finance

Save the planet as well as £1,800 by following top tips from The Sun’s Green Team


GOING green doesn’t just help to save the planet – it saves you money too.

It is easy to make your home more environmentally friendly while benefiting your bank balance.

How to help save the planet... and save £1,800 too
How to help save the planet… and save £1,800 tooCredit: Shutterstock

As part of The Sun’s Green Team Road To Cop26 week, environmental scientist, Terry, founder of the green consumer site Onehome, shares her top tips for all areas of your house – and shows how you can save more than £1,800 a year.

Energy

Insulation in the attic should be to a depth of 27cm, just less than the size of a school ruler
Insulation in the attic should be to a depth of 27cm, just less than the size of a school rulerCredit: Getty

1) Top up your loft insulation. Heat rises – and up to a quarter is lost through leaky lofts. Insulation in the attic should be to a depth of 27cm, just less than the size of a school ruler. In an average semi-detached house a well-insulated loft will save you up to £135 a year on energy bills and 580kg of CO2.

2) Turn your thermostat down by 1C. Reducing the heat by just a single degree will save you up to £55 a year in heating bills and reduce your carbon footprint by 300kg of CO2 every year.

3) Swap your old light bulbs for LED bulbs. LED bulbs last around 17 years, far longer than traditional ones. Swapping to LED bulbs will save you around £35 per year on your energy bill.

Garage

1) As battery technology evolves and global production ramps up, the price of electric cars is falling. The new Skoda Enyaq iV and the Hyundai Ioniq family cars both cost roughly £40,000. The big difference is the cost of charging. A two-seater Renault Twizy costs £11,995 but just £1 to fully charge, compared with the average tank of petrol which is now £76.01, according to the RAC.

2) Invest in an e-bike. The running costs are extremely low – one full charge will take you on average between 25 and 50 miles. According to Halfords an e-bike costs around 0.4p per mile to run. A car is around 12p per mile.

3) Start a tool library. Swap tools with neighbours. You could save £130 by borrowing a Karcher pressure washer in exchange for tools you have, rather than buying one new. Find more hacks at onehome.org. uk

Water

Buy a water-saving gadget
Buy a water-saving gadgetCredit: Alamy

1) Buy a water-saving gadget. Many water companies offer customers free devices that will help them to save water – and money. A ShowerSave costs just a few pounds but keeps the flow of water through your shower constant and could save the average household 30 litres of water a day, around £45 per year.

2) Keep tap water in the fridge. Waiting for the water to run cold can waste up to ten litres a day. If you have a jug of tap water in the fridge instead, you can save more than 3,500 litres of water as well as £15 per year.

3) Install a water butt. It collects rainwater, which you can then use to water the garden, clean the car and wash your windows. A water butt could help you re-use as much as 5,000 litres of water a year – a saving of £20..

Laundry

Switching to drying your clothes on the line in summer instead of using the tumble dryer saves an average of £30 per year on energy bills and 90kg in CO2
Switching to drying your clothes on the line in summer instead of using the tumble dryer saves an average of £30 per year on energy bills and 90kg in CO2Credit: Alamy

1) Do less washing. By making sure your washing machine is full when you put a load on, and washing clothes less often, most households cut down by at least one load a week. This would save 840,000 tonnes of CO2 across the country and save each household around £10.50 a year in energy bills.

2) Ditch the dryer. Switching to drying your clothes on the line in summer instead of using the tumble dryer saves an average of £30 per year on energy bills and 90kg in CO2.

3) Turn down the temperature. Many clothing manufacturers recommend washing at 30C, and detergents are designed to work well at this temperature. Washing at 30C will save 40 per cent of energy and it’s £20 per year cheaper.

Wardrobe

Quit fast fashion
Quit fast fashionCredit: Getty – Contributor

1) Recycle old clothes. Several shops offer customers incentives to recycle, saving them from the landfill. H&M offers £5 off a £25 voucher when you recycle clothes or home textiles at its stores, while at Boots you can get 250 Advantage card points, worth £2.50, if you spend £10 and recycle five empty toiletry or cosmetic containers.

2) Sell your old clothes. For every tonne of clothing recycled or saved from landfill, we save half a tonne of carbon emissions. Consider selling clothes you no longer wear on sites such as Depop and Rebelle as well as eBay and Facebook Marketplace. It could make you hundreds of pounds.

3) Quit fast fashion. The fashion industry is responsible for ten per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and garments churned out for consumers who only wear them a few times before they are discarded take a particularly heavy toll on the environment. Wear what you already own instead of buying more. If you can extend the life of a garment by nine months, you will reduce its carbon footprint by 30 per cent and save up to £200 a year on buying new clothes.

Kitchen

Eating misshapen fruit and veg will save you money
Eating misshapen fruit and veg will save you moneyCredit: AFP – Getty

1) Eat less meat. Research has shown that cutting down on meat saves money and is better for the environment. Livestock burp out large amounts of methane – a harmful greenhouse gas – and meat typically makes up 61 per cent of the cost of our weekly shop. Cutting down on meat will also cut your carbon footprint and typically save £209 on your shopping bill over the course of a year.

2) Stop wasting food. It is a waste of money and the energy that went into producing it. Around 4.5million tonnes of food is squandered here every year. Stopping this would be the green equivalent of taking a quarter of our cars off the road, and save families up to £700 a year.

3) Go wonky. Eating misshapen fruit and veg will save you money and is green. Researchers found that in the UK and Europe, we throw away more than 50million tonnes of wonky fruit and veg every year, the production of which is equivalent to the emissions of almost 400,000 cars. Wonky fruit is around 35 per cent cheaper, a potential saving of more than £150 per year.

Garden

Find out if your council offers discounts on compost bins
Find out if your council offers discounts on compost binsCredit: Getty – Contributor

1) Divide perennial plants when you buy them so you create your own buy one, get one free, saving half the cost.

2) Join a local gardening club. Members swap seeds and share plants. This reduces waste and encourages more wildlife-friendly gardens. You could save £40 a year on new plants.

3) Find out if your council offers discounts on compost bins. Some have schemes to encourage gardeners to compost and can save you £30 on a new one.

MAKE JUST ONE OF OUR SIX PLEDGES

THE Sun is urging you, our caring readers, to make at least one lifestyle change to slow climate change.

Everyone can get involved.

We have teamed up with global campaign Count Us In to calculate how much carbon you will save by ditching old habits.

Remember, even small changes help.

Find a step that is right for you and your family. Keep it up for at least two months and see how you do. It might become a habit.

When ready, try another step. All these will add to change. We will get there together.

Go online to thesun.co.uk/pledge and commit to one or more lifestyle changes.

It could save you money and all of your actions will go toward a global goal of getting a billion people to make changes.

So here goes . . .

  1. Eat more plants: Going meat free for a day brings the same carbon saving as not driving for a month.
  2. Cut food waste: The average UK family throws away £700 of food a year.
  3. Turn down heating: With energy prices soaring, it will save cash.
  4. Insulate your home: Stop heating the sky with heat escaping through your roof.
  5. Repair and re-use: Next time something in your home is not working properly, see if you can fix it, rather than throwing it away.
  6. Walk or cycle one more journey a day than at present. Petrol cars emit twice as much pollution in the first five minutes of a trip, so even short journeys add to climate change.
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