What Are The Greener Options For Charging Your Phone Or Tablet?

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Image via Flickr creative commons from markguim

Gadgets can suck up a fair bit of energy over their lifetime and it is unsurprising that more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their energy spend and bring down household bills at the same time as doing their bit for the environment. The good news is that there a number of ways that you can be more environmentally aware when it comes to charging up your gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. Charging them is easy, especially when you have covers from the Snugg UK that allow easy access to all of the ports. What is not so easy is remembering to be green – here are a few helpful tips!

Think carefully before charging overnight

One of the best and probably one of the simplest ways to save money and energy when it comes to charging gadgets is to make sure you think carefully about when you do it. Something that many people do is charge their smartphones and tablets up during the night when they’re not in use. Unfortunately today’s gadgets don’t actually take that long to charge up and so they remain plugged in and drawing down electricity even after they are fully charged. While you’re very unlikely to notice a spike in your electricity bill from doing this now and again, it’s important to remember that you are wasting electricity which is not only costing the environment but also hurting your wallet.

Don’t leave your charger plugged in at the wall

Taking appliances off charge once the batteries are full isn’t the only thing you’ll have to remember. It’s also important to make sure that you have turned off the charger at the socket once you’re done. Even if the device has been unplugged, a small amount of electricity can still be used by the plug. Cut out waste – turn it off.

Go for a timer

If you really don’t have the option of charging up your tablet or phone in the daytime or during the evening, then consider investing in a device to cut off power after a set period. It is possible to buy low-cost outlet timers that will automatically turn themselves off and stop drawing down power after a fixed period – perfect if your device will only take four hours to charge but you’re going to be in the land of nod for eight hours!

Harness the power of the sun!

If you’re not too keen on drawing down power from your home’s electricity supply then how about harnessing the power of the sun and getting some juice for free. It is now possible to buy solar-powered phone and tablet chargers that will drink up the sun’s rays and then dispense it into your gadgets when you’re ready. This type of device can be great for when you are travelling and don’t have a mains power source handy, or alternatively, is just a fab way of staying powered-up without harming the environment. Everyone wins!

How to Make Sure your Home is Properly Insulated

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Red Moon Sanctuary

If your home is not properly insulated, you could be using about half of the heat your boiler is producing. Lost heat is wasted money and rather than having to turn up the thermostat on those long, cold winter nights, make sure you’re properly insulated. There are many ways this can be done, a lot of this is DIY, other times it can be done as part of more extensive work such as with a loft conversion from Econoloft.co.uk.

Proper insulation can save you hundreds of pounds a year, and over time will soon pay for itself. At the same time, the size of your carbon footprint will plummet significantly. Your first port of call should be the doors, fit a few draught excluders around the house. This will probably not help with retaining heat everywhere besides the external doors. But if you are sitting in the living room with a fire on, it will stop head disappearing in the cracks between the door and its frame. Don’t forget to add a trim to your letterbox.

Next, make sure the windows throughout your home are well insulated. Beyond the obvious double glazing, the cracks in the corners, between window and frame can be a place for hot air to escape. The best way to check for this is run the palm of your hand around the window – without touching it. Feel for the bits of cold air. The weaker parts can be bunged up with sealer or putty. If you don’t have double glazing, it is definitely something you should investigate. It is a little more expensive, but will pay for itself sooner than you think.

Keeping your house insulated can also be as simple as changing little habits. Close your curtains as soon as it gets dark, or sooner. It may seem insignificant but they can act as an important barrier between you and huge heating bills. For added protection, invest in curtains with a thermal backing.

One of the best ways to save on your heating bills is with loft insulation. You can reduce your carbon footprint by a huge one tonne a year. You don’t even need an expert to come and do it for you – most of, if not all, is DIY. When you see homes in winter following snow, you will notice there will be a few which lose the ice from their roof almost immediately. This is a sign of how effective proper loft insulation is.

Choose between man-made insulation and natural fibres such as sheep wool. The former is cheaper than most other alternatives and the most common material is fibreglass. If you opt for sheep wool, prepare to pay a little more. The cost is worth it as this wool is much more effective at keeping heat in than anything made by a human being.

Finally, take a look at your boiler. If you have a water tank makes sure it is not left exposed to the elements. You may think it is fine sitting in the middle of your house, but it can still lose a lot of heat. Wrap it in an 8cm think jacket – these can be bought from most DIY stores and will pay for themselves in around six months. They will cut heat loss by around 75 per cent.

Tips for making sure that your footprint is as green as possible

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Lauri Vain

As you’ve probably noticed, environmental issues have steadily crept further and further up the political and social agenda over the last quarter of a century or so. This is in large part because of climate change, which has generally come to be regarded as one of the most pressing issues currently facing humanity. Although it’s important to remember that the vast majority of carbon emissions are produced by large industrial concerns rather than households, that’s not to say that there aren’t steps we can take to reduce our impact on the planet. It’s important that we all pull together and do our bit – because if we don’t, the consequences don’t bear thinking about.

