So, 2016 is nearly over, and what a year it’s been! Once you’ve recovered from the New Year party, you should try extra hard to look after the planet in 2017, so let’s take a look at some green-themed New Year resolutions that you can make – and stick to – to make the world a better place.
Ditch bottled water
If you stop buying expensive bottled water and start using a home-based water filter and a reusable bottle (you can get some really cool aluminium or recycled plastic ones), you could save anything up to £900 a year. Even better, you’ll be saving some of the 1,500,000 barrels of oil used each year to make the disposable bottles!
Drop a degree
Whether you have gas-fired central heating or you use home heating oil, you can save anything up to 10% of your fuel use by just turning down the thermostat by a degree or two. It’s a good money saver, too.
Nix the plastic bags
It’s estimated that the world throws a million plastic bags into the rubbish every minute. Some bags are biodegradable, which is great, but how about going the whole hog and investing in some reusable ones? The only difficult part is remembering to bring them to the shops with you…
Forget about paper towels
We’ve got into a real habit of using kitchen paper for everything – cleaning the kitchen counter, mopping up spills, polishing mirrors. This is wasteful as thousands of tons of paper ends up in landfill every day. Swap over to cotton cloths – baby muslins or tea towels are ideal. You simply add them to a wash when they’re used. For best performance, however, don’t use fabric conditioner as it makes them less absorbent.
Get on your bike
No-one’s saying get rid of your car, but for trips of less than two miles, see if you can’t use your bike at least some of the time. There are so many benefits to this – you cut your carbon emissions, save money on petrol and you get a mini workout.
Have a meat-free Friday (and Saturday)
If you go veggie for just two days a week, you could cut your carbon footprint by up to a quarter of a ton each year! These days, it’s easy to create nutritious vegetarian or even vegan meals and if you make, say, a bean stew in bulk and freeze half of it, you’ll be saving even more energy.
Switch over to LED lights
It really is time to bite the bullet and swap out your old compact fluorescent bulbs, your halogen lights and especially your old filament bulbs for LEDs. The prices of LED lighting systems have come down quite a bit in recent years and the savings don’t stop there because these lights use less than 10% of the energy of older types. Plus, they last for years – literally! And, even better, you can choose a huge range of colour combinations, making them ideal for every room in the house.