Wednesday, 22 April 2020

A Housebound Eco Guide: Part Four

PART ONE ~ PART TWO ~ PART THREE ~ PART FOUR

Hello my loves loves!

We're here for the fourth and final instalment in this Housebound Eco guide. If you're still reading, then I salute you.
Today we'll be looking at an eco wardrobe, keeping your house insulated, eco-electrics, and online options to make the world a better place.


Wardrobe

Upcycle old clothes

If you’ve got something a bit old or out-of-date, is there any way you could give it a new look instead of chucking it? 
I’ve done this with a couple of old t-shirts by changing the neckline, and I like them so much better than I did and I didn’t need to replace anything.
Saved money, and landfill, and gave myself a low key project to keep myself occupied when I had the energy.


Clothing Swap

Instead of chucking old and buying new clothes, maybe see if any similar sized friends have anything they don’t want anymore that you do. New clothes for free? Yes, please.





Donate or sell old clothes

Anything that’s in a decent condition you could either donate to charity or have a go at selling online. I’ve made a bit of cash with some of my old shoes and dresses this way, and we could all do with a bit more of that.


Make cleaning rags

For those pieces that are too far gone to sell or donate, you can still use them by cutting them into rags for cleaning. If you’re a dab hand at sewing you can use old items to test patterns and make mock ups.


Handkerchieves 

Using handkerchieves might seem a bit old fashioned, but they’re a much, much greener alternative to tissues. Use, and then stick them in the washing machine. And, if you have some fabric from old clothes you’re not using anymore, you can make them yourself!

Originally I was a bit grossed out by the concept, but I found some lovely vintage ones online and I really like using them. Anything that makes me feel like I’m a romantic heroine in a dramatic novel.



Plus my stepdad’s been using them since I can remember and he barely gets ill so it can’t be that unhygienic.

I’ve got a lot of different cotton quilting fabrics in my craft stash from where I’ve got excited about different patterns, so I’ll be making some for myself in the future, as well as some for gifts.


Buy second hand

Just as donating your clothes to second hand shops is great, so is buying second hand. You can get some great steals this way, and I’ve been using this option to slowly complete my mission of having shoes in every colour of the rainbow. There’s also so many option for this online now that it’s possible even for house or bedbound people. Win.

As well as the classic Ebay, there are places like Vinted or Preloved, where individuals can list their items.

Oxfam have their own online shop now, and there’s also Re-Fashion, which hosts items raising money for multiple charities.

If you want something super fancy, then Micolet have some really high-end brands second-hand and much, much cheaper.



Carbon Offset

Even if you don’t go second hand, you can still look out for online retailers that offset their carbon emissions to be as green as possible. Etsy have started doing this so hopefully other brands will follow.


Wyatt and Jack

Wyatt and Jack use old beach toys and inflatables to make new items, like bags, pouches and even earrings. Not only can you buy something great, but you can also donate your old and broken inflatables or deck chairs to them to make new and beautiful objects from. 



Insulation


Draft excluder

A simple but effective way to keep in the warm air is using draft excluders by your doors. Do they look like something your nan had 90% of the time? Yes. Do most of the things us Spoonies end up using look like that anyway? Also yes.

And look! This one looks like a dog!




Double glazing

If you have the means, double (or even triple) glazing is a brilliant way to keep more heat in your home. The air between the layers of glass stops the heat from escaping, newer frames can eliminate gaps that create drafts, and the pièce de résistance… it helps sound proofing. So if you live on a busy street or the kids next door are making your noise sensitivity go haywire, then double glazing can be a lifesaver.


Plastic double glazing

If you’ve not got the budget for double glazing, or are renting a property without double glazing, then a great alternative is plastic double glazing film.
This film can be stuck around your windows and then heated with a hair dryer to create a tight seal.
I have both fond and harrowing memories associated with this because we used it heavily in our student housing.
When putting it over the bathroom window I pushed against the frame to ensure a good seal and the entire window frame shifted in the wall as if the window would fall out of the house. It was not a very nice place.
That said, the plastic double glazing film really did make a difference. Even with this stuff on all the windows we spent several months a year huddled together on the sofa covered in dressing gowns, hot water bottles and duvets - I dread to think what it would have been like without it!

Here's some from Wickes, and some from Amazon.


Wall and Roof Insulation

The final types of insulation are roof and cavity wall insulation. Most new builds will have some form of this already, but if yours doesn’t it really makes a difference to your energy bills.
We’ve had both types fitted and we’ve saved so much money on heating. Although, unfortunately we did it just before the government started offering grants to certain groups of people. Curses!



To find out if you’re eligible for help getting with insulation, head here

Wall insulation can also help provide some form of soundproofing. We didn’t get any in the wall joining us and next door and I’m genuinely considering saving up and paying for it myself just so I don’t have to hear their terrible music choices when I’m trying to rest.



Eco-energy provider

There are now various energy providers that work being eco-friendly into their business plans. If that’s something you’re interested in here are a few! You can even add a check box for eco-friendly services when comparing providers on Money Supermarket.

