Something must be done to reduce plastic use. Experts
predict that if we don’t make an effort to reduce how much plastic we use, our
oceans will have more plastic than fish in them within the next 30 years. Each
day, over seven million plastic pieces and microplastics are released into the
world’s oceans. Evidently, it’s time to take action and reduce casual plastic
use for good. Environmental awareness has already increased and some changes
have already been implemented, for example, the plastic bag fee of 2015 and the
recent ban on plastic straws. Small lifestyle changes can make a huge
difference in the fight against plastic use.
With the year almost at an end, it’s the ideal time to start
thinking about what you can do to reduce your plastic use. Forget fad diets and
gym memberships, reducing your plastic use is both rewarding and extremely easy
to achieve. Booklet
printing specialists Where The Trade Buys explore how you can start off
2020 plastic free:
a reusable coffee cup and water bottle
Takeaway coffee cups are a major source of waste material and plastic
bottles take a shocking 450 years to decompose. With this in mind, it is more
pressing than every to make the switch to reusable items. KeepCups and Chilly’s
Bottles are popular brands that focus on sustainable products.
Say no to
plastic bags and straws
Luckily, these items are becoming less commonplace in the UK today.
However, it can still be difficult to avoid them at times. When you pick up a
takeaway for example, don’t be afraid to say no to the excess plastic bags your
food is wrapped in.
unpackaged fruit and veg
Many supermarkets are now making switch to packaging free products. If
you have the option, choose to load up brown paper bags with fruit and
vegetables rather than choosing pre-package food. Alternatively, you could grow your
own veg in a greenhouse or allotment.
hands on a bamboo toothbrush
Plastic toothbrushes take 400 years to decompose, and if you consider how
many you go through in a lifetime, the life span of them all is shocking. A
bamboo toothbrush on the other hand, only takes five to ten years — minimal in
soap and shampoo bars rather than bottles
Shampoo and hand soap always seem to come with excess plastic packaging.
There is simply no need to coat these items in plastic, as they work perfectly
well in bar form. This is another tiny switch that will make little difference
to your daily routine but really help out the environment.
refill station for your laundry detergent and washing up liquid
Instead of chucking out the plastic bottle when your washing up liquid
runs out, hold on to it and get it refilled! Lots of sustainable shops now
offer this service, making it easier than ever to opt for refills rather than
wasting more plastic.
‘zero waste’ shops
Thankfully, zero waste shops are becoming far more common in the UK. The
idea of zero waste shops is that they sell produce with absolutely no plastic
packaging. Switching up your shopping routine and choosing a zero-waste shop
would be a great habit to get into in 2020. You can find a list of zero waste
shops and where to find them here.
on shopping and spending
This last one is essential, although perhaps not as easy as the other
lifestyle changes. Every time you buy something, especially online, it is
likely to come swaddled in needless layers of plastic. If you cut down on this
spending, you could make a real environmental change.
sustainable Tupperware game
Along the same theme, consider switching to sustainable Tupperware. There
are plenty of alternatives to wasteful plastic Tupperware, such as bamboo,
glass, or stainless-steel alternatives. Oxfam do a great range!
Switch to beeswax
wrap rather than clingfilm
food storage is another factor that people often forget to consider. We throw
away single use clingfilm without a second thought, because it seems like such
a necessity within our lives. Now however, there are plenty of alternatives to
use if you want to go plastic free. Beeswrap, for example, is a ‘natural
alternative to plastic wrap’ which can be used time and time again.
Once you make an effort to change your routine,
these changes will be easy to implement. They will soon become second nature!
If everyone chips in and makes an effort towards sustainability, we will see a
reduced amount of plastic pollution our oceans.
With climate change at the forefront of today’s issues,
saving energy is more important than ever before. Whether we’re cutting down in
order to save money, or to help the environment, we should all be making a
conscious effort to reduce our energy expenditure. Here, we’re taking a look at
some common energy saving myths, as well as the best methods for saving money
on energy bills.
