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10 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Save The Planet in 2013

For many people, the New Year brings a list of ambitious new year’s resolutions.Resolutions which are often unrealistic and thus discarded by early February. However, if you have grand ideas about saving the planet this year, first of all, I salute you and second of all, I bring you the back-up plan, just in case life gets in the way of your noble plans.

eco-friendly tips, green lifestyle

Set your washing machine to 30 degrees celsius


Here is a list of ten tiny changes* you can make to help protect our planet and its resources.

1)      Put a brick in your toilet cistern. Unless your bathroom is kitted out with mod-con water-saving bathroom appliances, you are probably flushing a lot of unnecessary water down the loo. By putting a brick in there, the volume of your cistern shrinks thus decreasing the amount of water you use with each flush.

2)      Set the washing machine to 30 degrees Celsius and dry your clothes in the sun. Most of us set the washing machine temperatures at random, however, by reducing the temperature of the wash you can use up to 40% less energy and your clothes will be just as clean by the end of the process. As for the dryers…they guzzle energy like no-one’s business, and if you live in a sunny climate, you really have no excuse.

When it comes to packaging, less is more.

When it comes to packaging, less is more.

3)      Be mindful when you shop. The two biggest environmental costs of a product are the distance it’s travelled to get to the shelf and its packaging. With that in mind, buy local as far as possible, choose the option with the least packaging, and take your own re-usable bags (this goes for grocery shopping and other shopping).

4)      Take part in movements like Meat-Free-Monday. The meat industry does huge damage to our planet owing to the enormous amount of resources required to feed and water one animal which is going to be killed anyway.

5)      Turn off your appliances at the wall. This goes for televisions, microwaves, computers and more, at the office and at home. Appliances use energy even when in stand-by mode.

6)      Don’t leave your car idling. Unless you’re stopping for less than 30 seconds, it is more fuel efficient to turn the ignition off and on again later than to have it constantly belching out fumes and using fuel for 5 minutes.

7)      Buy products displaying the Fair Trade logo wherever possible. Becoming fair trade certified is a rigorous process which ensures the product is produced ethically with the utmost care given to looking after employees and the environment.Fairtrade

8)       Sign up for a My Planet card. This extension of the old My School card idea, is absolutely free. Just sign up online and then swipe it every time you shop at a participating outlet and a percentage of your bill will be donated on your behalf to the charity designated (by you) on your card.myplanet_card

9)      Eat fruit and vegetables when they are in season. This means you are less likely to buy imported food, which, owing to its travel distance has a high carbon footprint.

10)   Turn the lights off when you leave a room.

And that makes 10. If you can’t reach these easy, planet-saving goals this year, then you are not trying hard enough!

meat free mondays


* Tips compiled from Going Green: 365  Ways to Change Our World by Simon gear.

Catherine Sempill

Hey, Catherine here. I’m the new blogging intern at Africa Geographic. I graduated from UCT in 2010 after studying Media &Writing and then took off to work and travel my way through South America and learn a thing or two about the world. I came back with a Spanish repertoire, a few salsa moves and an intensified love for writing, blogging and ‘discovering’. It is these passions which landed me on the doorstep of Africa Geographic. Viva!

  • Rhyan

    One fault with the brick in the cistern as a plumber we see this often and it causes a problem as the brick starts to breakdown, rather use a 2lt plastic bottle filled with water.

  • allanon

    The only way to reduce the so called carbon emissions is to put out the sun, or dry up the oceans and total deforestation. Man only creates about 3%. Scientifically proven that carbon rises and falls in relation to the sun. Carbon offsetting is a con. Means you go about what you already do, but, pay for somewhere that isn’t, apparently, producing carbon, It does make sense to recycle and reduce wastage, but, to use carbon emissions as the reason is a complete nonsense.

    Technology is available to manufacture cars that don’t use petrol or diesel. If it was soooo important to governments to reduce its use, then why are they not promoting the alternatives. That way people still have the choice as to whether to use a car or not. The action of those in power does not back up their claims about the so called damage to the environment. A lot of plants thrive on CO2 and we get oxygen in return.
    Also, getting veg to the supermarkets is similar to meat in costs. Animals are good for the eco system. A lot of fertilisers and pesticides that they use in agriculture are not good, in the long term, for human consumption. Also, the amount of sugar in veg is alarming high!!

  • Brad Adams

    My personal way to save the environment is bicycle commuting> every day!

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