Going Green: Go green in 2023 to save energy while reducing your bills
Latest article from Angela Terry
Green Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and here she explains how you can take simple, practical steps to help save the planet. Follow @ouronehome & visit https://onehome.org.uk/ for more advice.
Q: How can I go green in 2023? Where do I start?
Saving energy and reducing your bills can be the start of a series of green resolutions for 2023 and, with figures suggesting just 35 per cent of people in the UK who make resolutions stick to them, why not make ones that’ll save you money and help the environment?
Firstly, start switching off – think light switches, power sockets, games consoles, lamps, taps. Ask yourself when you’re leaving the house or going to bed what really needs to be on and switch everything else off.
Depending on usage, just turning off lights can save £25 a year.
Next, reuse – from shopping bags to water bottles to second hand clothing, if you don’t have to buy new, go second hand.
Facebook marketplace is a treasure trove of unwanted things being given away in your local area. Post online what you don’t need and search for what you do.
One of the best things you can do for ageing parents or exhausted friends is pop up into their loft and check the amount of insulation they have - after you’ve done your own, of course.
Log onto one home.org.uk for advice on how to do it yourself and to find out how much money you could save.
It might not be your favourite job, but clean windows will maximise the heat coming through from the sun, descaling the kettle will mean it takes less time and money to boil.
Dust hinders energy efficiency so, whether it’s the back of the telly, behind the fridge or the kids’ games consoles keep appliances dust-free.
Degreasing your oven and defrosting the freezer will help energy efficiency too.
It might sound like a health resolution but turning your commute into exercise means you can leave the car at home and save money too with walking and cycling, even if just for one or two days a week.
Even if you recycle and are mindful of single use plastics, there’s still lots to be done.
Streamlining your weekly shop will eliminate food waste, showering for a shorter period - aim for four minutes or less - will save water and energy costs too.
Recycle everything you can. Try and lessen your dependency on your car by using public transport or try car-pooling with a colleague. Reducing the amount of meat you eat will help your wallet and the environment so start with Meat Free Mondays and see if you can roll it out to another day in the week.
Studies show resolutions made together are more likely to last so get a friend on board and be accountable to one another as well as the environment.
Turn it into a challenge with the one who saves the most treating the other to something at the end of the year too.
With Veganuary just around the corner in January 2023, actress and animal lover Natalie Portman believes in a plant-based diet and is an advocate of the vegan lifestyle, which experts say can reduce shopping bills by a third.
The actress, who has been vegetarian since she was nine years old and having switched to plant based in 2011, said: “I chose to adapt to a sustainable lifestyle after learning of the health risks and environmental effects that come with the mass production of animals.”
Don’t buy, borrow. We’re used to borrowing from libraries but from furniture and glasses to party dresses, the Internet is awash with websites where you can borrow tools (photo: Adobe), decorations, even cars so give Google a go before you buy.
Gym membership increases at start of the year
Gym membership goes through the roof at the start of the year. Known in the industry as the January Gym Rush, around 12 per cent of all gym sign-ups happen at the start of the year.
But, while getting fit and being accountable for your own health can only ever be a good thing, gym’s use staggering amounts of energy.
Machinery is always on and more often than not there are steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs that use huge amounts of heat and also use air conditioning which isn’t exactly eco-friendly when it comes to the use of energy.
Water coolers often use single use plastic cups,
But what are the solutions out there if you want to reduce your carbon footprint but increase your step count every day?
Firstly, get outside, the natural environment has so many physical and mental health benefits so rather than fork out for a gym membership try exercising outside in nature.
Cardio can be done al fresco but so can strength and weight training by using your own body weight in push ups, planks, burpees, and squats, so whether it’s your back garden or the local park, find a green space you can work out in and soak up the sounds of nature while you work up a sweat.
Arrange to go with a friend to ensure the weather doesn’t dampen your spirits too.
Many areas are organising group walks or runs after work so people feel safe despite the dark evenings and have fun together.
Think about returning to a sport you loved too; yes, team sports like netball might be played indoors but large sports halls use much less energy than gyms.
Team sports have proven mental health benefits too and if you don’t think you’re fit enough lots of towns and cities have walking football, netball, and rugby clubs while you work on getting your fitness back.
Why not double up the good you’re doing and volunteer to walk the dogs from your local dogs' home or borrow my doggy to find a neighbour in need of help?
They’re often desperate for volunteer dog walkers so you’ll be getting fit and doing a good deed at the same time.
Get your plog on too. Yes, you read that right!
Plogging started in Sweden in 2016 and is a combination of jogging and litter picking.
There are plogging accounts on social media to help you find a group that is near to you.
Family bike rides are a great way to get fit and spend time together and if you’re feeling brave or fit, you can jog beside them while they cycle.
The money you’ll save by not joining a gym can either go back into your wallet or put it aside each month and spend it on yourself at the end of the year.
Fact or fiction
Aluminium can be recycled forever.
While most recyclables like paper and plastic have a limit to the number of times they can be recycled, aluminium can be recycled forever. In 30 days it can be back on the supermarket shelf.
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