The dwindling drinking water is turning into a global problem, as opposed to something notoriously only happening somewhere in Africa. We can’t expect to start being mindful with water use as a species – the change in mentality comes from an individual, who contributes little, yet serves as a great example. Conserving water doesn’t mean being paranoid about the water problem, it means being reasonable enough to know how to limit the excessive water usage.
Seeing as how smart water use starts at your very own doorstep, here are some great ways to conserve water at home.
Learn when to turn it off
Quite honestly, this shouldn’t even be a thing of debate; turning the faucet off when you’re not using it seems pretty obvious, when you think about it. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit – the decades of ignorance have led us to take water for granted. However, even if all the world’s drinking water was for us to take (which it isn’t), there simply won’t be enough of it around for us to exploit, before long.
On a more down-to-earth note, here’s what we’re talking about here: turning the faucet/shower off when it’s not in use. For example, there is virtually no reason to keep the faucet running while brushing your teeth – this can take as much as five minutes, which is a whole lot of water spent for no particular reason. The same goes for showers: turning the faucet off while applying soap and scrubbing can save gallons per session!
We could list all kinds of examples that range from washing the dishes, to watering your lawn, but most of us are well-aware of our spending; we’re just too stubborn to change. Well, change! Our planet deserves it.
Install low-flow faucets and showerheads
It may not seem like a big deal, but a low-flow faucet in the kitchen can cut your water spending, let alone a low-flow showerhead! Sure, these do tend to be more expensive than your regular faucets and showerheads, but consider what limiting the water flow entails; yep, less water spent means a curbed water bill!
Jumping from the comfort of a high-pressure to a limited water flow may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but you won’t even notice it after a while, especially when it comes to faucets.
Check for leaks
If your kitchen or bathroom floor is wet frequently, chances are that you have a leak somewhere that can account for that nasty wet sock feeling, but more importantly, for water wasting. Check all of your appliances, from the shower to the bidet and try limiting yourself to as few of these as possible. For example, there is no need to install an actual bidet – for instance, a reputable Australian bidet company offers bidets as toilet attachments, which are very convenient, spend less water than an actual bidet and save you the trouble and the space.
Low-flow toilets are vital
Your regular toilet might not seem like a water guzzler, but make no mistake about it – on average, the toilet accounts for 28% of water use per home, or as much as 7 gallons per flush! This is a huge deal, and it should not go unchecked, especially owing to the fact that low-flow toilets can be flushed two times and still save you a gallon or two. Even if you don’t care enough about our planet’s underlying water problem, you’ll still end up saving money in the long run!
Conserving water starts at your very own doorstep. There’s a whole lot you can do that can serve the purpose of helping our planet and your pocket, simultaneously! Be conscious about keeping those faucets and showers running when not necessary and opt for low-flow kitchen and bathroom appliances. Oh, and be sure to check for leaks; where there’s a puddle, there’s wasted water.
Energy production, consumption and distribution continues to become an ever more concerning issue as we venture further into the twenty-first century.
New and emerging technologies are radically changing the ways in which we consider our energy usage. Solutions, power plants and even levels of consumer influence are all set to transform in the years ahead.
From green and renewable sources to smart connectivity, there’s an abundance of reasons to be excited about the latest developments and what they mean for our future.
To aid you in understanding what’s in store for energy production, we’ve discussed and listed our predictions for the future of energy below.
Energy Predictions - What Is The Future Of Energy? - YouTube
This May, Boyan Slat and his team of The Ocean Cleanup will launch their first fully operational Ocean Cleanup system in the Great Pacific Ocean. The system intends to collect vast amounts of plastic within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. There is a general consensus that a colossal 6 to 8 billion metric tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans each year. Scientist estimate that 100,000 sea mammals and millions of sea birds and fish deaths each year are caused by plastic ingestion or entanglement.
Tragically, plastic disintegrates fast in the ocean. The influence of salt water and the Sun’s UV-rays contribute to the decomposition of plastic in ever smaller pieces that end up in the marine food chain. The Ocean Cleanup system is here to put a stop to this development by remediating 50% of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch before 2026. At Greenmatch we write about renewable energy solutions and report on the progress of initiatives like The Ocean Cleanup.