For some of us, saving energy is crucial – especially if you
suffer from fuel poverty. This is when a household spends more than 10% of its
income on domestic energy use, defining them as a fuel poor household. Northern
Powergrid, who can help with any new
electric connection cost, has been a supporter of the fuel poverty charity,
National Energy Action (NEA) for several years. The company’s head of
stakeholder and customer engagement, Siobhan Barton, said: “Whilst we don’t
sell electricity, as the company responsible for the power network which
delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East,
Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, we do have a role to play in helping the
industry tackle fuel poverty and encouraging energy efficiency.
“We’ve reduced our network charges, which form part of
domestic customers’ bills from their chosen electricity supplier, funded a
Citizens Advice Bureau fuel debt advice service and helped kick-start a number
of projects through our community energy seed fund.”
Myths surrounding energy use
It’s important not to believe everything you hear regarding
energy tips. A prime example is leaving your heating on all day is better than
just turning it on high when you need it. According to the Energy Saving Trust,
this is not the case. They confirm that, in the long run, just having your
heating on when you need it will indeed save energy. The key focus here is
knowing how much energy is actually required to heat your home. By leaving your
heating on for the full day, you are bound to be using energy that you really
don’t need to.
In a similar fashion, some people still believe that leaving
your lights on is better than turning them off and on again. Simply said, this
isn’t true. Even if you leave the room for 10 minutes, make sure you get into the
habit of turning the lights off behind you.
It’s also believed in some quarters that electrical
appliances don’t use any power when they are not in use. While technology is
advancing, and energy-saving techniques are in place, some appliances draw energy
even when they aren’t in use. A prime example is a phone charger. Did you know
that leaving the socket switched on with a phone charger attached can cost you
up to £80 each year?
A rather bizarre claim is that you should put clingfilm on
your windows to save energy. Even more surprising, perhaps, is that this one is
actually true. Doing so can help you to keep your home warm, but it’s okay to
use any material for the second layer of glazing so long as it’s airtight and
transparent. Apply this technique and you can help to trap a small layer of
air, which can prevent any heat from escaping. Of course, this should only ever
be a short-term measure. If you need this second-layer, you should look into
getting double glazing. By using this method to have a third layer, you may see
a slight difference, but far less than if you had put it on a single glazed
How to save money on your energy bills
Away from the myths, there are many tried and tested methods
which you can rely on and are recognised across the board. Firstly, you should
always be sure to shop around, especially if your energy contract is up for
renewal. Simply staying with the same supplier as it’s ‘easier’ could see you
spending hundreds of pounds more than you need to. There are many price
comparison sites for you to benefit from, so make sure you log on and let them
do all the hard work!
While we’ve already quashed the myth that you should leave
your heating on, did you know that by turning it down by just 1⁰C,
you can cut up to 10% off your heating bill? On average, this could equate to a
saving of approximately £75 each year.
Elsewhere, tumble dryers are expensive to run, so try to air
your washing whenever possible instead. If you do need to use a tumble dryer,
make sure it’s full, as one full load uses less energy than two half-full
loads. The same goes with loading your washing machine. Make sure you have a
full machine and keep it to 30⁰C. Another simple energy-saving trick
is to just boil the amount of water you need — especially if you are just
making a cup of tea or coffee. While this won’t equate to huge savings, every
Another handy tip is to spend a little to save a lot. If you
are in the position to be able to invest money on insulation, upgrading your
boiler, or even using renewable technologies, then you should do so. Sometimes
you can benefit from a grant for these services, but even if not, you can often
pay back what you’ve spent quite quickly and start to save money.
How to become more energy efficient
Of course, while saving money is important, you should also
be thinking about helping the environment. Britain is committed to reducing
greenhouse gas emissions by 34% as early as next year. A key player in
achieving this target would be by members of the public becoming energy
efficient – both in the workplace and at home. Research has found that many
power plants actually waste around two-thirds of the energy that goes into
them. In our homes, we simply aren’t monitoring our energy use as closely as we
should be, either.
That is where a new app could aid you. In July 2018,
Northern Powergrid revealed how it has collaborated with GenGame to trial a
mobile game to
demonstrate how gaming could incentivise households to reduce their electricity
consumption at times of high demand. Players receive an alert telling
them the game is starting encouraging them to consider turning off washing
machines, televisions, lights and other home devices for short periods of time
to earn points and stand a chance of winning cash prizes.
