How to guide: save money and protect the planet
Earth Day is a worldwide event that occurs annually on April 22nd to celebrate and support the environment. Yet protecting the planet shouldn’t be limited to one day of the year. With these helpful tips, you can become more eco-friendly all year round... and cut your bills at the same time.
How to save electricity and gas
By reducing your electricity and gas consumption, you’ll not only do your bit for the environment, you’ll save money on household bills. You may already be familiar with some of these handy tips, but here’s a quick reminder of how small savings around the home can quickly add up.
Don’t leave appliances on standby
One of the most common ways homeowners waste energy is by leaving appliances on standby. This can cost households between £45 and £80 a year.
Consider installing a FREE smart meter
Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity a household is using, as well as what it’s costing in near real time. This information is provided on a handy in-home monitor, making it easy to spot where a lot of energy is being used and where changes can be made to reduce any wastage. Readings are sent to the energy supplier automatically too, so you can be confident you’re only paying for what you’ve actually used. What’s more, if smart meters are available through your energy supplier, these are installed at no extra cost. Read more about smart meters.
Turn down your thermostat
It’s nice to come home to a warm, cosy house. But how warm do you really need it to be? As the weather begins to warm up, you have a good opportunity to save energy and cut costs. Turning your heating down by just a single degree could save you up to £85 a year.
Draught-proof your home
Preventing heat from escaping through any gaps around the edges of your windows and doors could reduce your heating bills by up to £50 a year.
How to waste less water
On average, we use 140 litres of water every day and most goes straight down the plug-hole. Here are some ways you can be a bit more water-savvy.
Take water efficient showers
Making small adjustments to your morning routine could help you save water and reduce your utility bills. Shaving two minutes off your shower time is an effective yet easy way to do this. You could also consider installing a water efficient showerhead. They cost around £30, but many water suppliers often offer them for free* and will save you money in the long run. If you were to make both of these simple changes, you could save you up to £50 on your water bill each year.
*Contact your supplier to find out more.
Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
Research carried out by Waterwise found that running a tap wastes over six litres of water per minute. So consider this: if you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, as recommended by the NHS, and leave the tap running, you could be wasting over 24 litres of water a day – that’s more water than your average dishwasher cycle uses.
Wash your dishes the eco-friendly way
When hand washing your pots and pans, you can save water and money by filling up your sink first. If you keep the tap running for the duration of the wash, you’re quite literally pouring money down the drain!
How to reduce your plastic usage
No doubt you’ll have heard in the news recently, how plastic is the cause of many environmental problems, so by cutting back on the plastic you use day-to-day, you will help to preserve the planet.
Don’t buy plastic straws
The Marine Conservation Society has estimated that up to 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away in the UK every year. Many of them end up in the sea, and are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean-ups. So when you’re next in the supermarket or even at a restaurant – say no to plastic straws.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has recently suggested that plastic straws could be banned in Britain entirely. The Queen is also doing her bit to help the cause by putting forward an effort to reduce the number of plastic straws used at royal estates, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Reuse shopping bags
In 2015, the UK introduced a new law that required large shops to charge customers 5p for every plastic bag used. Though this is only a small amount, these costs can add up over time. Why not avoid this charge by taking your own bags with you when shopping or purchasing a reusable ‘bag for life’? Given that a single plastic carrier takes around 1,000 years to degrade, you’d be doing your bit for the environment too.
Carry a reusable bottle
According to Greenpeace, over 35 million plastic bottles are used every year in the UK. Carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money, too. Plus, you’ll be keeping yourself well hydrated at the same time.
How to cut down on food waste
According to the Food Standards Agency, the UK throws away seven million tons of food every year... food that could have been eaten. This not only puts a strain on the country’s resources, but harms the environment too.
If you’re a keen gardener, you’ll know that one way to reduce waste is to compost. Composting is much more sustainable than dumping waste in landfills. Most fruit and vegetables can be composted, and turned into nutrient-rich fertiliser for your plants.