Open Access research into Africa’s increasing contribution to the world’s carbon footprint has revealed some interesting statistics that we at Gray Area feel should be addressed.
Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by a person over time; obviously the more of these gases we allow into the atmosphere the more the environment will be negatively affected. Here are some ways you can help the environment and yourself, try to start off small and make it a lifestyle change that is sustainable.
By reducing your carbon footprint and being more eco-friendly you might also find yourself saving some money at the end of each month.
Take a shower
Taking a shower can use less water and electricity compared to a bath. There are also low flow shower heads available to install in the shower to further save water.
Pools and spas
Installing pool covers to help prevent evaporation. Pool covers also aid in reducing your carbon footprint by using less energy when you heat and clean the pool. For those in specifically in Cape Town using solar pool heating, well done to you !
There are also many energy saving pool heating options. Solar pool heating panels or a heat pump system can help you save on costs and energy when heating your pool or spa.
Install a solar geyser or heat pump that uses natural energy and can reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions that occurs when using electricity.
Washing machine tips that save on your carbon footprint
When washing clothes make sure you wait until you can do a full load. Using cold water instead of hot can save you. During the washing process, 90% of the energy goes into heating the water.
Laptop versus Desktop
Laptops can use up to 80% less energy that a desktop computer.
Avoid the black rubbish bags as the black pigment in the bags cannot be recycled. Rather use the clear or white bags that are available and can be recycled.
Filtering you own water can help reduce your carbon footprint. The water you buy at the store costs fuel and money to be transported there and the plastic bottles are not good for the environment.
Make sure you buy locally produced food and you can even try your hand at growing your own garden.
In a household, lighting can be about 30% of your electricity bill. Replacing your halogen or other globes with more energy efficient LED lights you reduce your bill and help to reduce you carbon footprint
In the garden you can also use solar powered lights. A simple way of saving is to turn lights off in the house you are not using and only leave on lights you need.
Invest in renewable energy sources such as solar panels and a heat pump. Products are available out there for your house and your pool.
Car lift club
Organize a car lift club or join a car pool if you have to drive a distance to get to work.
Simple ideas around the house
• A very easy way to help reduce your carbon footprint around the house is to just close the curtains on a cold day to keep in the warmth.
• Ensure your windows are sealed properly.
• Catch your shower or bath water and use it in the garden
• Don’t water your garden around noon when the temperature is at its highest.
• Think before you print something, try not to waste paper.
• Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth.
Batteries in landfills can release harmful metals such as mercury, using rechargeable batteries last much longer; you will use less and contribute to less waste in landfills. Consider investing in deep cycle batteries to save on energy usage.
Seal of approval
Thinking of buying an appliance, make sure what you are purchasing is energy efficient and has the SABS seal of approval on it.
Plant a tree
A very easy positive contribution to the environment is to plant a tree.
There are plenty of grocery shopping bags available that are reusable each time you shop, instead of buying the plastics bags each time. Companies and food establishments can also think of using recyclable or biodegradable packaging for their products.
Recycle in the home. Make sure you recycle most of your items you use in the home, like tins, plastic milk bottles, paper, cereal boxes, yoghurt containers, cardboard boxes and a lot more.
Learn to compost your own food waste to use in your garden.
Everything today is electronic, so why not make sure you receive all your mail via your inbox instead of in the mail box.
There are plenty more ideas out there to use at home, work, while driving and even when traveling. If everybody just does a few little things every day, it can accumulate into a huge difference for the environment.