WHAT CAN YOU DO?
How can individuals help to take this forward?
Talk to your colleagues at work: Many people in the film industry act green at home but aren’t sure how to make a difference at work. Together you can make simple changes.
Improve your housekeeping: The average business wastes 20% of the power it buys. Switching off lights, shutting down IT systems, reducing waste, making re-cycling easier – it all makes a difference. But the best way to make a real difference is to have a plan: start with an energy audit that measures your carbon footprint and set yourself some targets to reduce it.
For example: Carbon Foot Print - Click here to view
Change your mode of travel: if you drive, could you drive less? If you have a bike, could you cycle more? It also has knock-on effects on the quality of life - especially in cities.
Make small changes to your daily routine: try implementing some low/no-cost sustainability initiatives to see if they can make you more efficient. When you and others see the benefits, there will be greater willingness to invest in bigger schemes.
Find people to help: once you get out there and start networking a little, you'll realise people are more willing to help than you think...
101 PRACTICAL STEPS TOWARDS GREATER SUSTAINABILITY
Driving your car
1. Turn off your car when idling for over 30 seconds and not in traffic.
An idling car gets 0 miles to the gallon. While older cars may have consumed more fuel on start up, this is no longer the case. Modern cars use electronic fuel injectors that limit the amount of fuel delivered to the engine when it's turned on. If you could eliminate 10 minutes of idling every day, you would save significantly at the pumps each year.
2. Watch the speed limit, avoid aggressive driving and do not waste fuel.
Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and sharp braking wastes fuel and can impact on mileage by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% in the city.
You can reduce CO2 emissions by readjusting your driving style. Select the appropriate gears, do not a over accelerate, change down through gears instead of hitting the brake when possible and turn off your engine when your vehicle is motionless for more than one minute. By readjusting your driving style you can save money on both fuel and car maintenance
3. If you have to drive, try to avoid the rush hour by traveling at off-peak times.
Nobody likes to sit in traffic and besides wasted time, traffic congestion is responsible for billions of gallons of wasted fuel annually.
4. Don't let your car warm up while stationary.
The amount of fuel that warming up consumes is greater than what you save by starting your journey with a cold engine.
5. Don't leave an empty roof rack on your car.
This can increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10% due to wind resistance and the extra weight - removing it is a better idea.
6. Use air conditioning sparingly.
It increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by around 5%. When it's hot, drive for a few minutes with open windows, then close them and turn on the A/C. This will save you the fuel needed to bring down the initial temperature.
7. Don't litter!
Avoid disposing any waste on the streets, in nature, and especially not in the gutter. This rubbish can end up in the water treatment system and overcharge the decontamination process. Take advantage of city waste baskets. They are everywhere and that's what they are for.
8. Wash your car by hand or using a pressurized water jet instead of going to a car wash.
Car-washes use more electricity and water than the old fashioned way.
9. Keep your car well maintained.
Regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. When just 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the atmosphere.
10. When the time comes to change your car battery, recycle your old one.
Enquire of the battery supplier whether they have a recycling policy, otherwise check with your local authorities for their advice as they might recommend that you take it to a special disposal site, or to a garage which collects them for recycling and proper disposal.
11. Check tyres weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated.
Correctly inflated tyres can improve fuel consumption mileage by more than 3%. Since every gallon of petrol saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference! If the pressure is down by 0.5 bars, your car uses 2.5% more fuel to overcome the resistance and thus releases 2.5% more CO2.
12.Consider using low-viscosity motor oil.
This lubricates the moving parts of the engine better than ordinary oils, reducing friction. The best oils can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by more than 2.5%.
13.When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle.
You can save 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year if your new car gets only 3 miles per gallon more than your current one. You can get up to 60 miles per gallon with a hybrid! Under European legislation, car manufacturers must display information about CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new cars in showrooms and advertisements. A car that consumes only 5 litres per 100 km, can save 750kg of avoided CO2 emissions year.
14. Try to be more efficientby combining journeys.
Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. If you have to drive, plan ahead and finish all your errands at once.
15. Utilize public transport when travelling in the city.
For every passenger-mile travelled, public transportation is twice as fuel efficient as private automobiles. The efficiency translates directly into savings of resources and reduction of emissions. Per year, public transportation saves more than 855 million gallons of gasoline and reduces CO2 emissions by more than 7.4 million tons.
16. Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible.
Avoiding just 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year! Look for transit options in your area.
17. Try to travel by train!
One person travelling by car alone produces three times more CO2 emissions per mile than if they were to travel by train.
18. Try car sharing.
Need a car but don’t want to buy one? Community car sharing organizations provide access to a car and your membership fee covers gas, maintenance and insurance. Many companies – such as Flexcar- offer low emission or hybrid cars too! Also, see ZipCar.
19. Try telecommuting from home.
Telecommuting can help you drastically reduce the number of miles you drive every week.
20. Fly less!
Air travel produces large amounts of emissions so reducing how much you fly by even one or two trips a year can reduce your emissions significantly. You can also offset your air travel carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy projects. Many business trips are necessary, but as new video and teleconferencing technologies mature it may be possible to skip some trips.
21. Keep reusable/canvas bags in your car/handbag/backpack and use them when shopping.
Using reusable bags cuts down on waste in our landfills as well as the energy and resources necessary to create so many bags.
22. If you're taking your clothes in for dry-cleaning, look for "perc" free drycleaners, or cleaners that advertise either (1) wet cleaning, or (2) CO2 cleaning.
PERC or Perchloroethylene is the standard solvent in conventional dry cleaning. It is a central nervous system depressant that is a listed hazardous air pollutant and that the EPA considers a health and environmental hazard.
23. Take energy consumption in to account when purchasing new electrical/powered equipment/devices.
Some models are much more energy efficient than others, for instance an LCD TV consumes up to 2/3 less energy than a standard television.
24. If looking for new appliances and/or electronics, look for the Energy Star logo.
Energy Star qualified products are the most energy efficient models on the market. They meet strict efficiency guidelines set up by the EPA and Dept. of Energy. By purchasing Energy Star qualified products, Americans avoided greenhouse gas emission equivalent to 27 million cars and saved $16 billion on their utility bills.
25. Look for goods carrying the flower logo of the European eco-label.
Signifying superior environmental performance, the Eco-label has been awarded to several hundred environmentally sound products and services from 25 product groups such as light bulbs, detergents, computers and a range of household appliances. For more information about where to find the "Eco-flower" go to http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/index_en.htm.
26. Dispose with care!
Take your electronic waste to a local collection point or give it back to the retailer so that it can be treated or recycled properly. Electronic and electric appliances contain many toxic substances. Since mid 2005, all European Member States are obliged to set up take-back systems for this waste.
27. Choose products that come with little packaging and buy refills when you can.
You will cut down on waste production and energy use... another help against global warming.
28. Recycle your old, unused cell phones.
Old phones should not be thrown away because they contain hazardous chemicals that can leach into groundwater. Proper recycling of phones prevents pollution and also provides cheap phones to people who otherwise couldn't afford a new model; all with less energy consumed.
29. When purchasing cleaning products purchase those that are "plant based" rather than petroleum based, or that have been certified as safe by organizations such as Green Seal.
The average home contains over 60 products that are considered hazardous to human health. These products are also potentially dangerous to the environment. Manufacturers are often under no duty to disclose their ingredients because they are protected as "trade secrets." Pay attention to product labels containing the words "Caution," "Warning," "Danger," or "Danger-Poison."
**Caution means slightly toxic - one ounce may be fatal to a 150 pound adult.
**Warning means moderately toxic - a teaspoon to one ounce may be fatal.
**Danger means highly toxic - a taste to one teaspoon may be fatal.
**Danger-Poison means the most toxic.
30.Learn which foods are harvested in your area and try to purchase those foods that are grown locally.
Produce from many domestic sources will travel up to 1000 miles before reaching your dinner table. Purchasing those foods grown at local farmers markets and groceries helps to cut down on these “food miles” and also helps to support local farming organizations.
31.Buy fresh foods instead of frozen.
Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.
32. BUT – Fill up that freezer!
Help it consume less energy by keeping it full. It requires less energy to cool a full freezer than an empty one. Should you not have filled it, add some plastic bottles filled with water or even old newspapers – until you need the space!
33. Buy organic foods as much as possible.
Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!
