What can we do to save the planet
Simple everyday gestures to help the planet
This list of actions is far from complete. It is up to all of us to find new ways to help the environment.Together, we can really change things by creating a vast network and an ocean of action, for the preservation of our home, the Earth.
In front of the house
Are we destined to vanish under our waste? Every year, in France, we literally produce a mountain of waste – the equivalent in volume of Mont Blanc (which is 4,807 m high). So something must be done!
Recycling provides an easy and efficient response to this problem and should be intensified. We must all work together, including manufacturers and consumers, to achieve this. Shops must start stocking - and we must start buying - products that can be recycled. There are new business opportunities in this sector that can provide new jobs, so we all have everything to gain.
- With 27 plastic bottles we can make one item of polar clothing. With the same bottles we can make plastic piping, flower pots, or even smartcards. With 670 aluminium cans we can produce a bicycle, but also car body panels. And with paper, we can produce recycled paper.
In the kitchen
Everyday, our lifestyle requires the consumption of energy, raw materials and water. It also causes polluting emissions and waste. The consequences of all this are the degradation of the environment and global warming. Nevertheless, by changing some of our routine day-to-day actions, and behaviours, we can, little by little, help to change all this.
- The curse of plastic bags: they take only seconds to manufacture and we use them for less than an hour. But they take centuries to decompose in the environment. And plastic bags love to travel! The wind blows them across the countryside, spoiling it at the same time. Rivers carry them to the Ocean, then they drift with the currents, both above and below the surface. They litter the north and south poles. Around the world each year plastic waste is responsible for the death of 100,000 marine mammals and turtles because they mistakenly take it for food..
- How much water is consumed per day, per person and in each country? Water is a rare resource and distributed very unevenly. More than a billion people across the world live with less than 20 litres of water per day. Now, did you know that you can wash your dishes and still save water? The latest generation of dish washers make economical use of water. On average they use 15 l of water and 12 l if you select the short cycle. And of course, you should only use your dish washer when it is fully loaded. By the same token, if you wash your dishes under a running tap, you’ll use some 150 l of water whereas by filling two sinks you’ll use only 20 litres and get the job done!
- Cold storage accounts for a third of the annual household electricity bill. Yet savings are possible simply by changing a few habits. For example, opt for a low energy fridge… Leave space behind your fridge and freezer…Don’t place them near a heat source…..And above all, de-ice them regularly. Just 5 mm of ice in the freezer and energy consumption doubles. So it’s important to de-ice regularly. Don’t put hot food in the fridge and, as warm air enters the fridge every time you open it, avoid opeining it too often and always close the door as quickly as possible.
In the bathroom
Just because we can simply turn on the tap to have running water doesn’t mean it should be wasted. Water is both precious and expensive. There are some simple things you can do to reduce your consumption and do something for the Planet at the same time.
Use water economically. You are not doing this is if you let the water run when brushing your teeth, when washing your hands or when taking baths, or if you only call out the plumber only when ‘you can get round to it’, or if you don’t have a water economiser fitted to your toilet flush. Every day, if you are not a careful user, you can use 300 litres of water in your bathroom alone.
Being a careful user means: rincing out your mouth with a glass of water after brushing, not leaving the tap running while washing your hands, taking a short shower rather than running a bath, calling out the plumebr as soon you notice a problem and fitting a water economiser to your toilet flush. Doing all this can bring your bathroom water use down to 100 litres per day.
- Why not economise when doing the washing? But how? First, by choosing a low energy and low water use washing machine. Second, by selecting short washing cycles, by, if possible, washing at lower temperatures and only washing when your machine has a full load.`
- And there are significant savings to make here! In France, washing machines keep 5 nuclear reactors busy. On average, washing clothes in a maching machine accounts for more than a third of a household’s annual electricity bill and 15% of the water bill. It’s worth thinking about!
- Keep your water heating system properly maintained and set it to a maximum of 60° C. This will also help avoid bacterial contamination.
In the living room
- We often heat our living room too much. In winter, the ideal temperature is 19°C, 17°C being recommended for bedrooms. By reducing temperature by 1°C, a saving of 600 euros per year can be made.
- Lighting your home accounts for 15% of your electricity bill, so it’s worth considering ways to pay less and help the planet at the same time: natural daylight is perfect for reading and writing, so keep your desk by the window… use low voltage compact fluorescent bulbs (they use 4 times less energy and their lifespans are 6 to 10 times as long… when you leave a room, don’t forget to turn out the light… don’t leave electrical/electronic appliances on standby. As televisions, video/DVD players and computers sleep with one eye open, a computer on standyby still uses 72% of the power it uses when operating normally.
In the storeroom
Both the share and sources of renewable energy in our total energy use is set to increase. Are intelligent homes on their way? Both temperature and electricity can be controlled by computer, which can optimise energy use when all electrical appliances are connected into its network. And everything can be remotely controlled.
- Building a home, saving money and respecting the environment at the same time is possible. By insulating your home less energy is needed to stay warm. Insulation not only contributes to reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, but leads to an energy use saving of 81 %. For example, for a house with 97 m2 of ground surface area, 81 m2 of roofing and 65 m2 of external walls, the electricity requirement without insulation is 26,918 kwh, but 4,983 kwh with insulation. That’s an energy saving of 81%.
- Protective and finishing substances which are both harmless for man and the environment do exist. They can be used instead of those in common use today. Paints and wood stains use a linseed oil binder, to which natural substances are added for the product’s thinner and pigment. Lead or barium drying agents should not be used. Care is also required regarding fillers, coatings and sealers. Adhesives can be especially dangerous cocktails. We should be using natural substances instead. Ask in the shop for advice before you buy these products, and don’t forget to read the labels.
- To insulate your home, opt for materials which are non-toxic and natural both in their production and use, especially cork, wether wool, glass and rock wool, flax, hemp...
In the garden
Garden with nature, not against her.
- Pesticides and fertilizers are massively overused. They penetrate the ground, seep into rivers and end up in the Ocean. France is the 3rd largest user of pesticides in the world! Our use of pesticides is excessive, and by an order of 10, while our use of fertilizers is excessive by an order of 3.
- Catch and store rainwater. Rain is free! And why not use it for washing your car or for cleaning the front of the house? Why not use it in the washing machine or for flushing the toilet? You should also water your garden in the morning or in the evening, as evaporation is less at these times. And don’t forget that hoeing your garden just once is worth three waterings.
In the garage
Do you know how to reduce your fuel consumption by 20%? You can obtain a 10% saving by properly servicing your engine. How can you increase the longevity of your car? Why travel in your car alone? Let the planet breathe!
Power to the pedal! For short trips, why take the car? You can easily use a bicycle or go on foot. It’s good for you, it’s good for the planet and it’s good for your wallet.