Single-use water bottles are a major source of plastic pollution – they are the most common manmade item washed up on beaches around the world, and bottle caps are frequently ingested by sea birds and other marine wildlife. So make the switch to a reusable bottle filled from a tap.
Coffee cups might look and feel like paper, but it’s plastic that makes them leak-proof, and around 2.5 billion are thrown away every year in the UK. But with the UK’s biggest coffee shop chains now offering a discount to customers who bring their own reusable cup, there’s really no excuse for using a throwaway.
Saving water in rain-soaked Britain may not seem an environmental priority, but even if we had an endless supply of fresh H2O, the treatment of waste water consumes energy and creates its own pollution. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your water consumption without major lifestyle changes.
• Always put full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher to eliminate unnecessary use.
• Install a water butt to collect fresh water for use in your garden or washing the car.
• Place a displacement device in your toilet cistern to reduce the volume of water used in each flush.
• Fit an aerated shower head for a full-power-shower feeling without excess water use.
Waste to landfill
The amount of food waste in the UK is estimated to be around 10 million tonnes per year, with much of that produced by households. So if your local council doesn’t provide food waste recycling bins, what can you do? The simplest step is to buy only what you need, which has the dual benefit of reducing waste and saving you money. The next step is to compost your food waste at home. Composting is a natural process that converts kitchen waste into a nutrient-rich fertiliser that’s great for your garden or plant pots. And all you need to get started is a small composting bin.
On average, two thirds of the energy used in UK homes goes on heating, so if you’re looking to cut your consumption, this is the place to start. The simplest and most effective action is to turn down your thermostat. And if you’re worried you’ll be cold when temperature drops, fit reflector panels behind your radiators to direct the heat energy into the room, not the wall. Another quick win is to switch off electrical devices when they’re not in use – don’t leave them on standby. Set-top digital TV boxes, charged laptops, games consoles and desktop PCs are the main offenders – so give them a break and power down at night.