Thursday, 9 December 2010

Suggestions please

I am going to accept a challenge - if I can get a few ideas. The challenge is to try to be a little more green and to stop doing something and to start doing something in order to achieve this. My problem is that I am struggling to come up with anything. Now I am not claiming to have a zero carbon footprint so let me explain my dilemma.
We are very fortunate to have a Local Authority who provide us with a recycling bin into which we can put all food waste, both cooked and uncooked, plus cardboard and shredded paper and garden waste and which they then turn into compost which can be bought back at a very reasonable price. We have another bin for the paper waste like magazines thick cardboard, plastic bottles and tins and which they also recycle. I usually buy my fruit and veg from shops where they sell it to you loose in a paper bag. I buy my meat from a proper butcher so the packaging is minimal but necessary. I make my own "ready" meals and freeze them in re-usable plastic containers. I take my glass to the bottle bank.
I walk to the local shops if I can and if I don't have too much to carry back. If I go into Ipswich I use the Park and Ride. Otherwise there is no proper public transport so I have to use my car. I can't turn the heating down because my husband is disabled and feels the cold terribly. In the summer I try to collect the water that I wash veg in, or have to run to get the hot water come through but I don't know what to do with that in the winter. I also think that you need to be careful that you don't forget that the drain needs a good flush of water through it fairly regularly. We don't have a bath in our house (yes, we do have showers!) so we don't get the flush through the drain from that. I wash almost everything at 30 degrees and don't use biological products. If I do a hot wash I make sure I have a full load in the machine. In the summer I hang the washing out but do use the dryer for sheets etc in the winter.
I turn the tap off when I am brushing my teeth. I don't leave things on standby. I am replacing bulbs with low energy as and when I can afford them (although it seems there may be issues about how they are recycled) I have been told that it isn't a good idea to turn them on and off all the time so I am a bit unsure about that. I use the mains rather than batteries where feasible. We even live within a five minute drive of the Municipal Dump and we save things up to take there.
I try to bake in batches so that I use the whole oven, and then freeze some. I foraged blackberries in the autumn and made them into seedless jam. Veg that is getting a bit tired is made into soup.
So, what else could I do, or stop doing, to be that bit greener? As my nana used to say, I am not as green as I am cabbage looking, although that was a different sort of green!


  1. Jay you are a positive influence on us all! What you do in the way of 'green living' is commendable.

    The only suggestion I can make is to perhaps start your own vegetable/herb garden, although now is not the time of year.

    I'm stumped...

  2. Great post! Have you thought about going down the Zero Waste route? Here is a great website for ideas (not mine)

    Instead of always thinking about recycling it is about refusing first so there is no need to recycle anything. I've been trying to do this for the past six months and it has been tough at times but hopefully we will get there one day. My goal is that I don't have to worry about putting the rubbish out. Another thing I've been trying to do is not buy products in plastic but this is proving hard as well. Hope this helps.

  3. I think you're doing pretty fine already. When replacing technical stuff, I am sure you make sure to by environmentally friendly devices.

    As for the light bulbs... there are energy saving light bulbs (slightly more expensive) that can stand being switched on/off more often, e.g. for use with motion sensors. I take the thumb rule that stuff is switched off if I don't use it in the next 20 minutes, since if you switch things on and off with shorter intervals the effects seem to be rather negative (shorter life spans, huge impact on electricity bill).

  4. Flippin' heck I got exhausted just reading that!! Sorry - have nothing constructive to offer ;)

  5. A few ideas: - use Freecycling rather than dumping - Use old style cleaning products eg bicarb, vinegar etc or there more expensive modern equivalents eg Method/Ecover there are some great 'war-time' books out there at the moment full of household tips :) Ohh and of course don't do any ironing, saves power.

  6. oops that should have been their!

  7. Totally brilliant Janet and some great suggestions too (totally agree with Grethic's no ironing idea lol ;0) )

    Love the idea about the solar powered battery charger we've talked about and the link to the USB battery I mentioned is (however they only cover AAs).

    Other interesting challenges include, where you have to buy stuff in plastic\cardboard packaging, you could check the labelling to see if it's made from recycled material and if the manufacturer has made attempts to shrink the packaging, so they are not shipping so much air. some retailers e.g. M&S now also state on their clothing price tags whether the tag is made from recycled paper.

    If you need any more ideas, give us a shout. Still feeling woolly headed from this flu thing but happy to help as always :0)