9 articles Articles posted in Environment

Sustainable Idea for Your Next Home Renovation

sustainable energy from solar panels

Solar panels

As a homeowner, it’s only natural that you constantly want to upgrade your home.

Investing in the time and money that comes with owning a house is a long-term project that you take pride in, and seek to evolve more as you grow older.

Over time, little problems grow bigger and furnishing styles become out of date. Changes will always need to happen, however, they can be sustainable. Make your house a little greener with these sustainable renovation ideas:

Solar Panelling

Energy solutions are getting expensive. While solar paneling may seem like an investment, it’s one that will save you money in the long run, especially if you opt for the full-service in-house from the company who fits them.

Whether you are looking to generate energy for electricity or heating, solar panel energy is one of the fast evolving technologies on the sustainable market. The number of solar panels that you need for your household is dependent on the number of people in your home, how much energy you use and the power of the panels you select.

The panels are low maintenance and come with technologies that allow you to store excess energy that you don’t use. This investment is a cost-effective improvement that will power your house into the future.

Renewable Heating Ideas

As the weather extremes worsen and heating costs soar, there is no time like the present to seek out renewable and sustainable heating solutions.

Insulation should cover every part of your house, from the roof to your walls and floor! Any gaps left during this process could see your energy bills soaring and even creating further costs as moisture gets through. Whether you choose spray foam or covers, reviewing insulation regularly will help you to save some money come winter.

Who knew you could help save the planet while keeping your house warm?

Heat can be generated from the ground, and now there is an affordable way to generate that into your home.

Renewable, low in carbon, and very eco-friendly; ground source heat pumps are ideal for homeowners with a lot of land.

Pipes are laid in loops underground to extract heat from beneath the surface and generate it into energy to heat your home from the ground up. Once the pipes are down, the soil that covers it will still be able to grow into your vegetable patch or grass, so you’ll never have to think about it!

Reusing Materials

As a society, there is an urgent need to acquire new things, particularly when it comes to home renovations. However, materials, be it bricks, wood, stone or soil, are waiting to be reclaimed.

For your next home renovation, get creative with how you source the materials, you’ll be surprised by how much money you save. Re-used materials are a great addition to older homes, ensuring that you are creating a fitting look with the style that age already achieves.

However, you shouldn’t rule out re-used materials with new homes too. Creating a country home feel or industrial look is effortless with resourced materials.

When finding materials to reclaim, remember that no matter where you find your goods, you will have to get permission before you take them – even if they appear to be abandoned.

Get creative, resourceful and sustainable with your home improvements. From solar energy to innovative heating installments, you’ll soon reap the benefits of these eco-conscious housing solutions.

The Most Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

The phrase “ecological consciousness” has been added to our vocabulary in recent decades. The abundance of material goods, their reckless and short use, the multiplying and growing landfills, and the destruction of the environment lead humanity to a dead end. The solution is a greener and safer life. There are some simple moves you can make in your daily life to gain greater ecological awareness. Even buy eco-friendly gifts for your loved ones. School supplies, a friend’s birthday or celebration, even if there is no reason for it, you want to make a gift and because you have an ecological conscience, you want your gift to be ecologically similar. So let’s explore some of the most eco-friendly gift options for our loved ones:

Create experiences

Offer experiences instead of material goods. Give your loved ones experiences that will benefit them either by relaxing, entertaining, or teaching them something valuable. Some ideas are a relaxing massage, a yoga or dance class, movie or concert tickets, an online course or an escape room walk. The choices are dozens, but the result is invaluable to the recipient. In the end, no material good can compare to a truly intense experience.

DIY Gifts

A more original, memorable and personal idea is to make something for a gift, with materials you already have without having to throw them away or buy new ones. Some relevant suggestions are to cook a delicious meal, make your loved one’s favourite dessert, make a body scrub with sugar & oil, make an ornament, or create a video with memories that will speak directly to the recipient’s feelings. DIY will not only offer you perhaps the most economical solution, but by making the gift yourself, you make this whole gesture more personal and even more important.

Eco-friendly products

If you decide to give a gift as a gift, prefer it to be ecological. This may mean it is plastic-free, reusable, zero-waste or digital. For example a glass water bottle, stainless steel straws, a bamboo toothbrush, natural & cruelty-free soaps and cosmetics or an ebook. However, among all these fantastic options, one stands out among the others: a piece of jewelry made from ecological materials.