One of the most commonly-used environmental buzzwords of recent years is “carbon footprint”. This particular phrase refers to the amount of greenhouse gases each individual, household, business or other organisation is responsible for emitting – so when people talk about reducing their carbon footprint, they’re talking about emitting lower amounts of greenhouse gases. There are a number of steps that each of us can take to reduce our carbon emissions, and it’s worth carrying out a thorough assessment of what pollutants you’re responsible for releasing into the atmosphere as part of your everyday routine. When you have an idea of what your individual carbon footprint is, you’re better placed to work out how you can reduce it.

As an article from eHow.com points out, you can reduce your carbon footprint making relatively small-scale adjustments to your lifestyle. Perhaps the first thing you should consider is whether or not it could be a good idea to buy a more environmentally-friendly car. Many of us have been driving the same old gas guzzlers for years, spewing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In recent years, a number of more eco-friendly models have come on to the market – such as those produced by Dacia and other manufacturers – and so it’s well worth looking at what these vehicles have to offer. Many eco-friendly cars also happen to be cheaper to run, as they’re more fuel-efficient. At a time when so many of us are facing financial uncertainty, this could turn out to be a wise investment.

You can also reduce your carbon footprint – and save money – by thinking more carefully about when you actually need to use your car. If you can walk instead of driving, then why not do so? Not only does this save on unnecessary fuel consumption, but it’s also good for you as it helps you get some useful exercise. It’s easy for motorists to get used to driving anywhere and everywhere, but there will be times when you simply don’t need to drive.

There are also a number of other things you can do to cut back on your personal carbon emissions. It’s worth keeping a close eye on when you use electrical appliances, for instance. An article from Yahoo suggests that instead of leaving them on standby, you should make sure they’re properly turned off. Likewise, don’t leave lights switched on when you don’t need. Insulating your home can also help you reduce the size of your carbon footprint.

5 Eco-Friendly Ways To Recycle Old Clothes

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Image via Flickr creative commons from net_efekt

There comes a time in every person’s life when they are just fed up of wearing the same old clothes and desperately wish for new ones. However, in order to make room in your wardrobe for all of your brand new threads, you’ll need to get rid of the old ones first. No doubt you’ve heard of the saying, out with the old and in with the new? Well I am going to show you just how you can do that and help the environment with five eco-friendly ways to recycle your old clothes.

1.      Donate to charity

It may sound obvious but one way you could put your old and unwanted clothes to good use is to donate them to a charity shop. By doing so, somebody else will be able to make good use out of your old clothes and you will create sufficient space in your wardrobe and drawers to put your new purchases. The great thing about donating to charity is that you will be helping a good cause and someone else will be able to get their hands on top quality clothing for a fraction of the usual cost. Just make sure your clothes are still in tip-top condition before you bag them up and take them down to the store. Nobody will feel inclined to buy dishevelled clothing that is ripped or stained.

2.      Clothes-swap

Your clothes don’t have to be damaged or necessarily old and worn for you to want new ones. Sometimes you may have been given clothing as a gift and you find that you don’t like it or that it doesn’t fit you. Rather than seem ungrateful, graciously accept the gift in the knowledge that it will come in handy for your next clothes-swapping party. Invite all of your friends round to your house and tell everyone to bring an item of clothing or some accessories that are unwanted but still in great condition. Then take it in turns to pick out an item from the pile. You may find that your best friend has a gorgeous green dress that suits you while she may covet those red beads that you no longer wear.

3.      Fashion your clothes into new pieces

Perhaps your old M&Co blouses have seen better days but you just can’t bring yourself to throw them away? In that case, you will be pleased to know that you can take cuttings from your old clothes and fashion them into fantastic new pieces. That sheer blouse that you love the colour of can be used to make a sheer denim button up tank top. Simply chop the sleeves off your old, non-fitting denim jacket. Next chop your jacket up just below the front jacket pocket flaps and retain the button section but discard the rest of the jacket. Chop off the top section of your sheer blouse from underneath the arm upwards and se to the top of the denim jacket. Finally sew on the button section to complete the top.

4.      Sell your old clothes

Another ingenious way to pass on your clothes, i.e. recycle old clothes, which will make you a bit of money at the same time, is to sell them via an online marketplace. You may not fetch an awful lot of money for your old and unwanted clothes, but you will be doing your bit for the environment and at least someone else will have the opportunity to wear them, rather than having old clothes cluttering up your drawers at home.

5.      Use old clothes for cleaning cloths

On occasion you will have a collection of old clothes that are so worn and tired that they are unsuitable to be sold on or given away to charity. In such circumstances, you can still re-use your old tops as cleaning rags. Simply cut them up into medium sized pieces and you will save money on having to buy expensive and overpriced cleaning cloths.