Going Green: Save money and use less energy at home with simple top tips
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: Do I really need to switch devices off at the wall or I can just use standby?
A: Yes switching off at the plug is better. And now’s definitely the time to be as efficient as possible with your electricity usage!
With inflation and the cost of living on the rise, it is important to monitor your energy usage.
After the energy regulator Ofgem’s recent announcement that the energy price cap will be updated every three months, instead of six, energy bills could double to more than eye-watering £4,200 by January.
We’re all going to feel the pinch and need to change our habits. This will help to save money and reduce costs from energy consumption.
Electricity powered by gas
The energy crisis is really a gas crisis, which has been made much worse by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
In addition, the tightening of the flow of Russian gas to Europe.
But it means electricity’s increasingly expensive too because most of the electricity that goes into the UK grid is made by burning gas.
One really easy way to save money and cut your carbon footprint is to switch off the many common household devices that slowly drain power.
This can be done even when they’re not in use.
These so-called ‘vampire devices’ use a small amount of energy even when they’re just plugged in.
It’s not much but with energy prices sky high, it all adds up.
In fact, by switching them off when you’re not actively using them, you could save up to £147 per year on current energy prices.
This is according to research by British Gas.
Devices to switch off
Vampire devices include TVs on standby, games consoles, computers, printers, smart speakers, microwaves and modems.
It also pays to keep an eye on laptops and phones that are charging and unplug from the wall when the battery is full.
It’s a great idea to get everyone in the family to get into the habit of switching off the lights when leaving a room.
How to make it easy
If you have a smart meter, you can use its display to see how much energy is being used at different times.
You can also start switching off gadgets that are wasting electricity.
If you don’t have a smart meter, consider asking your energy supplier for one.
They are free and can help you measure your energy usage and work out how to make it more efficient.
One of the simplest things you can do is get into a routine of switching everything off at night.
To make this easier, you can plug a series of devices into one extension lead, so you have less switches to flick.
And look into smart plugs, which let you check everything is turned off from your phone.
Footballers care about the climate crisis too and want to inspire change.
Reading FC’s new kit features a striped design on the shirt sleeves and shorts.
This represents average global temperatures since the club was formed in 1871.
Blue stripes represent the cooler than average years and red ones the hotter years.
In recent years stripes have appeared as a wide band of red.
The stripes are designed to inspire climate conversations.
Swap cans of fizzy pop for a home soda maker to enjoy countless drinks.
You can buy a SodaStream for around £100.
It’ll hugely cut your plastic bottle and can waste and it is more convenient.
The researchers at Which? found it cheaper too.
How you can enjoy eco-friendly beauty regime
Greening your grooming and beauty routine doesn’t mean giving up high performance products.
With so many brands considering their environmental impact, the number of effective green skincare and beauty products are growing all the time.
Here are some pointers.
Refill your containers
One of the worst things about beauty and skincare products is their plastic packaging.
Most of it goes in the bin and then landfill.
When it comes to shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and liquid hand soap, you can take old containers to one of the increasingly common refill shops.
To find your nearest one, download the free app from www.refill.org.uk/ site.
On the high street The Body Shop is also rolling out a refill scheme, through which you buy the brand’s aluminium bottles and refill them in-store.
This helps resources to last longer and increase sustainability.
This way, we can reduce the amount of waste produced.
Another way to avoid plastic is to embrace the trend for naked products, which have no packaging at all.
You can swap plastic bottles of shower gel or shampoo for a bar of soap or a shampoo bar.
Lush has an amazing selection of such products, including skincare treats, like an aloe bamboo cleanser (£10) and an argan facial oil bar (£10).
Online Pure Nuff Stuff sells cocoa and shea butter solid moisturiser bars from £5.50, all handmade in Cornwall.
Global brands are getting in on the act too, with Nivea launching a plastic-free almond and blueberry facial cleansing bar (£5.99).
Also, Garnier is now offering an oat-based shampoo bar (£7.99).
Most makeup bags are filled with single-use plastic, but some brands are at the forefront of plastic-free innovation.
Ethique makes a range of lovely lipsticks in cardboard tubes that you can buy online.
Luxury brands to look out for include Inika, which is the first makeup brand to go plastic neutral, meaning for every kilogram of plastic it uses, it collects and recycles another kilogram.
Zao offers a range of organic, vegan and refillable makeup products.
You can mix and match its beautiful eye shadows in a refillable bamboo case (from £5.95 for each shade).
One easy thing you can do is stop using any kind of disposable cleansing or make-up remover wipes.
Most wipes contain plastic and can take a century to break down. Last year, a reef made from discarded wipes formed on the River Thames.
Use washable cotton pads instead.
Fact or fiction
“Planned obsolescence” is an environmentally harmful tactic some electrical brands use to increase sales.
The government introduced rules to make manufacturers offer spare parts. Good brands will offer extensive warranties.
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