For example, while pausing your washing machine may only be
worth approximately 10p, if you include this in the game format, it gives
players the chance to earn more money through prizes, which makes it a lot more
interesting. Each month has hundreds of pounds worth of prizes available and
each player reduces their electricity consumption by 11% on average.
Andrew Webster, Northern Powergrid Innovation Project
Manager, said: “Household electricity use will grow significantly as electric
vehicles and heat pumps become mainstream, increasing demand on the network.
Mobile games offer a fun solution to help manage this demand, rewarding our
customers for reducing their consumption at peak periods.”
There are, of course, many other tips and tricks that can
help you to save money on your energy bills, reduce fuel poverty and help the
environment, too. It’s also important to remember that if you are struggling to
afford your gas and electric charges, your supplier should be able to help you
come to a solution and negotiate a deal that helps both parties. Why not make
sure you take on board some of the advice and do your part — both
for your bank balance and the world you live in?
The UK is set on
reducing its emissions of greenhouse gasses to nothing by 2050. Achieving this
would make the UK the lowest emitters and cleanest country in the world. But is
it a realistic proposal?
It was recorded that
in the UK alone around 500 million tonnes of CO2 is being emitted
every year. The government has begun pushing to reduce this through guidance
from the Committee on Climate Change. A huge motive for reducing emissions
comes from a UN reports stating that CO2 emissions must be totally
stopped to avoid dangerous changes to the climate.
The UK’s climate
minister spoke to the BBC News and shared: “The report was a really stark
and sober piece of work — a good piece of work. Now we know what the goal
is, and we know what some of the levers are. But for me, the constant question
is: what is the cost and who’s going to bear that, both in the UK and in the
global economy. The question is: what does government need to do, where can the
private sector come in, and what technologies will come through?”
Vindis, who offer VW service deals, has shared the extent of this issue and
some of the ways emissions can be reduced.
Improve home insulation
BBC News stated in early 2017 that 80 per cent of the UK’s
CO2 emissions had to drop between then and 2050. They recorded that
a third of all of all the emissions had come from heating.
The Green Building
Council stated in Parliament that 25 million homes will not currently meet the standards
of insulation being enforced in 2050, and will need to be replaced to a much
higher standard. According to calculations, these findings mean that the rate
of refurbishment stood at a rate of 1.4 homes needing to be worked on every
minute as of the beginning of 2017.
On top of cutting
emissions, good insulation can lead to many more benefits. The Green Building
Council’s head Julie Hirigoyen explains: “People will have warmer homes
and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives; we will be able to
address climate change and carbon emissions.
“We will also be
creating many thousands of jobs and exporting our best skills in innovation.”
Utilise low-carbon fuels
One method that is
already being adopted it using low carbon fuels. It is dependent on the public
and businesses to utilise this though, and it appears the nation is already
assisting in this area.
London and The Guardian, reported that the amount of renewable energy
in the UK surpassed the quantity of fossil fuels for the first time ever. With
the amount of renewable capacity trebling in the same five-year period that
fossil fuels decreased by one-third, the capacity of biomass, hydropower, solar
and wind power hit 41.9 gigawatts and the capacity of gas, coal and oil-fired
power plants recorded in at 41.2 gigawatts between July and September.
The research, carried
out by Dr Iain Staffell, noted that: “Britain’s power system is slowly but
surely walking away from fossil fuels, and [the quarter between July and
September] saw a major milestone on the journey.”
Once again, a record
was also set in 2018 in the UK where they managed to be without coal power for
three days, or 76 consecutive hours. This was before a report from Imperial
College London which was commissioned by Drax suggested that coal supplied only
1.3 per cent of Britain’s entire use of electricity during the second quarter
of 2018 — furnaces based at coal-fired power stations throughout the country were
completely unused for 12 days in June last year too.