The Ocean Cleanup managed to develop a system that is able to collect floating pieces of plastic debris. Although this is a victory for environmentalist, no lasting comfort can be taken from that. Humans have to come up with plastic remediation solutions that can operate in areas where the Ocean Cleanup system will not work. This project is merely the beginning and not an end solution to the problem of marine plastic waste.
As reported by National Geographic magazine, Chile's government has delivered on its promise to add more land to the stunning wilderness of Patagonia Park, one of the nation's newest national parks, in conjunction with conservationist Kristine Tomkins.
Patagonia Park is already a haven for extraordinary wildlife, including the extremely rare and critically endangered huemul, a kind of deer, plus astonishing birds like the condor and Darwin’s rhea. The announcement should help conserve these wonders for the future.
Congratulations to Chile's President, thanks to the Tompkins'
The Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has declared a major expansion of his country's national parklands, creating two brand new parks and protecting enormous chunks of rainforest, grassland and other types of unique wilderness for future generations.
This is an extraordinary move in a world where short termism and greed so often win out over conservation-minded long term thinking. In Bachelet's words, “With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we… expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres, thus, national parks in Chile will increase by 38.5% to account for 81.1% of Chile’s protected areas.”
The announcement is music to the ears of conservationists, for whom news this good is a rarity. It's an incredible achievement for the conservation movement worldwide and proves that where there's a will, there's a way.
Music to the ears of conservationists
This is probably the world’s biggest ever donation of private land, thanks to two US philanthropist Kristine Tompkins and her late husband Doug, who together ran the highly respected Tompkins Conservation organisation.
Kristine has gifted the Chilean government just over a million acres of land, which the couple bought and protected over the decades, and the Chilean government has contributed nearly nine million acres of federally owned land. The result is a huge protected area roughly the size of Switzerland, a place rich in huge snow-capped mountains, vast canyons, fjords, white water rivers and enormous coastal volcanoes.
By reducing the amount of natural resources you consume, reusing items that would otherwise go to waste, and recycling trash so it can be re-purposed, you’re helping ensure a brighter future for the children of today. However, planning for the future not only includes taking steps in the present day, but also preparing for tomorrow. By teaching children good conservation practices today, you’ll contribute to a cleaner future. Children who learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle now will gain the foundation they need to pass those practices on to their children and continue preserving natural resources.
Although you may live the principles of “reduce, reuse and recycle” every day in your life, it might be difficult for your children to see what you’re doing and understand why it’s important. Getting your kids involved in your efforts to reduce your family’s environmental footprint is a great way to inspire them to make eco-friendly choices later in life. There are numerous ways to teach your children how.
For example, you could help your kids learn the importance of reducing the amount of waste they generate during your regular trips to the grocery store. You can explain to them why you use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic or paper ones from the store. You can encourage them to help you find the products that use the least amount of packaging such as bulk breakfast cereals.
Helping your kids understand the importance of reusing can be as easy as encouraging them to donate their old, unwanted toys or books. You could use refillable soap dispensers and ditch paper napkins in favor of cloth. Attempting to repair damaged or broken toys before getting rid of them also helps teach kids that simply throwing items away is often extremely wasteful. Finally, asking your kids to help around the house by separating waste into recyclable and non-recyclable trash can teach them the principles of recycling and why it’s good for the environment.
There are so many ways to get your kids involved in good sustainability practices around the home. The following guide includes many of the best ideas. You reduce, reuse and recycle because you want to leave behind the best possible world for your children. It’s important to help kids understand that they need to take responsibility, too.
When entrepreneurs start planning their company, the last thing they think about is waste management. However, this can be costly if not done correctly and prove to be a challenge to business owners across the country who have no experience with waste disposal.
Waste management is one area that business owners must consider when starting out, as it can account for 4-5% of a company’s overall turnover — businesses could experience highs of 10% of gross profits.
If employers do not want to act appropriately and ethically when disposing waste, these fees can be detrimental to their business. With rising landfill taxes, as well as recycling and sustainability becoming a main concern within ethical business principles, creating a reliable waste management solution is more important than ever for any forward-thinking business that is looking to make a change.
A business’ duty of care
Organisations throughout the UK have a responsibility to effectively dispose their waste — staying in line with guidelines set out in UK legislation. The requirements that you should meet are broadly as follows:
Adopt the Waste Hierarchy principles in order to keep waste to a minimum by preventing, reusing, recycling, and recovering waste where possible.
