Doing the green resolution is proving to be quiet challenging. I seem to be constantly reading labels and on bin monitor duty. But as I have been reading up on the whole green thing, I am realising that some of the things I do in everyday life are actually greener than I thought. I use to think you were either green or not green but I am learning that there are several shades of green and some of these shades I am already doing. Take washing the dishes, something that is some in every household every day and several times a day. Now the really green option would be serving up the food on huge leaves which is completely impractical, slightly mad and would confirm to my kids that I had lost the plot. At the other end of the scale is washing dishes by hand â€“ yes washing dishes by hand can be the least green thing to do.
As with the washing the dishes I have looked at some of the other things I do on a daily bases and graded them into their green shades. Are you greener than you thought?
Washing the Dishes -Using leaves as plates or washing the dishes in cold filtered rainwater is not aÂ sensibleÂ answer for a busy mum. Next best is using an AAA rated dishwasher, but only when itâ€™s full. It may sound completely wrong to big up the dishwasher but when an AAA dishwasher is used full it can use at little as 15 litres of water per cycle. Over ten years that could save a household 100,000 litres of water. Beware of the half load setting though as these seldom use half the electric of half the water of a full cycle. Oh and have a read of the detergent you are using as they may contain chlorine and phosphates which are not green. Look out for eco friendly detergents.
Washing and Drying Clothes â€“ not the best answer but to be the greenest answer is to not to wash clothes. Probably every teenagers dream but in reality not very practical. The next best thing is to wash clothes by hand using harvested rainwater and lots of elbow grease with drying the clothes on the line.
Lighting â€“ Lighting only uses 3% of energy and 16% of electric of your household total which on its own going green in this department wonâ€™t save loads. But if everyone joined it and would have a positive effect. The greenest you can be with lighting is to sit in the dark. Being with one with nature and its cycles may be doable in summer but not practical or safe in winter. The next greenest option is probably the highest tec. Light Emitting Diodes or LEDS to you and me. These are good for two reasons. The lights use very little power, typically just 1 to 3 watts per bulb and they have a long life (50,000 hours). The out lay for LEDâ€™s may be higher than halogens but over 15 years 20 LED down lighters could cost around Â£600 compared to Â£4,500 for halogen equivalents
Washing the Dishes -Using that thing in the kitchen that has taps attached, yes the sink. Though you would only qualify for 2 green stars if you used a bowl of water for rinsing instead of running water, oh and you would have to use eco friendly detergent too. Lastly all the waste water would be used on the plants too.
Washing and Drying Clothes â€“ sharing resources is always a good eco saving and never more so than with washing. A study showed that a laundry service for washable nappies that took away dealt with and returned used 32% less energy than home washing and 41% less water. If you can use a launderette and share a load it would be greener than owning a washing machine.
Lighting â€“. CFL ( compact fluorescent) bulbs are commonly the easy option for low energy lighting as they typically use a quarter of the energy than incandescent bulbs whilst producing the same amount of light and lasting 15 time longer. The manufacturing process uses 4 times the energy to make than normal light bulbs; this is more than cancelled out by the energy savings.
Washing the Dishes -Using a really old antique of a dishwasher. Surprisingly this old beast will use about 50 litres of water which is loads better than the no stars option. But did you know if you could save up and replace the old beast with an AAA rated dishwasher it would eventually pay for its self if youâ€™re on a water meter.
Washing and Drying Clothes â€“ A+ or AA rated appliances, used sparingly at low temperature, with minimal washing detergent and line drying is about the greenest the realistic busy family will get. Keep in mind though a 40 degree wash uses almost half the energy of 60 degree wash. The drying though should still be line dried as there is no such thing as a green tumble dryer.
Lighting â€“ The common old light bulb. ( Incandescent) is not very green with its short life ( 1,000 hours) It also only uses 5% of the energy it uses for light whilst the filament glows away at 2,500c
Washing the Dishes -Washing dishes in the sink with the tap running to rinse the dishes could, if youâ€™re on washing up duty after a big meal, use about 150 litres of water.
Washing and Drying Clothes â€“ You donâ€™t earn any green points if youâ€™re frequently washing, using the tumble dryer and using non eco detergents. Those couple of washes a day at a 60 degree temperature would add up to 40,000 litres of water in a year. Dry cleaning is also a non star award.
Lighting â€“ Halogen spotlight may look sparkly and not use more power than incandescent but the problem is we like to use a lot of them. A typical halogen light kitchen could be boasting 600w when CFL and LED lights are improving enough to achieve the same effect on 7w each. Lastly candles, the typical hippy green image are sadly the un-greenest lighting solution. They are inefficient at producing light as most of their energy goes into heat. They are also made from fossil-fuel-derived paraffin wax which chucks out pollutants directly into your home.