34. Eat less meat.
Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath.
35. Don't waste food.
Buy only the amounts you really need, and make use of leftovers. This way you can reduce waste and also prevent emissions from additional production of food.
36. Purchase foods that come in bulk or are concentrated.
Purchasing goods in bulk reduces overall consumption of packaging materials thereby reducing resource consumption and resultant waste. Goods that are in concentrate form also require less packaging while providing the equivalent amount of use.
37.Don't purchase bottled water.
It takes approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil to make all the water bottles used in the US each year,. Save resources and money by purchasing a reusable water bottle and taking it with you when you're on the go. Standards for tap water are actually more stringent those those for bottled water.
38. OR – Buy intelligently
One bottle of 1.5l requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0.5l. As well, buy recycled paper products: it takes less 70 to 90% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide.
39. Check to see that your showerhead is low-flow.(2.5 gallons per minute.)
A low-flow showerhead is one of the easiest ways to conserve water. A family of four can save almost 15,000 gallons of water per year.
40. A leaking toilet could waste as much as 200 litres of water per day.
This is equivalent to flushing your toilet 50 times. Check your toilet for a possible leak.
41. Check your home for leaky water taps and repair them.
Leaky taps are a major source of wasted water. A tap that is leaking at one drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year. It can waste enough water to fill a bath in one month, so make sure to check that they're turned off.
42. Take a shower instead of a bath.
A shower takes up to four times less energy than a bath. To maximize the energy saving, avoid power showers and use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort.
43.Water your garden in the late evening or early morning.
During those cooler hours, less water is lost through evaporation and as a result plants will absorb more of it
44. If you let your lawn grow longer, it will require less water.
Taller grass encourages deeper roots and shades the soil to reduce moisture loss.
Lights and Electricity
45. Replace old incandescent bulbs with energy efficient lights such as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitting diodies (LEDs).
Incandescent light bulbs are notoriously inefficient - up to 90% of their energy is lost in the form of heat. CFLs can provide equivalent light while consuming 2/3 less energy and they have a lifespan up to 10 times longer. Replacing your 5 most frequently used bulbs with CFLs can save about $60 per year and this simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Energy-saving bulbs are more expensive to buy, but cheaper over their life span.
46. Switch off the lights when you don't need them.
Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save around € 60 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year.
47. Let the light shine in!
Decrease your CO2 emissions and keep your electricity bills low by making the most of natural light. Think about choosing pale-coloured walls, ceilings and floors, as well as mirrors, to reflect the daylight.
48. Unplug your electronics when they are not in use.
Even though they're not turned on or there is nothing attached, those electronics and chargers are still drawing electricity. The estimated electrical loads drained from appliances and electronics in standby mode accounts for 18 million tons of CO2 emissions each year. Use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
49. Unplug your mobile charger when you're not using it.
Even when it is not connected to the phone, it is still draining electricity. There are estimates that 95% of the energy is wasted when you leave the charger plugged in all the time.
In the kitchen
50. Save on energy when cooking.
Cut up your veggies into small pieces to reduce the cooking time. When boiling or steaming vegetables boil the water in the kettle first – rather than on the hob, and use only as much water as is necessary.
51. Cover your pots while cooking.
Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!
52. Don’t put a small pot on the biggest hot plate.
It is not going to increase cooking, but it will increase your energy bill.
53. Only heat up as much water as you actually need.
You don’t have to waste energy by heating up a litre if you only need one cup of hot water for your tea. If all Europeans boiled just the water they needed, thus avoiding 1 litre of unnecessarily boiled water per day, the energy saved could power one third of Europe's streetlights.
54. If you have an automatic dishwasher, use it rather than washing by hand.
Automatic dishwashers use less water and energy full cycle than an individual washing by hand. Additionally, scrape your dishes off rather than pre-washing dishes before running a full load. This can save up to 20 gallons of water per load, or over 1000 gallons per year.
55. Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible.
Hot water heating accounts for about 90% of the energy required to wash clothing. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, warm or cold settings will effectively clean your clothing.
56. Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full.
If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load or economy setting. There is also no need to set the temperatures high. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.
57.Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible.
You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.
58. Iron your clothes in one batch rather than one item at a time.
You will save the energy required to heat up the iron each time you want to use it.