Store or sort waste securely in a safe environment.
Complete a waste transfer note for each load of waste that leaves the premises.
Check to establish whether your waste carrier is registered. This can be done by visiting the official Environment Agency
Do not let your waste carrier dispose of waste illegally. As a producer of waste, the legal responsibility for safe and correct disposal falls on you, and not the waste carrier. You have a responsibility to ensure safe disposal through an auditable document trail.
Securing waste as a business
Businesses are responsible for storing waste to ensure public safety, they should:
Use suitable and EU-approved containers to prevent leakage.
Label containers in a way which clearly stipulates what type of waste they contain.
Use waterproof covers — where appropriate — so that no contaminated run-offs are created.
Use lockable containers to safeguard your waste.
Removing waste from your business site
Businesses that want to remove the non-hazardous waste that they produce must complete a waste transfer note — an alternative that could be used is an invoice that holds the same information.
To fill out a transfer note, whether this is a singular or a series which allows you to account for many loads in the future, you must register with the correct authorities.
Your organisation and any sub-contracts must:
Fill in the sections of the note that applies to them.
Keep a copy for two years.
Be able to present it to an enforcement officer from the local council or the Environment Agency, if requested.
How to reduce the costly removal of waste
Reducing external cost for waste management is a goal that businesses should have. However, this can be a leap in the dark if business owners are uncertain of how to do this effectively.
To discover how much material and what type of material you’re using, start segregating and monitoring regularly. From this, you can set your strategy, highlighting your own targets and goals to ensure the best results possible when it comes to disposal.
Businesses that produce waste must be aware of TEEP — technically, environmentally and economically practicable. This determines whether a business should segregate and store various types of produced waste within the business premises prior to its collection by a waste management contractor you have teamed up with.
Businesses in Britain, which produces commercial and municipal waste, is required to manage its waste responsibly — according to the Waste Framework set out by the EU. It can use a third party to achieve this, but businesses will continue to remain responsible. There are many reasons as to why a business may need to separate the waste that they have produced, and one which stands with the highest ethical standard is whether there will be an environmental benefit or reduce a negative that currently exists.
How much waste are you producing?
Teaming up with a waste management company will allow your business to have a greater insight on the waste you produce, showing the volumes and cost. Through waste management portals, each business can have tailored permissions that help provide them with an overview of waste statistics and management information.
To test the waters of how much waste your business is producing, and before going down the route of using a waste management contractor, it might be worth visually assessing how much waste your organisation is disposing on a regular basis. Monitor the bins over a week until they are collected by noting how much waste a bin holds and how full it is before the collection date.
It’s important for businesses to test the waters by reducing the amount of waste collections and see how much time it takes until there is too much waste in your bins — this can lead executives to make better decisions when disposing. They will have to deal with the limited bin space they have for waste, ensuring that every decision is important.
Landfill tax over the years has been increasing, so carrying out these assessments are essential to ensure a smooth business process in terms of waste management strategies.
By 1st of April 2018, landfill tax will raise to £88.95. With the cost of landfill waste rising year or year, it’s clear that businesses need to ensure that their waste solution systems are driven towards recyclable methods to keep the costs of landfill waste to a minimum.
This article was brought to you by Reconony, which has an unrivalled skip hire coverage that can help your business save money.
Some manufacturers may claim a “green mattress”, but do those claims hold true when there are no set standards? In some ways they do, but consumers have to understand what those certifications really mean. Knowing how to read and discern which certifications are more important, you can make choices that support you and your family’s health as well as the health of the environment.
What Does “Green” Really Mean?
The term green, when applied to a mattress, doesn’t apply to a defined standard. Along with terms like natural, organic, or all-natural, green could mean that one component of the mattress is biodegradable or it may indicate that the cotton used to make the outer cover of the mattress was grown and harvested without pesticides. Mattresses are made of many components and materials, which makes it difficult to find one that’s entirely green.
Certifications give you a better idea of what’s in the mattress and the environmental footprint left behind, but not all certifications are equal. Try looking for certifications from organizations that focus on environmentally-friendly practices, social responsibility, human health issues. That may mean the mattress has several certifications because some organizations focus on human health issues while others monitor the use of pesticides and chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
A few worth watching for include:
Eco-Institut: This German accreditation organization tests building products and textiles for harmful emissions and substances. When it comes to mattresses, they mostly monitor the latex industry, which also happens to produce some of the most environmentally-friendly mattresses on the market.
