A guide to a greener home
Andrew Crowther, Assistant Resources and Energy Manager at Strutt & Parker, looks at ways to make a home greener. Here are five top tips to help homeowners to follow the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
1. Water butts
British summers tend to swing from pouring rain to hose pipes bans. One of the best ways to make the most of our occasionally wet summers is by using a water butt. These can be installed in a garden or under the guttering and can store rain water for those days when the hose pipe ban finally takes effect.
A standard water butt can hold enough water to fill a watering can 25 times. If you live in the south east, during the year you could fill up your water butt 450 times a year based on average rain falls. Go for one with a tap installed for easier access.
Britain throws away around £12.5billion worth of food a year – that’s equivalent to around 15 million tons of food, but by using a compost heap, a lot of this unwanted food can be reused.
Compost heaps can be built in the garden and will take a range of foods, leaves, grass cuttings and other garden waste. Not only does it mean throwing less away but it also produces a great nutrient for garden plants.
Any of the following foods are great for the compost heap:
– Fruit and vegetable leftovers and peelings
– Baked goods and bread
– Rice, pasta and grains
– Egg shells
– Old spices
Remember to avoid any meat-related waste or dairy.
It’s all the fashion at the moment, taking seemingly useless household items and making them into something useful – whether it’s funky lights from old tins or transforming a broken shed into a coffee table.
There are plenty of sites on the internet full of great ideas for up-cycling and many can be done at home with the family. It also means the previously unwanted goods won’t be going to a landfill.
4. Sort your bins
While the council might supply just one recycling bin, it’s worth asking for more. For starters, not all recycling should be sorted together with separate boxes for paper, glass and plastics preferable. Make sure you know what days the bins are collected, so you can fill the boxes at the right time.
Finally, it might be worth placing smaller bins throughout the house – the bathroom is often neglected but has plenty of recyclables in the form of old shampoo bottles and used toilet roll tubes.
If you’re planning to redecorate your home, don’t just throw away your old wardrobes, beds and sofas – put them on to Freecycle and give them away to someone who needs them. This saves them from going in to landfill and means their life span is extended by another few years.
Even items that you think have no use any more can be donated to local charities or community projects. Left over paint, unused wood from a building project or old curtains and cushions could help in the renovation of a community centre, or go towards a new home starter kit for someone else.
To find out more about recycling facilities in your local areas, simply enter your postcode on the Recycle Now website.
Strutt & Parker’s recent Housing Futures survey highlighted that recycling services were amongst the top ten most sought-after features people desire in their new home. To find out more about our findings, download the full report here.
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