-socket extension lead allows you to unplug them all at the same time.
*A hose uses more water in one hour than the average family does in a day, so keep it coiled. Get a water butt to collect rainwater instead. Use it to water the garden and make sure to use a watering can with a rose head, it uses less water and doesn’t batter the begonias either. Keep the hose locked up when it comes to washing the car and get a bucket and sponge instead. Forget the automatic car wash altogether, an average one can use up to 132 liters of water. To boost your elbow grease, attach a pressure washer to your rainwater butt and do it yourself instead.
* That smell of fresh paint is actually the scent of freshly released volatile organic compounds – unstable chemicals that give off gasses which are seriously not good for you. They can lead to headache or nausea, and possibly much worse. VOCs from paint emissions also contribute to global warming as part of the greenhouse effect. The problem persists long after the paint has dried too, as it continues to release VOCs as it cures. Totally VOC natural alternatives are available, so whatever colour you choose, choose green.
* It’s one of life’s immutable laws that for everyone working battery you need at least six dead ones will be found. But batteries need to be disposed of carefully and not sent to landfill because they actually constitute a hazardous waste. Don’t just let them lie, recycle them. Under EU regulations retail outlets that sell batteries are obliged to take back old batteries of a similar type – even if you didn’t buy them there.
* Journalists have always known today’s blood sweat and tears are tomorrow’s fish & chips wrapper and that’s just fine with us. The more ways you can find to recycle newsprint and magazines the better. There are loads of options, including making your own solid fuel briquettes. You can get handy self-balers at hardware stores or online and simply soak and dry the pulped newsprint into a cost-effective paper fire log. Shredded newsprint also makes great animal bedding.
* Whether it is Christmas, Easter, Halloween or Saint Valentines Day please check the ingredients of whatever sweet treat you are buying-whether chocolate or sweets- for palm oil or palm fat. In fact, check all your shopping for Palm Oil/Fat. It can be found in foods like ice cream, candy, and instant noodles, to household items like laundry detergent, toothpaste, and shampoo. Palm Oil has become the most widely used vegetable oil on Earth. Palm Oil production is also one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction.