6 Easy Green Home Resolutions
BY Lyndt Mavimbela
There are many reasons to make positive resolutions this year, e-tolls are taking their toll on motorists, food prices keep rising and the South African environment is also facing its own hardships.
So why not make green resolutions this year to help you live a simpler life while saving money and the environment.
Here are six ways to have an eco-friendly home this year:
1. Practise the green living culture
The first step in introducing a recycling culture in your home is to involve your family members, friends and neighbours, and hopefully they too will want to follow the trend.
“The basic rule to saving energy still applies - use less and save more. This basic rule requires minimal effort and no expense (it actually saves money), which is important as many people are in the mindset that ‘going green’ requires extra expense,” say Zeke Murphy and Angela Lee-Wright from Sustainable.co.za, an online eco store.
They say homeowners should enjoy more salads instead of the usual meat laden plate of food and give ‘no meat Mondays’ a try - by practising green habits in the home, it should become second nature to your kids, who can continue the green revolution.
The green living culture includes simple habits such as taking your own reusable bags whenever you go shopping.
2. Separate your garbage - recycle
You can do your part in saving the environment and turning your home green by being conscious of the small things that pollute our environment.
The best place to start is to separate your garbage.
It doesn’t have to cost you much, just buy affordable rubbish bins and make attractive labels for plastics, glass, paper and so on. You could even involve your children by getting them to design and decorate these labels. This will help them remember to separate the garbage and use the different bins.
There are also many DIY projects you could try to recycle from the waste your family creates, instead of just throwing it in the rubbish bin.
3. Switch to eco-friendly shopping
Switching to eco-friendly home products does not necessarily mean going all organic, instead shop with caution.
The first rule in eco-friendly shopping is to buy less. Yes, no more filling your trolley with food which will end up being thrown away because it has reached its expiry date before you can use it.
Secondly, buy eco-friendly cleaning products. Most of us do not compromise on our homes’ hygiene. As much as those popular household cleaning products on the market may do their job, they have a lot of harmful side effects which could even be toxic to your family.
Thirdly, it would also be a good idea to start buying water and electricity saving products.
Louise Yoko from Water Conservation Systems says every time we let a hot tap run while we wait for the hot water to come through the tap, the cool water that comes out first is usually lost down the drain.
“This water can be saved and re-used by installing a Redwater Diverter which automatically diverts the cool water. This cool water can be diverted to either a rainwater tank, a header tank in the roof to flush the toilets, to the garden or to top up the swimming pool,” says Yoko.
To save electricity, switch to LED lights in your home to reduce the amount of electricity used for lights, plus they last longer so you won't have to worry about changing your lights as often.
And by simply switching off lights in rooms that you don’t usually occupy, you can save electricity without putting much effort in.
4. Be internet wise
Smart phones and personal computers in homes can be used in environmentally friendly ways. The internet can actually assist you in your green living lifestyle, if only you are wise about it.
Think about it, searching online for store discounts and comparing the prices online, then driving directly to the store that best suits your pocket is much wiser than driving all over town to different malls which can be time and money consuming, plus it contributes to air pollution.
The internet could help you save energy, the environment and money. You may even consider shopping online for more items.
For those keen on keeping up with the latest news, consider subscribing to your favourite magazines and newspapers online - reading on the internet instead of buying the hardcopy helps save paper and trees.
5. Solar does work
South Africans have been introduced to various ways to save energy with the use of solar. Do not hesitate to try it out, it does actually work.
There are various solar products out there to ensure your home consumes less energy.
Solar lights, solar geysers, solar pool heating and even solar cooking. All these are options you could consider if you want to keep up with your 2014 green resolutions.
6. Donate, donate, and donate!
Do a house inspection and look out for things that you no longer need, which could potentially make a great impact in someone else’s life.
There are many organisations and charities which would appreciate used clothes, cutlery, books and even your old electronics.
Willem Erasmus from Computer Scrap Recycling says the can facilitate anything metal related or with wires and batteries. "We have had some funny things to recycle - parts of planes, submarines, small boats, bicycles, company display boards etc. So anybody wanting to recycle a space ship in the garage, we can do that too! Our collections are free of charge in Gauteng and we have a branch in Durban."
The company also collects working and non-working monitors and printers, photocopying machines, PCs and laptops and many more. Visit Computer Scrap Recycling for more details.
We have put together arguably the best and most diverse team of Green experts in the country offering practicle solutions to complex problems. See details of Cape based consultants and/or Johannesburg based consultants.