This particular gift not only manages to utilize old recyclable materials creating a new beautiful result but also manages to give a unique character to its holder. Jewellery that has nothing to envy from other industrial products comes to steal people’s hearts with their exceptional beauty. Make such a special gift today to your loved ones, conveying the spirit of ecological consciousness and creation. Find the perfect gift of handmade recycled glass jewellery by MiNiMis company at great and economical prices.

We all love to make and give gifts. But these gifts do not have to be expensive or costly to the environment. Above, we discovered together simple, easy, alternative and ecological solutions for the presents of your loved ones. To make their lives and our own a little better by protecting our environment and spreading happiness all around.

Recycling Considerations For Your Small Business

If you run any small business type or freelance from home, you might already notice some waste products from your process. 

Working strictly on a computer produces very little in the way of recyclable by-products, but there is still a correct way to dispose of old technology. 

Let’s look at some of the ways you can boost your recycling and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Bin and labels

Having several bins that are clearly labelled can help everyone in the company dispose of waste correctly. 

If you only have things like paper, plastic and regular waste – this is even easier to achieve. 

Often a colour coded solution can help ensure that the right waste ends up in the right place. Or a simple well placed, and clear label on the lid of the bins. 

If you run a larger company with a lot of paper waste, it is worth consulting with a recycling specialist with recycling machines. This solution can ensure that you are doing the best job. 

Company Culture 

Make it part of your company culture to ensure that recycling and being more eco-friendly in general is high on the list of company values. 

If recycling and/or reusing becomes part of the company goals and ethos, you will notice a significant increase in recycling. 

Engage often with staff so that they are aware of changes and schemes that you will be taking part in as a company. 

Make all recycling options easy to access and clear to all new hires and those who work within the company. 

World Days

Several globally celebrated days are designed to raise awareness of recycling and the positive impact suitable on the world. 

Get your team – no matter how small – in initiatives and activities for the day. Here are a few that are worth exploring. 

Check out the associated websites, and see if there are local activities you can get involved in. 

Knowledge

Are you aware of everything that can be recycled? Most people think about the basics like paper and plastic, but there is an extensive list of things that can be recycled. 

  • Cardboard
  • Paper – colour paper, confidential paper, envelopes, flyers and leaflets, magazines, newspapers
  • Plastic bottles, lids and some other plastic containers
  • Electrical items, although it is best to contact a recycling specialist for this one
  • For food waste, you can opt to make compost, or a food recycling bin (this will depend on your local authority)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Batteries
  • Printer cartridges
  • Furniture 

Most often, you will need to rinse the glass and plastic if they have food residue.

Each of these items should make its way to a licensed recycling centre or a professional recycling business. 

Businesses create a lot of waste, often without noticing how much could be recycled. Help your small business do some global good by being recycling aware. 

Is your business still growing? Here are Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level.

Why to Consider Buying Green

When it comes to electric cars it’s no longer a case of if but when. The government has announced that we won’t be able to buy new petrol or diesel cars in the UK from 2030 onwards and even plug-in hybrids will be no longer from 2035, so electric looks like being your main option.

Electric car sales are on the rise already, though, with plenty of people recognising the plus-sides to EVs. They are cheaper to fuel and you can do it from home or at work in many cases, they can drive into city centres without paying charges (where they apply) and you don’t have to pay anywhere near as much tax.

That’s before you consider the fact that they are quiet to drive, often have lots of modern tech and many are good to drive.

If you are considering going green, then these cars would be a good place to start, plus you can find out how much your current car’s worth with an online valuation from market experts, Parkers.

Volkswagen ID.3

Volkswagen’s Beetle enabled many people to get behind the wheel of a car for the first time when it first launched – could the ID.3 do the same with electric?

It’s VW’s first purpose built electric car (VW did make electric versions of the Golf and Up, though) but there will be lots of other ‘ID’ EVs to come from the brand. It looks different to other VWs, to set it apart, but it still offers a great level of family-friendly practicality and ease of use.

There’s space for five, it feels spacious inside and it feels familiar and accessible when it comes to driving it. There is a choice of ranges, too, with an impressive 260 or 336 miles possible.

Tesla Model 3

Despite the company’s relative newness, no list of electric cars is complete without a Tesla these days. The Model 3 is the cheapest one in the brand’s range but it still comes with a load of the fancy tech that Tesla is famed for now.

The thing that will tempt many, though, is the promised 353-mile range – that should be enough for most long-distance trips. It’s really quick and fun to drive, too, so it’s little surprise that it is shooting up the sales charts [https://www.smmt.co.uk/vehicle-data/car-registrations/] to become one of the more popular cars on sale in the UK full stop.

