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Best Ways to go Green
Tips by Michelle Garforth Venter and Riaan Venter on how to reduce your carbon footprint
Last Update 27 February 2017
Taken from the South African-published book Greenline, comes some incredible tips on how to walk the green line. Following some tips from the award-winning conservation journalist Michelle Garforth-Venter and ‘eco-warrior’ husband Riaan Venter, will enable you to do your bit for the environment which we are all trying to protect.
Greenline was published in 2011 and has a special emphasis on looking after the world we live in for ourselves and future generations. It provides practical tips on sustainable living and it simplified how to implement green initiatives in South African homes and the workplace; we have given you a few examples below…
Clean green: There are many natural plant-based, biodegradable soaps and detergents which are not only safe for the environment, but for your home too. Read the labels and try and buy ammonia- and chlorine-free cleaning products.
Be laundry wise: Always run your washing machine with a full load to get the most out of your water and energy use. Try and wash all your clothes in cold water – 90% of the energy used to wash clothing is in actual fact to heat the water.
Choose natural and organic cosmetics and personal care products: Read the labels and choose products that are paraben and sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate free – your body will thank you for choosing to do away with these harmful chemicals.
Install a water filter: Water filters are great to get clean and safe water without all the waste – fewer plastic bottles end up in our landfills and you will be reducing the amount of fuel consumed which is used to ship the water bottles.
Turn your toilet into a low flow toilet: Submerge a brick or a full plastic bottle into your toilet tank to reduce your water consumption and save the planet’s water one flush at a time.
Fix leaky taps and toilets: This is unnecessary wastage and you will be saving an enormous amount of water annually just by checking your taps and toilets are not leaking.
Invest in some houseplants: Houseplants produce fresh clean air, and absorb carbon dioxide and chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene.
Plant a tree: Remember that trees are the ‘lungs’ of our planet – this is a great way to offset your carbon usage as well as make a long-term investment in the world’s tree population.
Eat a vegetarian meal two or three times a week: A plant-based diet requires a lot less energy and water to produce than a meat-based diet.
Change all your light bulbs to CFL and LED: Every time one of your old tungsten light bulbs dies, replace it with a CFL or LED energy efficient bulb. These bulbs produce as much light as an incandescent bulb but use a fraction of the energy and are now available in all shapes and sizes.
Turn down your geyser thermostat and insulate your geyser: Insulating your water heater will reduce the heat loss by 25-45 percent.
Check the temperature and seals on your fridge and freezer: A fridge or freezer that is not sealed is reducing its efficiency.
Unplug your appliances: Even when most appliances are off they are still consuming large amounts of energy (your cell phone charger being one of the biggest culprits).
Invest in solar: Solar is no longer unaffordable – solar water systems (thermal) and energy systems (photovoltaic) are now available with a huge rebate from Eskom and come with handy payment plans.
Buy local: This reduces the carbon footprint of your product.
Stop buying plastic bags: This reduces the carbon footprint of your product. Plastic is the serial killer of the oceans – they don’t always end up in the landfill but often end up in our oceans where they start a deadly cycle of killing the marine life.
Check the pressure on your car tyres: This simple act will reduce the amount of fuel your car uses and in turn reduce your carbon emissions.
Recent graduates create Cape Town’s first net zero carbon home.
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