GreenGuard: If you’re worried about harmful emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), look for a GreenGuard certification.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100: OEKO-TEX tests textiles for harmful substances and checks all aspects of the materials for potential health threats.
If environmental impact concerns you, look for one or more of these:
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS certification deals with organic fibers both of the raw materials and the completed textiles. They focus on the environment and social sustainability of products while also monitoring human health issues.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS): GOLS works hand in hand with GOTS, but they specifically target latex. Latex can be either biodegradable, as in the case of natural latex, or not, as with synthetic latex made from petroleum products. They make sure that any latex labeled as “natural” meets certain benchmarks.
There are many other certifications used for mattresses. Be sure to research any with which you might be unfamiliar.
Check Certifications and Find the Right Mattress
With an eye out for the right certifications and knowing what they mean, you can find a mattress that’s environmentally or socially friendly. Start by checking the list of materials used to make the mattress. Some materials like foam can be hard to find in any green form because most foams are made using petrochemicals. The steel found in innerspring mattresses goes through industrial processes that also involve chemicals. And, hybrids use elements of both foam and innerspring mattresses. With these types of mattresses, look for elements and components that are eco-friendly rather than an entire mattress.
However, latex mattresses overall have less exposure to chemicals and harmful manufacturing processes. You want to look for a high percentage of natural latex versus synthetic latex. Natural latex comes from a rubber tree, which makes it sustainable and biodegradable. Be aware that many mattresses use both kinds of latex, so look for the highest percentage of natural latex as possible.
With an eye out for the right certifications, you can find a mattress that won’t clog landfills and reduces the impact on future generations.
According to the World Health Organization, green spaces contribute to reducing air pollution, tackling obesity, and improving mental and physical health, amongst over benefits. Governments are now placing huge emphasis on sustainability, welfare and thoughtful urban planning; for example, Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay are the wonderful culmination of urban planning, green space and art for the benefit of the city’s public.
To give an idea of how much our green spaces might be worth, Flymo has been looking at green spaces in twelve of the world’s most highly populated urban areas, where this space is most limited. By taking twelve of the world’s most famous parks and working out their potential minimum value if they were turned into apartments, it was found just how much green space is worth to a city,
Just like your main building, your granny flat and outdoor rooms can also be environmentally friendly. All you need to do is use the right materials and be smart about the design, and your home addition will be eco-friendly and beautiful. Here are some great tips you must check out before you start your building.
No matter the materials and efficiency of fixtures, if you have a large addition to your property, you will leave a bigger footprint. A larger outdoor room will require more turf to be destroyed and paved, while a large granny flat will require more materials, stronger cooling and heating and more electricity. Unless you need all that extra space, keep things small and compact.
If you want to ensure minimum energy gets wasted during your granny flat cooling and heating process, your property has to be well insulated. How much insulation you need will greatly depend on your climate, and the proximity of trees and other buildings that might provide shade during the summer and some protection from the wind during winter. In most cases, the R-value ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 for your ceilings is a good choice, both in cold and warm climates. The best way to insulate walls is to use both thermal and acoustic insulation that will make your granny flat a peaceful and pleasant place.
Positioning of the property
Location is one of the most important things if you want to be green. For instance, if you want to reduce energy consumption in the granny flat, you have to have an adequately positioned space. If the building is surrounded by trees, this might mean the interior will be better protected from direct scorching sunlight in the summer. Additionally, when winter comes, naked branches will allow the sunlight to pass all the way to your windows and provide you with extra warmth. You should also think through the position of your outdoor room. If your location is well shaded and protected from the elements, you won’t need much cover to keep the space pleasant all year round.
When building your outdoor room or granny flat, it’s important to use sustainable, repurposed or green materials to make sure your addition has a minimal effect on the environment. Today, there are many green materials you can choose from, so there is practically no excuse. Locally harvested wood can be a good choice since it doesn’t require long transport hours. Additionally, eco-friendly flooring options like sustainable bamboo and cork are also great solutions. When it comes to fabrics, try to opt for carpets made of natural materials like jute, hemp, coir, sisal or wool. Some companies provide completely custom design, so consult with your trusted granny flat builders during the material choosing stage, and they will surely provide you with valuable insight and extra advice.