Polestar 2

If you thought Tesla was a newbie then compared to Polestar it is an established household name. However, there is more to it than that as this is an electric-only arm of Volvo. It’s also the company that is Tesla’s closest rival, offering some up-to-the-minute features like vegan interiors, although it doesn’t have as many gimmicks as some rivals with a minimalist cabin with very few buttons. Think the sort of living room that pops up in those Scandi dramas that are so popular. It’s smart and sophisticated rather than dripping with showy tech.

The range is impressive, although not quite at the level of the Tesla and ID.3 – it tops out at 292 officially. It’s not the most spacious of cabins compared to some, but it still has enough room to appeal to family buyers.

Citroen e-C4

One of the big benefits of electric cars is that they are less stressful to drive – there is much less noise and vibration and the lack of gears etc mean they are relaxing on the road.

The Citroen e-C4 majors on this, and makes for a really smooth driving experience with a comfy ride and seats. While it isn’t a dedicated EV (there are petrol and diesel versions too) it was designed to be an electric car from the start.

The range isn’t as headline grabbing as some of the other new electric cars, but at 217 miles it will cope with almost everything for the majority of drivers. And it is capable of a lot more than the electric cars of only a few years ago.

Kia Soul

Not everyone who buys an electric car wants to slip into the background unnoticed – you might want to make a statement with your funky new battery-powered wheels.

The Kia Soul is certainly distinctively looking, although its boxy shape means it still has a decent-sized and airy cabin, even if it isn’t the biggest or most practical out there.

It’s quick and fun to drive, too – 0-62mph comes in just 7.9 seconds and it has a claimed range of 280 miles.

Reusable Shopping Bags and other Small Changes You Can Make for the Environment

Reusable Shopping Bags and other Small Changes You Can Make for the EnvironmentWhile there’s no doubt that the vast majority of global pollution comes from the mega-factories which produce the world’s retail offerings, there are still things that we can do which will contribute to a cleaner environment for ourselves and future generations. Small things which won’t have too much of an impact in terms of cost or effort, but will definitely contribute to a safer planet. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

Reusable Shopping Bags

It’s been quite a while since the supermarkets implemented their ban on free plastic bags for shipping with, but many people still spend the extra 10p for one, rather than bringing a reusable bag. In many shops, if you invest a couple of pounds in their branded totes, they’ll often replace them for free if they break, of if you want to be even more adventurous, there are some gorgeous personalised reusable shopping bags if you shop around. Top tip – keep them in the boot of your car when you aren’t using them and you’ll have them to hand when you shop!

Reusable Coffee Cups

If you’re someone who likes a daily latte, you’ll probably be aware that the disposable cups offered in many places aren’t the greatest thing for the environment. More than 1 billion coffee cups from 720,510 trees are made each year in Australia alone, and that’s just one small corner of the planet. There are even cups made from materials which look like plastic but are in fact bamboo, or other eco-plastics, making your impact on the environment even less.

Homemade Cleaning Products

It’s way easier than it sounds, especially considering white vinegar and baking soda clean pretty much everything. Making your own cleaning products not only reduces packaging waste from regularly buying them at the store, but it also saves you from using harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals on your everyday surfaces. Going Zero Waste has some great recipes for DIY cleaning products, including an all-purpose cleaner, a tub scrub and even all-natural bleach (yes, this is possible!)

Ditch the Drinking Straws

If you love drinking through a straw but don’t want to have the impact on the environment of disposal plastic straws, you should seriously consider investing in a stainless steel or copper straw. Many restaurants are also transitioning from plastic straws to more eco-friendly options, such as paper straws or even straws made from pasta!

Say Please to the Bees!

If you make packed lunches for your spouse or kids and end up using things like cling film or plastic bags for wrapping the food, you’re probably putting a LOT of single use plastic into landfill. Beeswax wraps are an amazing, hygienic alternative to plastics, are better for your health and you can even make them yourself at home.

Do you have any easy hacks or swaps that you use to make your life a little more eco friendly? Do you have a gorgeous reusable shopping bag that you love more than your Mulberry?! Leave me a comment below letting me know!

