30 ways to go green

Plant a herb garden. Herbs are expensive in the supermarkets so grow your own and reduce your carbon footprint. You can plant them either in pots in the garden or on your kitchen windowsill and snip a bit off when you need to.

1. Grow veg. Even if you’ve only got a balcony you can still house a tomato plant. Or try cutting a hole in the top and bottom of a grow bag on its end – shove a sprouting potato in each hole and voila! Two potato plants.

2. Switch all your lightbulbs to energy saving versions. Switching just one bulb can reduce your lighting costs by up to £78 over the lifetime of the bulb.

3. Leave saucepan lids on when cooking – then you can turn down the heat.

4. One third of your household’s energy bills, and well over a quarter of your household’s carbon dioxide emissions come from electrical appliances. If you need a new appliance look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended label or check the company’s own energy rating.

5. Buy a reusable water bottle to take to work and for the kids to take to school and banish plastic disposable bottles.

Bobble BPA-free Water Bottle, John Lewis, £10

6. Wash laundry at lower temperatures, always fill the machine and turn it off when you’ve finished using it.

7. Turn off lights when you leave the room and open the curtains instead of turning them on! Enjoy natural light and save electricity.

 Turning down your thermostat by just 1 degree C could cut your heating bills by up to 10%.

8. Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for one weekly trip.

9. Walk or ride a bike instead of using the car. Set yourself an achievable goal of walking to school once a week or taking a bus trip if you don’t need much shopping.

10. Use your council green bin for food waste instead of using your kitchen bin.

11. Support your local economy and shop at your local farmer’s market or green grocer.

12. Turn off your electrical appliances completely at night. In most homes, entertainment equipment accounts for about 20% of your electricity bill. Many digital radios simply switch into standby mode when turned “off” so they’re continually using energy unless they’re turned off at the socket. If your TV has a ‘Quickstart mode’ – or standby – it could use as much as 18W when left in this mode. That means by not turning it off fully you could be wasting £10 a year in electricity bills.

13. Unplug phone chargers when the phone is fully charged.

14. Only fill up the kettle with the water you need. If everyone in the UK boiled only the water they needed every time they used the kettle, we could save enough electricity in a year to power the UK’s street lights for 2 months.

15. Turning down your thermostat by just 1 degree C could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. And if you’re going away for winter, leave the thermostat on low to protect pipes from freezing at minimum cost. This can save about £30 per year.

16. Pay your bills online and request to be a paper free customer with everyone who currently sends you a bill. Not only is it greener, it’s a cleaner.

17. Put a stop to unsolicited mail: sign up to the Mailing Preference Service  to stop unwanted post. While you’re at it sign up to the Telephone Preference Service  too to stop those nuisance calls asking you to take a quick survey when you’re trying to give the kids dinner.

18. Reuse scrap paper. Print on two sides, or let your kids colour on the clean side of used paper.

19. Before buying anything new, first check ebay or freecycle.

20. Mend leaky taps and showers and learn how to bleed your own radiators.

21. Save water: Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth, try to shower rather than bath and flush your loo every couple of visits instead of every time.

22. Make your own household cleaners. They work better, are cheaper and don’t fill your home with nasty chemicals.

23. Dry your washing on the line whenever possible. And don’t put on radiators specifically to dry your laundry!

24. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater. For most, setting the thermostat at 60°C/140°F is fine for bathing.

25. Repurpose or upcycle something – find a new purpose for your unwanted items before you chuck them away!

26.  Collect rainwater and use it to water your houseplants and garden.

27. If your kids are still in nappies, think about switching to washable ones. You can get a grant to buy them from many local councils. Even if you only use one cloth nappy a day that’s 365 fewer disposable nappies in your local landfill each year.

28. Use cloths instead of kitchen paper to clean your house. Be frugal, and make these washable rags out of old towels and t-shirts.

29. If you use napkins at the dinner table – switch to cloth from paper.

30. Donate to and shop at charity shops. You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, you’ll be supporting your local economy and you’ll be saving money.

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