Want to be a green superhero and save the world? We asked 10 charities and organisations to share their top tips on what you can do to help the earth!
1. Grab a green tariff
If you’re sick of all those websites telling you to compare your insurance rates, we’d like to introduce you to a slightly different one. Greenhelpline is a green energy comparison site that scours the web for the cheapest – and most environmentally responsible – packages around. Simply put in your postcode and your current supplier, and greenhelpline will compare your rates against all of the energy-saving or environmentally friendly tariffs that UK suppliers offer in your area. The bonus is, while you’re helping save the world, it could also save you money!
2. Flick the switch!
Switching to a green tariff is one thing, but switching things off is just as important, and Energy Saving Trust provides loads of free advice online and in print. Most of the tips are really simple, everyday things you can change easily – like making sure you switch the TV off when you’re not watching it, or not charging your phone all night when it really only takes a couple of hours. They can even help you go one step further; if you’re thinking of upgrading your appliances to be more environmentally friendly, the website can recommend certain products that will enable you to be energy-efficient for life. Fancy a solar-powered home? With a solar feed-in tariff, it’s cheaper than you might think.
3. Be e-fficient with your waste
e-waste is the UK’s fastest-growing waste stream, as most of the time we just don’t know what to do with our old appliances – unless it’s a phone, thanks to the countless “cash-for-your-old-mobile” ads on TV. Environmental Investigation Agency suggest that if you really need to replace your TV, your fridge, or your washing machine, get in touch with your local council. Most councils operate schemes that recycle these items. If you want to upgrade, they recommend that you buy goods with “A” energy efficiency ratings, not only saving you money but preserving the environment too.
4. Look for the logo
Want to eat your favourite treats guilt-free? You can indulge yourself and still save the world thanks to Fairtrade Foundation. Products such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Cadbury’s or Green and Black’s chocolate, and even Tate & Lyle sugar now bear the Fairtrade logo, meaning you can satisfy your sweet tooth while helping secure a fair deal for farmers and communities across the globe.
5. Be fantastic with your plastic
Make sure you’re disposing of your plastic responsibly. According to Recycle Now, we get through 15 million plastic bottles a day in the UK. To help minimise the damage, bear this in mind: all you have to do is wash ‘em, squash ‘em, and put ‘em in a recycling box.
7. Go organic
Going organic can sound like an expensive lifestyle choice in these straitened times, but you might want to weigh up whether paying a bit less for cheaper food is worth the long term environmental and social cost. The best way to buy organic cheaply is to skip the supermarket and join a box scheme, or set up a buying group with your friends to get healthy, organic food at wholesale prices - this can all be done through the Soil Association website.
6. Be nappy happy
Food isn't the only shopping habit you can change, although this one won’t be for everyone. According to Friends of the Earth, we throw out 8 million disposable nappies every day – that’s 4% of all of the UK’s household rubbish. Instead of disposable, consider buying washable nappies or unbleached nappies to cut down on your environmental impact.
8. Save precious drops
About 24% of an average household's water consumption is used flushing the toilet, but you can save on this – and save yourself a bit of cash – by installing a Thames Water Hippo. While it sounds a bit odd, one of these nifty creatures can reduce your water consumption by up to 2.5 litres per flush, so head to the Thames Water website, order a free hippo and relax in the knowledge that you're doing your bit.
9. Get planting
Many people bemoan the urbanisation of green spaces in the UK, but instead of throwing your arms up in frustration they can be put to better use – by planting new trees. The Tree Council’s 'Seed Gathering Season' encourages people to use local seeds to help bolster tree populations, and it’s really easy to do. Tree Council offers loads of tips on how to plant and nurture your trees, so whether you’re green-fingered or want to reduce your carbon footprint, get over to their website, get reading, get sowing and get growing!
10. Become a Blue Planeteer
Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, so looking after our oceans is a pretty big deal. That doesn’t have to mean deep-sea diving and plugging oil spills though – with World Oceans Day, you can help from the comfort of your own home. By becoming a Blue Planeteer you take part in simple 'challenges' to raise awareness of the world’s blue spaces, like sharing photos or sending tagged tweets – things a lot of us do already anyway!
Has this inspired you to help an environmental charity save the earth? Check out these environment charities on the Charity Choice website, or register here to become a volunteer!