Mr Lender’s Top Tips to Save Money Going Green

Published: 29/06/2021 and written by P Smith

There’s a common misconception that going green in your home is a costly process, but only a few small changes could actually contribute to reducing landfill waste, cleaning the air, and preserving the natural landscape, and will see you in the green. A lot of eco-friendly choices are also budget-friendly choices, so Mr Lender has come up with some small and easy green choices that you can make in your home.

GO PAPERLESS

Tree printing out paper

The UK uses about 12.5 million tons of paper each year, the number of trees needed to make this figure would cover about 21,000 square km which roughly equates to the size of Wales. Paper waste alone comprises 20% of all waste in the UK, but if we recycled 10% more paper each year we could save approximately 5 million trees. There are various ways in which we can make this figure attainable in our homes.

Choose to opt-out of any junk mail flyers, competition entries, and postal campaigns. The MPS offers a free service set up by the direct marketing industry to help people who don’t want to receive junk mail, or you can reduce the amount of ‘unaddressed’ mail you receive by registering with the Royal Mail’s door-to-door opt-out service.

Sign up for online banking, most financial institutions offer online banking services enabling users to view and pay bills with a click of a few buttons. You can also switch up all your statements to be digitalised as well.

Buy recycled toilet paper, people forget that paper products include toilet tissues, facial tissues, and paper towels. These products in particular are damaging trees and water at an alarming rate. Alternatively, try reusable fabric alternatives for stains on surface areas.

UNPLUG DEVICES

Extension plug

According to the ‘Energy Saving Trust’ simply making sure all your appliances are unplugged from the power source could save you  30 a year, although it’s not a life-changing amount of money it contributes on a more global scale of energy saving. This process of leaving plugs and chargers hooked up to power sources when not in use 24/7 is known as ‘vampire energy’. If you’re curious about how much electricity your appliances and electronics are using when they’re not doing anything, you can use a handheld electricity monitor. Plug one of these devices into an outlet, then plug each appliance into it one by one with the appliance turned off. A digital display will show you how many watts you’re using, and you can tally up a grand total to see how much electricity you can save by keeping them unplugged.

Try plugging multiple appliances into a power strip to save time unplugging multiple items before bed and going out. Also, charge your devices for a few hours during the day instead of leaving them overnight to carry on charging even when at 100%.

LIGHTBULBS

Light bulb

10% of the energy used in traditional incandescent bulbs is converted to light. The other 90% is lost as heat1 (hence the name ‘incandescent’, due to the glowing hot filament inside) Energy-saving trust states that if you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lights, you could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 65kg a year. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emitted by driving your car around 220 miles. There are many other contributing factors that when slightly altered could save you a lot of money on your bills.

– Always turn the lights off when leaving a room. The quickest way to start saving is just remembering to turn lights off when you don’t need them. The typical household could save almost  15 a year just by switching off the lights as you leave the room.

– Be aware of how many lights you have on in a room. If you have the main light on, do you need the lamp on too?

– Arrange light switches so it is easy to turn them off, for example, place switches for rooms at the door.

– Use sensors or timers on external lights, so they are only on when they           need to be.

– Consider using transparent shades or fittings, as a dark lampshade can absorb some of the light a bulb emits.

– Ensure that you regularly clean any lamp shades or fittings to increase the impact of the light.

RECHARGING

Rechargeable batteries

It goes without saying that rechargeable batteries are by far a more eco-friendly way in which to power your devices. Some devices though don’t warrant the need for rechargeable batteries as you end up charging them more often than you would replacing them, If you use any moderate to high current-draw devices often enough to change the batteries out every 30 to 60 days, these are good candidates for rechargeable batteries. When you change the batteries this often, the ability to recharge the same AAs saves you a lot of money in the long run.

– Invest in a good charger to prolong the life of your rechargeable batteries. They should continue to hold a charge up to between 500 and 800 charge cycles.

– Promptly remove batteries from the charger once they’re finished recharging. (This isn’t a concern if the charger automatically shuts off once                   charging is complete.)

– Keep a few regular batteries on hand as spares you can swap out if your rechargeable batteries run out of juice.

– Recycle your rechargeable batteries – as opposed to throwing them in the trash – once they lose their ability to hold a charge.

WASHING & DRYING CLOTHES

Washing line and washing machine

Washing and drying your clothes can be dirtier than you might think, the harm it has on the environment is quite shocking. Washing your clothes at 60 C and then drying them in a tumble drier can be five times more harmful to the environment than if you were to wash at 30 C and line drying your clothes. Washing on a cold wash will get your clothes just as clean without the money and energy spent having to heat the water. Dryers don’t even come with an ‘energy star’ rating, that’s how bad they are for the environment in terms of energy consumption. According to ‘What’s the carbon footprint of … a load of laundry’ Guardian article, a household running a dryer 200 times a year could save nearly half a tonne of CO2e by switching to a clothes rack or washing line. It kind of goes without saying but a simple way to save money on each wash is to do them less frequently and only when you have a full load. To make ironing clothes easier and more energyefficient, add a piece of tinfoil under your ironing board cover. The foil will help hold heat and allow you to iron more quickly or at a lower temperature. You can even cut out ironing altogether, if you plan what you’re going to wear, hang it on the back of the bathroom door as you shower or soak in the bath, the steam generated will smooth out any wrinkles.

WATER

Filling up a water bottle

According to ‘water technology engineering’ the average person in the UK produces 150 Litres of wastewater per day. This is far more than many of our European neighbours, (Denmark averages 80 litres) It is also 55% more water than we used in 1980. The pie chart below demonstrates which activities produce the most wastewater.

Water water pie chart

Simple habits that can be done in the home to reduce wastewater, are things like install sink water aerators. They are cheap and easy to install and massively reduce the flow of water from out of your sink. Stop leaving the tap running whilst cleaning your teeth, in some cases this uses up as much water as it does to flush a toilet. It comes as no surprise that having a shower uses up less water than taking a bath, but this isn’t always the case if you have an inefficient showerhead. Simply fitting a water-saving showerhead in your home could save you around 20 litres per shower.

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