Be environmentally friendly with these easy ways to go green

by Stella
(Tavistock, Devon)

I grew up on a farm in the 1960s.

Being out in the countryside we had mains electricity but the water came from a well in the garden. Each day my dad would stand in the kitchen and pump up the water from the well into the tank in the roof. When the tank was empty he had to do it again.

A consequence of that was that we knew that we had to be careful with the water. In the summer it was even worse because the well got low.

Throughout the year we did not leave the tap running when we cleaned our teeth. This is a habit that has stayed with me into adult life.

In the summer, when the well was low, my sister and I had one 2 gallon bucket of hot water to share between us. We stood in the bath and used a sponge to get a strip wash. We used a jug to get water to wash our hair. Once the water in the bucket was gone, that was it; there was no more water. It didn't take long to learn to be very conscious of our water use.

To this day I hate to leave taps running.

Good habits that you learn young stay with you. I'm still very conscious of the environment and look for ways to take care of it. Now that I have to pay the bills too I'm always glad of things that save me money.

Recently my husband changed all the light bulbs in our house to energy efficient, low wattage, LED lights.

We also reduced our electricity bill slightly by being careful not to leave things turned on. Mobile phone charges still use electricity if they're left on, even if they're not charging the phone. We only turn the chargers on when we need to charge our phones.

Things like TVs and computers also use power if they're on standby. And how many things can you think of in your home that have little LED lights to show you that they're connected to the power supply? All those little lights use electricity.

I have battery clocks in my kitchen and old fashioned wind up clocks in other rooms. That way I don't need to have the clock on the cooker and the microwave on. The power use is small but over time it all adds up. The TV and computer get turned off at the wall every night when they're not in use.

Something else that was using loads of electricity was the fridge. It was fairly old and the compressor ran nearly all the time. We've recently replaced it with a new model that is air cooled and has a good energy rating. We Freecycled the old one, which still worked, so it didn't go to landfill.

When we had to replace the washing machine we looked for the highest energy rating. This lets you use a lower temperature and has a fast spin to get as much water as possible out of the clothes, so they dry quickly.

I don't have a tumble dryer either. All my laundry is hung on the line in the garden when the weather is good. If it's bad weather I have an airer that I dry things on. By putting the airer in a place where the radiator pipes run under the floor the washing dries overnight.

I have microfibre cloths for cleaning rather than using paper towels. I also use a lot of plain water and washing up liquid for cleaning. If you keep on top of things nothing gets really dirty and you don't have to use nasty chemicals to clean up.

In my kitchen I'm careful about waste. I plan meals that I know everyone will eat. That means I don't have loads of food left over that needs to be thrown away.

I take my own bags to the supermarket and use them over and over again.

By making meals from scratch I can save more money. It takes a little time but I make several meals at the same time and freeze them for when I need a "ready-meal". I can buy produce in season and save money by buying in bulk.

I buy all my meat in the local butchers. The animals are reared on local farms, so there's not loads of "food miles".

Veg peelings go on the compost heap.

There are tons of other ways of saving both money and being environmentally friendly.

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