Small Changes to Help Cut Your Carbon Emissions

wind farm producing low carbon energyOne of the things that I’m really conscious of is the carbon footprint of our household. Because we live so remotely, I have to drive everywhere, and I do feel guilty about the amout of carbon emissions I’m putting out on a daily basis. As much as I’d love an electric car, it’s just not in our budget to invest in one, so I have to think about other small things I can do to reduce our output as much as possible. Here are a few ideas, if you want to do the same:

Stop Driving Everywhere

Okay, so I know I literally just said that I drive a lot, but I have no choice when it comes to the school run. However, when it’s not absolutely necessary to drive, I do try other forms of transport, such as getting a bus or train. I’ve been thinking about investing in one of the fab adult tricycles from Jorvik to help me get around on days when I want to leave the car at home.

Turn Things Off

Although we’re making strides in wind-powered electricity (I can actually see a coastal wind farm from my house!), most of the UK’s energy is produced from coal. That means that every time you switch off a light or turn an appliance off at the switch when it’s not in use, you’re reducing your carbon footprint at home.

Buy Second Hand

There are SO many things that we would benefit from buying second hand, rather than from new every time. Items of furniture, for instance, don’t always have to be brand new and a cursory search on Facebook Marketplace often comes up with an almost-new version of what you want. This is a doubly good thing to do as it both reduces the amount of production in factories, and also stops rubbish from ending up in landfill.

Buy Sustainable

One of the biggest culprits in contribution to carbon emissions is cheap clothing production. Things are made cheaply and get thrown away, ending up in landfill and polluting the oceans. Buy your clothes from places which invest in sustainable production or even try to buy from charity shops if you’re able.

Plant a Garden

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, planting some greens is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide – a beneficial relationship for humans, that we should all be seeking to nurture. Plant some bee-friendly flowers, a few trees, or a vegetable garden. Balcony gardens are great for urban dwellings. This will reduce the “farm to fork” transport needs, AND you’ll know exactly whats in your food.

Bonus: Share a Car Service

If you only travel on high days and holidays and know someone else who does the same, why not share a car service? It will save you money to hare the cost and will reduce the carbon emissions of your journey by half, just by sharing it with one other person. Add more people and your emissions will be even lower!

Win a Sudocrem ‘Get Out and Grow’ Bag Worth £40

Husband and I have always been passionate about getting the kids outdoor and spend a lot of time educating them about nature. It’s something we both find really interesting and that love of all things nature-related really seems to have permeated down to the kids, too. We’ve lived out in the countryside for almost 4 years now and we absolutely love it – we all agree that our very favourite thing about living out here is the huge variety of wildlife that we get to see every day.

That’s why, when I read the results of a survey conducted by Sudocrem, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. Here’s what they found:

“Whilst 87% of British households do have a garden, it’s clear growing isn’t something that families do together. Over half of British children between 4 and 8 are unable to name 5 vegetables or fruits grown in this country, with 95% unable to name 3 herbs. Many of those couldn’t identify basic gardening tools, with only 8% able to identify a trowel, 80% never having seen a rake before and, worrying, 79% believing worms are bad for plants. 

73% of those asked said they had never grown a sunflower, while only 8% had ever picked an apple, which perhaps explains why they’re unable to name even one. Less than 10% had dug up a vegetable and only 6% had ever eaten a fresh pea from the pod. Based on this evidence, it is perhaps unsurprising that only 20% have ever eaten a vegetable they’ve grown themselves.”

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Sudocrem to give away TWO Get Out and Grow goody bags, containing a whole load of stuff that will help kids to get outside and learn all about planting their own produce.

Goody bags contents for 2-5 yr olds include:
– Get Out and Grow branded drawstring bag
– Get Out and Grow branded t-shirt for 3-4 yr olds
– My Little Sudocrem
– Child’s gardening gloves
– Small watering can
– Mini gorilla gardening tub
– Flower seed packet
– Lavender seed packet
– A few coloured sticks to use as plant markers

The packs contain over £40 worth of goodies and winning one couldn’t be simpler. Just leave me a comment below telling me what your favourite variety of apple is! The giveaway will stay open until 26th April 2019, so you’ve got plenty of time to enter. 

Easy Ways to be More Environmentally Friendly in 2019

Many more of us are now looking to lead a much more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Whether this be going green altogether, or to simply save some money. Here we cover some of the easiest ways to live more eco-friendly this year.

Saving energy

One of the most simple ways to living more environmentally friendly, but also the most effective. This being energy conservation, so turning your electricals off once you have used them is the key factor. This will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also could save you a lot of money over a long period. This could include turning your refrigerator down, using energy efficient light bulbs and only using your dishwasher or washing machine when these are full.

