The definitive guide to saving the planet (even from your couch)

Published on Thursday, 26 September 2019

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Level 2: Saving the planet without leaving home

Tricks such as placing the fridge away from heat sources, avoiding preheating the oven for dishes that take more than an hour to cook and cleaning your refrigerator coils can make you the sustainable hero of your home.

Some more ideas include:

  • Replacing old appliances with models that provide more efficient energy consumption.
  • Drying clothes and hair in the air to avoid the energy consumption of fast drying machines.
  • Insulating windows and doors to increase energy efficiency.
  • Adjusting the thermostat, lowering it in winter and raising it in summer.
  • Reducing water consumption by taking showers instead of baths, as they consume four times less water and energy.
  • Using food waste as compost, thereby avoiding the need for chemical fertilisers and taking advantage of the remaining nutrients.
  • Recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminium, batteries, clothing, etc., and bringing each item to its designated container.

“Recycling continues to be one of the main pillars of sustainability in cities”

Level 3: The best (and most sustainable) neighbour on the block

Outside the home, your impact is multiplied with your transportation and consumption choices. To become a sustainable neighbour, you can:

  • Ride a bicycle, walk, use an electric scooter or take public transport.
  • Keep your car in good condition, so that it emits fewer toxic gases.
  • Buy local products, supporting the businesses in your area and preventing trucks from having to travel long distances.
  • Make sure that the products you buy are sustainable.
  • Bring your own shopping bag to the supermarket - preferably a reusable fabric one.
  • Use a water bottle and a reusable coffee cup, which will also save you money in some coffee shops.
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Level 4: Sustainability star at work

Your work environment is another place where you can make your mark and be an example to others, making changes like:

  • Travelling to work using a sustainable and efficient method of transport, saving car journeys for large groups of people.
  • Trying to generate less rubbish, especially plastics. Using glass bottles and your own coffee cup to prevent plastic waste.
  • Participating in the Corporate Social Responsibility activities organised by your company, collaborating with civil society and helping local communities.
  • Where possible, adjusting the thermostats so that the air conditioning is at the right level for the outside temperature, thereby reducing costs.