MAKING your house greener doesn’t have to mean splashing out on a futuristic redesign.
In Day Four of our brilliant Green Team series, we reveal simple swaps and changes you can make around the home to shrink your carbon footprint — and save more than £2,000 into the bargain.
All this week we have been issuing a rallying cry to readers to make small changes that will have a big impact on the planet — and your pocket.
The Sun has teamed up with the global Count Us In initiative to urge readers to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Go to thesun.co.uk/pledge and sign up to as many eco-friendly pledges as you can manage and our special calculator will tell you how much carbon your changes will prevent from polluting the atmosphere.
All this week we are bringing you expert advice on how to make good on those commitments.
Today we cover the three pledges of Turn Down Your Heating, Insulate Your Home and Switch To Green Energy as we bring you top advice on how you can save money — and the environment — in rooms around the house.
Join The Sun’s ‘Green Team’ & save the planet
MAKING simple everyday changes can add up to a BIG difference to the planet.
And we want you and your family to join The Sun's Green Team – our eco revolution.
It can feel overwhelming to know how to play a part in reducing greenhouse gasses, but we will be showing you the practical steps we can take to curb climate change – with the help of the global ‘Count Us In’ initiative.
And our easy measures will even help you SAVE money so your household budget goes further.
We'll help you to reduce food waste, insulate your home, create tasty planet-friendly meals and take simple steps to trim your carbon footprint.
We want you to go online to sign-up to as many of our special Green Team pledges as you can manage and a special calculator will show you how much carbon you will personally save.
It won’t cost you a penny but the total you and your family will save will be added to the global ‘Count Us In’ total and the platform will support you every step of the way.
So tap here to pledge.
‘BEST’ PRACTICE: Families throw out around £13 of food per week – £700 a year – partly because we stick to “best before” dates, according to campaign group Love Food, Hate Waste. You can safely ignore these dates on most foods as they only show when it is past its best quality. But don’t ignore “use by” dates on meat, fish and dairy, as this could lead to food poisoning.
YEARLY SAVING: Up to £700
MEAT-FREE MONDAYS: Going veggie one day a week helps reduce the strain meat production puts on the environment, and it will also save you cash. An average meat-based meal costs around £1.83 per head, while a veggie one costs 61p.
YEARLY SAVING (family of four): £253
HIT THE MARKET: Fruit and veg can be around a third cheaper at a local market or greengrocer than in supermarkets, saving the average family almost £3 a week. By shopping local, you will also be more likely to buy produce that is in season, has lower food miles and less plastic packaging, all good news for the environment.
YEARLY SAVING: £140
WASH AT 30C: Modern washing machines clean just as well at 20C or 30C, and the energy saved compared to washing at 40C could put £10 a year back in your pocket. Make sure you pre-treat any tough stains though, and do a hot wash once a month to kill bacteria.
YEARLY SAVING: £10
DITCH DETERGENT: Swap detergent for ecoballs – plastic balls that clean and soften your clothes. Ecozone’s Ecoballs cost £21.99 and last for 1,000 washes. Laundry detergent, costing around £7, and fabric conditioner, costing around £3, will do around 40 washes.
YEARLY SAVING (based on three washes a week): £32
CLEAN SWEEP: Making your own cleaning products like Grandma used to costs around a sixth of buying them – and it cuts out the damaging chemicals and plastic packaging too. You can use bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice and distilled white vinegar to make effective surface and floor cleaners. Search online for home-made cleaning product instructions.
YEARLY SAVING: £20
Insulate your home for frree
PEOPLE on benefits can get free insulation or solar panels worth up to £10,000 under Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new Green Homes scheme.
Other families can get up to £5,000 to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of installing insulation or heating systems to make their home more energy efficient.
If you take up the first offer, you might also be eligible for money towards new double glazing, doors, draught-proofing or a smart meter.