Reusable packaging

For businesses this is a growing factor, but should also be taken into account for individuals when packaging their everyday items. You should look at using reusable packaging such as at PPS, for when moving house, which is something many of us will have to do on multiple occasions throughout our lives. This means that far less waste is being produced.

Go paperless

Another very effective way that both individuals and businesses can move to. This is going paperless. Letter boxes are continually full with flyers and bills, so simply changing to paperless can make a big impact to reducing the amount of paper that is used. This means contacting banks to request to only be contacted via email and opting for only paperless billing. The same for other bills such as phone, gas and electric. You should also look at unsubscribing from the different unnecessary catalogues that you may be part of.

Food shopping online

Yes food shopping online has many benefits to the environment. This is something many people are moving to due to living such busy lives. You may feel lazy in doing so or want to select things yourself, but this can do wonders for the environment. This is eliminating car trips, which is of course associated with carbon emissions. You can also request no bagging to even further the eco-friendly experience.

Play More and Win a Sudocrem My Little Adventure Pack!

One of the reasons that we moved to our little house in the countryside, back in 2015, was so that we could spend more time outdoors as a family. Living in a very suburban area meant that we were constantly surrounded by noise and pollution, our garden was overlooked by about 100 other houses and to get anywhere even vaguely quiet or secluded, we’d need to drive a fair way.

Where we live now, there are less than 15 houses in our entire village and we have a lovely big garden for the girls to enjoy, as well as public footpaths leading through the countryside, right on our doorsteps. It means that screen time has been massively already reduced this summer, with the girls choosing to play outside in the paddling pool, riding their bikes, or walking with me and Husband when we take Maureen out (which hasn’t been until about 9pm in this heat!)

We’ve teamed up with Sudocrem to get involved with their latest campaign to get kids outside. As part of the campaign, they are encouraging parents around the UK to nominate a nursery and give them the chance to help improve the nurseries outdoor play area – just click the link to go through the the page for nominations. 

They said: “Children are spending more time indoors than outside and they are missing out on exploring the natural world around them. In fact, research found that 1 in 9 British children have not visited a beach, park or forest in twelve months, and on average, a British child only spends 4 hours a week playing in the great outdoors. [1]This is why Sudocrem set up the award-winning Play More campaign, an initiative designed to encourage parents and children to get back in touch with nature and explore the greatest playground on earth- the outdoors. As part of the campaign, Sudocrem carried out a survey which asked 200 children between the ages of 4 to 8 years old to identify some of the creepy crawlies in Britain. The survey revealed that 9 out of 10 children (89%) were unable to recognise a butterfly even though there is an abundance of native British insects, with around 27,000 insect species calling the UK home. Moreover, 51% didn’t know what a Bumblebee looks like. And, surprisingly, 1 in 3 (29%) didn’t realise that bees make honey[2].

Children are not only unable to identify some of the most distinctive insects, but they are also missing out on the adventure which comes with playing outside in a natural environment.  Over half of those surveyed (59%) admitted that they had never climbed a tree, 89% didn’t know what a Buttercup was and 77% couldn’t identify a Sunflower. Are children losing their sense of wonder and adventure?

According to children’s TV presenter and naturalist, Chris Packham, who’s an ambassador for Play More, parents should be encouraging their children to get outside and explore the natural environment around them. “I was very fortunate when I was a child because I was encouraged to interact with the outdoors- looking under rocks and searching under logs and hedges to find creepy crawlies. If you just open your eyes, you’ll see that there is an incredible natural world out there waiting to be discovered”.”

They’ve given us one of their gorgeous Sudocrem My Little Adventure Packs to give away to one lucky reader.  The kit is worth £40.00 and includes:

– Play More t-shirt
– Play More sun hat
– Bug Pot
– Frisbee
– Butterfly Net
– Magnifying glass
– Trowel or fork

To be in with a chance of winning, leave me a comment below telling me your favourite place to get outdoors with the kids. You’ve got until midnight on 31st July 2018 to enter.

T&Cs: winner will be chosen at random. Winner will have 48 hours to provide me with their postal address once contact has been made. If winner doesn’t respond within this time a new winner will be chosen. No cash alternative offered, prizes supplied and sent by PR company for Sudocrem. Mum’s the Word accepts no liability for supply of prizes.
[1] According to a government report, ‘MENE: A pilot for an indicator of visits to the natural environment by children- results from years 1 to 2 (March 2013-February 2015)’.
[2] National report conducted by Sudocrem, April 2018.