Purchase fuel-efficient vehicles
New diesel and petrol
vans and cars will be banned across the UK from 2040.Despite many years still
to wait before this is enforced, it seems many Brits are already exploring what
alternative-fuel vehicles are out there e.g. LPG powered
Next Green Car reports that the registrations of new plug-in
cars have jumped from only 3,500 to over 195,000 in just the six years from
2013. Furthermore, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and
Traders highlighted that electric car sales across the UK has shifted from only
close to 500 being registered each month in the early part of 2014 to an
average of 5,000 per month throughout 2018.
The British road infrastructure
is improving as well and is able to hold more alternative-fuel vehicles, thanks
to ongoing private and government investment. While the UK’s network of
electric vehicle charging points was recorded in at just a few hundred units as
of 2011, there had been more than 5,800 charging locations, 9,800 charging
devices and 16,700 connectors installed by June 2018.
Despite only 6.84 per
cent of the UK car market being alternative-fuel vehicles, it seems that the
trend in their number is increasing. The UK is on the right track to heavily
reduce carbon emissions.
The ambition of
reaching an emission count of zero is admirable, but a huge challenge too.
Fortunately, some of the examples covered in this article do suggest that
efforts are being made to ensure the nation reaches its goal.
Electric vehicles have been becoming increasingly popular over the past decade. 2018 saw record sales for EV’s in the UK, with new registrations reaching 59,945 by the end of the year. In December alone, 5,500 new registrations were made, and EV’s gained a 3.8% split in the market share – this is up from 1.7% in 2016. Read more…
In the world today, there has been a double in the amount of people driving cars. This may suggest that fuel prices will go up massively due to the increase in people driving, in order for everyone to be able to drive their cars. From some research, there has been in increase in 2018 where it was £1.21 per litre in the UK which is a significant amount. Over 10 years ago, this was £0.89 per litre. Evidently, that there has been an increase in more people driving which has caused the petrol prices to rise. So knowing that this will make people not very happy due to the fact that they have risen of their fuel prices. Here, with Lookers, who offer a range of car servicing plans, we delve deeper to see what we can expect to see from petrol prices throughout 2019…
Petrol around the world
At the beginning of 2019, there were news reports about the ‘France yellow jackets’ protesters. These people were protesting purely because of fuel tax. This made people angry due to the rise in price which caused them to protest against the government. People who protested claimed that all people are the same and it does not depend on what job they have due to tax. They also say that they cannot rely on their cars to go the shops or to the country side because how high the tax is. Evidently, people cannot afford to run their cars due to the rise of tax and the lack of trust they have In their cars. There has also been the same in Australia where their tax has also gone up and has caused riots. This is evidence that the tax rises in petrol is not making people have trust in their cars and their council. These stories have reached news because of how much impact it has had on people and different families.
In January 2019, there was a riot in Zimbabwe due to petrol prices rising. Just overnight their petrol prices doubled. The people in Zimbabwe have been blocking bus routes with burned tires and protesting about these price rises. Many were arrested and killed for destruction and violence. Due to these price rises, Zimbabwe’s government are trying to end the economic poverty that they are suffering so thinking that raising the patrol price, this has caused a lot of violence and has cost lives which can have impact on friends and families.
Over the last 10 years fuel prices have gone up knowing that people driving has increased massively. Knowing that many prices have gone up due to poverty or increase of cars in the world, there has been many issues behind it. For example, the French yellow jacket riots where there has been riots about fuel tax’s which has caused violence and people becoming upset. This has been caused by the government making tax higher. Another issue is that the Zimbabwe riots by making fuel prices higher has caused for people to get arrested and even result in death. Fuel has increased to £1.21 per litre whereas 10 years ago, it was £0.89 due to the increase in cars, which is not in correlation to people earning more either.
If you are thinking about converting to a green lifestyle, the good news is you are also creating positive changes to help save the environment. With technology and the current fast-paced lifestyle that most people have today, this also produces a lot of waste material. As a human being, it is your job to take care of the planet where you live, and you should consider it as a privilege. You can do many things to show that you care for the environment, and one of the options is to volunteer abroad with Frontier. Aside from that, here are some things that you can do to reduce waste production and make our world a better place to live in. Read more…
According toReal Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.
So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings
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