59. Wash your fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than under a running tap.
You will save water and will do so further by watering your houseplants with the remaining water.
60. Say no to paper towels!
A mop or sponge will do an even better job at cleaning up a spill so why waste paper? Reduce your waste and you'll help trees.
61. Move your fridge and freezer.
Placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own. For example, if you put them in a hot cellar room where the room temperature is 30-35ºC, energy use is almost double and causes an extra 160kg of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 320kg for freezers.
62. Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly.
Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors.
63. Be careful which settings you use for your fridge.
If you set your fridge on its coolest setting, you will not only consume more energy; your food will not keep fresh as long since it might be spoilt through freezing.
64. Avoid putting hot or warm food in the fridge.
You save energy by letting it cool down first before placing it in the fridge.
65. Clean the dusty coils behind your refrigerator.
It helps disperse the heat to increase the energy efficiency of the refrigerator. Dusty coils can waste as much as 30 % extra electricity!
66. If repairing the interior of your home, purchase environmentally friendly paints.
According to the EPA, the air inside your home is up to 3 times more polluted than the air outdoors. Much of this pollution comes from paints and finishes. If you are going to repaint any rooms in your house, looks for low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint for the project.
67. Switch to green power.
In many areas, you can switch to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar. In some of these, you can even get refunds by government if you choose to switch to a clean energy producer, and you can also earn money by selling the energy you produce and don't use for yourself.
68. Explore online environmental resources.
"Green" websites are an easy to access destination for learning about environmental and social issues, joining in dialogues with others interested in green living, and finding ways to take that next step in your own home, school, job or life!
One such is Greenopolis.com, a social networking website portal where individuals, communities, organizations, schools and businesses collaborate and learn together on key sustainability topics. Greenopolis makes learning fun and taking action easy. And Greenopolis membership is not only free, but you can earn rewards just by making positive change! Check it out!
69. Get a home energy audit.
Many utilities offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. You can save up to 30% off your energy bill and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Energy Star can help you find an energy specialist.
70. Plant a tree.
A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%.
71. Need new glasses?
Around 10 million pairs of usable spectacles are discarded each year in Europe and North America. These can be used to help people in the developing world to afford glasses. Most opticians now act as collection points for old glasses, so drop yours off and give them a new lease on life.
72. Donate your old clothes to charities or collection programmes.
Your old wardrobe will be given a second life as either second-hand clothes or shredded and recycled as raw material for textiles and packaging. This will save precious energy and our scarce natural resources.
Recycling and waste reduction
73. Sort your waste and recycle appropriate materials such as paper, plastic, aluminium and glass.
Recycling waste keeps materials out of our landfills, saves resources and reduces the energy required to make new products. Bring used glass to the bottle bank and sort paper and cardboard, plastics and cans from the rest of your waste. Recycling one aluminium can saves 90% of the energy needed to produce a new one - 9kg of CO2 emissions per kilogramme of aluminium! For 1kg of recycled plastics, the saving is 1.5kg of CO2; for 1kg of recycled glass, it is 300gr of CO2; and recycling 1kg of paper instead of landfilling it avoids 900gr of CO2 emissions as well as methane emissions.
74. Recycle your organic waste.
Around 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions through the methane is released by decomposing bio-degradable waste. By recycling organic waste or composting it if you have a garden, you can help eliminate this problem! Just make sure that you compost it properly, so it decomposes with sufficient oxygen, otherwise your compost will cause methane emissions and smell foul.
75.Cancel unwanted junk mail and recycle the mailers you receive.
The equivalent of 100 million trees is used to produce the 4 million tons of junk mail that Americans receive each year. Most of this mail is unwanted and will end up in a landfill if not recycled.
76.Pay your bills online!
Eliminate your paper trail as well as the energy used to transport paper bills.
77. Keep cool with a fan.
Air conditioners are real energy gobblers - an average room air conditioner operates at 1000 Watt, causing around 650gr of CO2 emissions per hour and costing around € 0.10 during this hour. Fans might be an alternative, otherwise use air conditioners sparingly and look for the most energy-efficient model.
78.Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner.
Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
79. Install a programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. They can save you $100 a year on your energy bill.
80. Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer.
Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment.
81. Lower the room temperature at night.
While you’re sleeping in bed you don’t need a warm room.
82. Lower room temperature when leaving your home.
If nobody is in your home, because e.g. you’ve left for work you can set your thermostat at 16 or 17 degrees.
83. Use radiator reflector foil behind your heaters.
It will reflect the heat so that it doesn’t get lost into the walls.
84. Don’t use electrical heating.
Little electrical heaters use way more energy than your normal heating.
85. Don’t block heaters with furniture or curtains.
It wastes energy.
86. Don't let heat escape from your house over a long period.
When airing your house, open the windows for only a few minutes. If you leave a small opening all day long, the energy needed to keep it warm inside during six cold months (10ºC or less outside temperature) would result in almost 1 ton of CO2 emissions.
87. Make sure your home is properly insulated and weather-stripped to avoid unnecessary heating and cooling costs.
Insulation helps to keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer, yet many homes don't have proper levels of insulation. Properly insulating your walls and ceilings can save 25% of your home heating bill and 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Caulking and weather-stripping can save another 1,700 pounds per year.
88. If your water heater is over 5 years old, insulate it.
Wrapping the tank and hot water pipes will help to alleviate heat loss thereby saving money on energy costs. You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action. You can save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 50°C. Insulation and tank wraps can be purchased for about $20 at most home improvement stores.
89. Seal up the gap between floors and doors.
You can use and old blanket, towel or dog draught excluder to stop heat from getting out of the room and cold air from getting in.
90.Replace your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing.
This requires a bit of upfront investment, but will halve the energy lost through windows and pay off in the long term. If you go for the best the market has to offer (wooden-framed double-glazed units with low-emission glass and filled with argon gas), you can even save more than 70% of the energy lost.
91. Seal up windows.
You can insulate it yourself or get a specialist craftsman.
92. Let down the shutters after sunset.
The air between windows and shutters works as insulation.
93. Turn off your computer at night or when you are leaving for an extended period of time.
The screensaver mode on a computer doesn't reduce power consumption, and in some cases may increase the amount of electricity consumed. When you are done with work, either turn off the computer or put the computer into sleep/hibernation mode. You can thus save up to 20 % of your daily electric consumption. Even if it is not you who is paying the electricity bill, think of the environment.
94. Reduce the amount of paper consumed at work by working electronically and recycling the paper used.
Each year the average office worker consumes approximately 10,000 sheets of copy paper. U.S. businesses use about 21 million tons of paper per year. Proper recycling will save energy, resources, and valuable landfill space. At the office, encourage your colleagues to re-use the other side of paper and print less by archiving their emails and attachments. You can also try and create paperless habits. Some studies show that office paper consumption is rising by 20 % per year and web-based technology is actually increasing the printing of documents. On average each worker uses about 50 sheets of A4 per day. Must you print?
95. Re-use paper!
Instead of using a fresh piece of paper for rough work, turn over a used copy and write on the other side. Use products made of recycled paper. Remember! Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees compared to paper made from virgin materials.
96. Buy a duplex-capable copy machine.
One that can print both sides of paper. If you make your copies in copy shops, ask them to set the machine to double-sided. You'll save energy on the production of paper.
97. Reduce waste.
Most products we buy cause greenhouse gas emissions in one or another way, e.g. during production and distribution. By taking your lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of a disposable one, you save the energy needed to produce new lunch boxes.
98. Use a reusable coffee mug rather than a disposable cup.
It’s estimated that American’s consume more than 16 billion paper cups each year. That equates to approximately 252 million pounds of waste in our landfills…each year. Starbucks alone estimated that it used 1.9 billion cups in 2006. Invest in your own office coffee mug instead of using disposable plastic or paper cups. If you drink two coffees a day, you would be saving approximately 400 plastic cups in one year.
99. Start a carpool with your co-workers or classmates.
Sharing a ride with someone just 2 days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds a year.
100. Encourage your school or business to reduce emissions.
You can extend your positive influence on global warming well beyond your home by actively encouraging other to take action.
101. Encourage the switch to renewable energy.
Successfully combating global warming requires a national transition to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. These technologies are ready to be deployed more widely but there are regulatory barriers impeding them.
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