When equipping your outdoor room or granny flat, your greenest option is to buy recycled or repurposed items. Buying cheap store furniture pieces is not a very green option since these materials usually contain a lot of toxins and waste a lot of energy during their production process. Also, make sure to choose durable materials, especially for your outdoor room that will be exposed to the elements.
Green walls and partitions
If you want to boost “the green” in your granny flat or outdoor room, you might want to invest in some extra greenery. Green walls and partitions will offer you an opportunity to have a lot of plants in your property, even if you lack the square footage. Additionally, green walls offer great shade, provide clean air and extra thermal and acoustic insulation. And, as a cherry on top, they look amazing both indoors and outdoors.
Your granny flat and outdoor room can be very energy-efficient as long as you provide them with Energy Star appliances and proper lighting. For instance, equip the interior with high-quality and efficient fridge and microwave, and concentrate on using LEDs for lighting. These fixtures will look amazing and save you some money along the way. The same goes for water. Install low-flow toilets, showers and faucets that waste a lot less water than your traditional fixtures.
Granny flats or outdoor rooms are a great addition to your home. And if you want to make them green and sustainable, you’ll be doing a lot of good for the planet and future generations.
Despite numerous perks, the problem with the modern world is that it’s closer to extinction that we can realise. By doing lots of things that have a negative impact on our planet, we have jeopardised the future of Mother Earth and everyone living on it, and it’s high time we did something about it. Making a positive change is never easy, but you need to make an example and start with your own personal space before moving onto bigger and better things. Making your home eco-friendly requires quite a lot of time, money and energy, yet you can’t put a price on knowing that you’ve done something good and actually made a considerable difference in your own micro-system. That’s why we all need to turn our houses greener than ever, and here are a few ways to do so.
Reuse, recycle and repurpose
Not that many people know this, but the amount of second-hand materials available to you is extraordinary – just because you’re not using these doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So, if you’re planning to build your own house from scratch, make sure you pack it with second-hand timber, wood, steel and glass. You can also think about using materials made from waste products – newspaper wood, bottle bricks and wine cork panels are just some of the ideas you could look into and make your home greener that way.
Install solar panels
This might be sound a complex and difficult idea at first, but it’s actually one of the most effective ways to elevate the overall sustainability of your house. If you have a spacious roof, be sure to fill it with solar panels that can produce a significant amount of energy and actually power up your kitchen devices or light up your place. Moreover, this is the way to lower your electric bill month after month and actually start saving a huge amount of money you can use for other eco-friendly purposes.
Build a greenhouse
What better way to make your house greener than by building a greenhouse right next to it? If planned, designed and executed properly, your greenhouse can be more beneficial than you’ve ever thought, but be extra careful when doing so this. No matter how handy you are and how small this project seems, you still need to use adequate safety clothing in order to make sure you don’t hurt yourself and endanger your life. Keep in mind that even a small greenhouse has a number of benefits – from making the air around your home much cleaner and more pleasant, to saving you a ton of money on vegetables you would otherwise purchase in a supermarket. This way, your family will always have healthier, more natural and totally safe food in front of them every day of the week, which is quite great in the long run.
Use LED bulbs
This could easily be the oldest trick the book, yet its efficiency and practicality are amazing. Using LED light bulbs instead of regular ones could save you a significant amount of money, but also make your living space healthier and cozier at the same time. The technology of LED bulbs has advanced quite a bit in the past couple of years, and you could easily find a whole range of models that might suit you aesthetically and visually. Finally, these bulbs are among the best ways to show your visitors and guests how eco-friendly and environmentally-aware you are, and that’s always appreciated.
Turn off appliances
This is another popular method of making your home greener and it’s quite easy too! All you need to do is remember to turn off your computer, printer, kettle and oven after you’ve finished using them instead of leaving them on all night long. Some people even unplug their appliances just to be safe, and the amount of money you can save in a year is definitely worth all the extra effort. Therefore, think about this idea and start turning off your appliances as soon as possible.
Turning down your thermostat, installing double-glazed windows, furnishing with recycled furniture, using eco-friendly wall paint, as well as adding a few plants here and there are a few additional ways to make your home greener than ever, so try these ideas out and start practising them on a regular basis.