Go online at simpleenergyadvice.org.uk to see what you could get
RETHINK INK: With so many of us now working and studying from home, families are going through printer ink cartridges quicker than ever. But you can stop old cartridges going to landfill – and get paid at the same time. Recycle yours at printercartridgerecycling.co.uk and get up to £2 per cartridge. Or get up to 125 Tesco Clubcard points per cartridge using therecyclingfactory.com. You can also save by buying refilled recycled cartridges from sites like stinkyinkshop.co.uk for less than half price.
YEARLY SAVING (based on buying six recycled cartridges compared to new): £114
RECYCLE OLD GADGETS: Don’t throw away old mobile phones and office equipment when you can get paid to recycle them. Sites such as mazumamobile.com and musicmagpie.co.uk will pay cash for recent models. An unlocked iPhone 8 in good condition will fetch £160 to £180. And even old models may be worth more than you think. Millennium favourite the Nokia 3310 now sells on eBay for up to £20.
SAVING (selling one old phone): £180
The seven pledges
- Eat more plants
- Cut food waste
- Turn down heating
- Insulate your home
- Switch to green energy
- Repair & re-use things
- Drive an electric car
LATHER UP: Swapping shower gel and shampoo for soap and shampoo bars means fewer plastic bottles, which take energy to make and end up in landfill or the sea. Shampoo bars cost more to buy – around £7.50 each – but last much longer, saving you money in the long-run. You may also have to buy a storage tin for around £2.50 to stop your bar breaking up too quickly.
YEARLY SAVING: £50
HEADS UP: Eco shower heads reduce the amount of water you use in the shower but keep the same pressure by pushing air through with the water flow. They cost around £30 but could save a family of four £115 off their water bill and £70 off their energy bill, according to the Energy Saving Trust. They work on mains water showers but might cause electric showers to overheat, so check your manual before installing one. Some water companies give them away for free so it is worth contacting yours to ask about that and any other freebies.
YEARLY SAVING: £155 first year and up to £185 after
STAY FLUSH: Choosing the short flush instead of the full flush when you go to the toilet uses just six litres of water instead of 13 litres. If your toilet does not have both options, you can request a free save-a-flush bag from your water provider. The bag sits in the cistern and prevents it from filling up as much. However, some customers complain it makes it tricky to do a full flush when needed as you have to remove the bag.
YEARLY SAVING (family of four): £275
LED THE WAY: Energy-saving LED light bulbs cost slightly more than traditional bulbs but last two or three times longer. Overall you save around £2 per lamp per year as you buy fewer bulbs. They can also cut the cost of your energy bills by around £35 per year.
YEARLY SAVING (based on ten bulbs): £55
TURN IT DOWN: Turning down your thermostat by just one degree saves 340kg of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere each year – and cuts £75 off your bill. The Energy Saving Trust recommends you set your heating no higher than 21C, only use it when you need it and wear a jumper inside first if it gets chilly.
YEARLY SAVING: £75
DRIVE AWAY DRAUGHTS: Draught-proofing windows and doors in the average semi-detached home will cut £20 a year from heating bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Exiseal, a plastic tape costing from £1.50 per metre, can be used to seal gaps in windows over winter. Or simply try putting up curtains and placing draught excluders across the bottom of doors to keep heat in.
YEARLY SAVING: £20
IF you own Britain’s oldest fridge, freezer, washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher or oven, we could help you win a free replacement.
The Sun is searching for the country’s most ancient appliances or gadgets – and we have teamed up with Currys PC World to swap them for modern versions that are cheaper to run and better for the planet.
Decades-old kit uses more energy to run, releases more carbon dioxide and increases your energy bills.
The average family could save up to £80 a year by replacing a fridge-freezer from 1995.
Gary Smith hit the headlines in 2011 when he revealed he was using a 1930s Parkinson Paragon cooker. It cost £61 a year in gas and pumped out 177kg of CO2. A modern one costs just £12 to run, with 50kg of CO2.
To win a fridge, freezer, oven, washing machine, dishwasher or microwave, email its name, age and a picture to daniel. [email protected] co.uk. We’d also love to see your ancient hair-dryers, food processors or other gadgets
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]
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