Small Changes

I have started using Energy Saving Light Bulbs which although initally expensive can be bought when on offer in bulk [both dunnes and woodies have them at 5 for 5euro which is fantastic],they last years and save on waste and money. So now is a good time to go out and buy some. Changing the type of light bulb you use may not seem like a big change but will make a difference.

I am changing the cleaning products I use from generic somewhat toxic brightly coloured stuff [which doesnt break down but goes into our ground water] to Ecover, a fantastic company that sell a wide range of cleaning products that are biodegradable for both the home and the office. As an asthmatic, I find them much easier to use in a small closed area like a bathroom.

If you want to go one step further, you can make your own cleaning products, use distilled white vinegar for bathtubs and tiles and glass shower doors, bread soda and warm water to descale your kettle overnight, lemon juice and milk for difficult stains on clothes[linen&cotton type materials] or even putting white vinegar in with my washing liquid to whiten my clothes or tea cloths.  I made up a bottle of vinegar with lavender oil andwater for cleaning bathroom surfaces and windows.

Switch off the water when you are washing your teeth, seriously this really saves on water and with water rates coming into Ireland next year, we all need to learn how to conserve water. Shower rather then have a bath, again this saves water. I shower during the week and indulge in one bath at the weekend after a hard days gardening. Make a bath a treat rather then a daily event, lit some candles, scatter some flower petals, pour yourself a glass of chilled white wine, put on some relaxing music [in the next room-you dont want to get a electric shock or worse!] and sink into a heavenly bubble bath…As you might have guessed, I do love my bath but a quick shower during the week keeps me clean and can be a pleasant contrast particularly in the sticky humid days of August.

Reuse your jam jars, they are one of the handiest things to have in a kitchen and you are cutting down on waste by reusing them over and over. Needless to say, bring your wine and beer bottles to the bottle bank, its great excerise, oddly satisfying when you hear the smash smash of those old bottles and before you know you’re recycling! There, that wasnt too hard was it.

Switch off light when you’re not in the room, never leave TVs or PCs on standby, these eat up massive amounts of electricity and emit radiation over time. Switch to wind energy if its available in your area or better yet, if you can afford it, buy a small wind turbine for domestic use and if your budget allows, solar panels on the roof to heat your water.Buy a water tank for collecting rainwater off the roof which can be used for the toliet and any number of things.

Insulate!Insulate!Insulate! This is one of the best things you will ever do, buy a jacket for your water tank, we bought a new one last year and its surprising how much faster the water heats up and how much longer the tank retains the heat.Insulate your attic, ours is lightly insulated but I plan to put down another layer before winter this year as most of the heat in a house escapes through the roof. Again you will be cutting down on your heating bills which will also be putting less pressure on the worlds resources. Insulate your doors and windows, if there are any cracks buy some putty, put up lined curtains, put in double glazing if you can afford it…

Buy a Compost Bin, in Ireland you can go to your county council and buy on there at a much cheaper price then in garden centres and the like. We bought our compost bin for just under forty euro, when it would cost twice that elsewhere. They wont attract rodents unless they are being used incorrectly. We have had ours for over a year and have never seen a mouse in case you were worried about that.Put all your food scraps, apart from meat, into it everyday and keep pushing it down and if possible, turning it with a spade until you have beautiful dark organic compost!

There is s much more you can do but it is late and I am off to bed, so I will wish you good night with the words of a favourite childhood tv program of mine, Captain Planet: ‘ The Power is yours! 🙂

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