According to their website Bulb is the UK largest green energy supplier. Their electricity is 100% renewable and 10% of their gas is, with the rest being offset with carbon reduction projects they support. Their motto is “Simpler, Cheaper, Greener”. Customer service is available via phone, live chat and email.

Again, Octopus boast 100% green electricity, and they don’t lock you in a contract. Their customer service is also offered over email and social media as well as phone, which is nice for accessibility, and they’re apparently the UK’s largest investor in solar energy.
According to their website they’re listed as a recommended energy provider by Which from 2018-2020.

Ecotricity are the UK’s longest running green energy firm, and offer 100% green electricity. They don’t currently offer 100% green gas, but again, anything not green is offset with carbon reduction schemes. They’re also in the midst of expanding to make their gas carbon neutral with biogas made from grass.
They have Pay As You Go options as well as tariffs, so that could be handy for people on metres.

Perhaps one day we’ll all be able to afford solar panels on the roof, but this is a great start if not.



Electrics

Remote control plugs

I found these amazing remote control plugs online that allow you to turn things on and off easily. It’s a good idea to turn items off at the wall to avoid charging things unnecessarily and using “standby energy”, where appliances draw electricity in standby mode.
While the general advice is to unplug things all together (or turn the plug off at the wall), sometimes that isn’t feasible if you have a disability, either because you’re not mobile or flexible enough, or you don’t have the energy to do it.

Remote control plug sockets take the mobility and energy issues away and greatly reduce the power you might be using. You can even set a daily alarm to remind you to turn off the sockets before you go to bed.




Power strip with switch

Similarly to the remote control plugs, a power strip with individual socket switches will allow you to control how much power is being used by the items plugged into it. I don’t have to energy to keep unplugging and plugging things, but this allows me to have my various chargers ready for use, and all I have to do is complete the circuit and turn on the socket.

Most power strips like this will include lights for each individual socket, so you can be sure that a. You’ve remember to turn it on, and b. You’ve turned on the correct socket.


Energy saving lightbulbs 

A fairly obvious (and common) one, but worth reiterating. And much cheaper than they used to be!


Use rechargeable batteries

Both disposable batteries and rechargeable batteries can be difficult to dispose of or recycle correctly in the UK - you usually have to drop them off at specific locations in your area, but the benefit of rechargeable batteries is two-fold.

One, they save you money. Although the outlay is more to begin with, the fact you’re able to just keep filling up the batteries and reusing them means you end up buying few fewer batteries in the long run, so it works out pretty cost effective.
Two, the fact you’re disposing of fewer batteries (or sending fewer to recycling plants) means you avoid sending so many batteries to landfill. Win, win.

Feel free to do your own research online about the best ones for you. I have some Duracell ones, but I’ve heard great things about Panasonic Eneloop batteries.



Paper

Unsubscribe from unnecessary catalogues, god knows they like to send them constantly, and go paperless paperless for your bills and bank statements. 
Lots of places also offer to email you receipts instead of printing one for you; not only will you save paper, but you’re much less likely to lose an important receipt if it’s in your email inbox!

When it comes to reading you can try Ebooks or buy your books second hand, saving money and paper. You could also join a book swap group and, of course, there’s always the library.
If you’re housebound or are unable to make it to your local library, try and find out if mobile library service operates in your area.



Green web

The physical world isn’t the only place where you can be greener, eco-friendly hosting and search engines now exist online, so if you’re looking to make changes there then here are some options.


Hosting

Kuala boast 100% green powered hosting, and have environmental policies that aim to reduce waste, encourage recycling and avoid unnecessary travel. Apparently many of their workers work from home, so I’m hoping that means they’re a pretty disabled friendly brand.
They offer shared hosting, business hosting, Wordpress hosting and reseller hosting options, as well as domains.

For further research on green hosting options check out this article from Tech Radar.


Search Engines 

Ecosia is a search engine that uses the revenue generated by ads to plant trees around this world, so every search goes to literally making the world greener. They’ve also created a solar energy plant to help power their searches.



Contact brands

If there’s something you love that isn’t eco friendly... tell the brand. They have a lot of customers to gain with the political climate, and companies are always looking for ways to have better selling points than others.
If enough people say they want eco-friendly versions of their products then there’s a real chance for change.

I’m hoping to convince Sure that they should come out with eco-friendly reusable deodorant packaging. I want the product, but I don’t want to use the plastic!




Try not to fly in Aeroplanes

Aw man, would you look at that? I did it! I guess being housebound for five years has its perks!

Seriously though, the chances of us actually getting to go somewhere are already ridiculously slim, that this is one you’re going to have to decide on your own.
Using aeroplanes are bad for the environment, there’s no doubt about that, but we also don’t have the flexibility of able-bodied people to take different options of travel. 
For some of us, going by train, or boat, or car might actually be more suitable to their condition, in which case… brilliant! But to others using a plane might be the only option of getting to a place without worsening your condition. 

If you do have to take a flight there are organisations that allow you to offset your carbon emissions by donating to various projects, like planting more trees in the amazon rainforest, or helping with hydroelectric power in Chile and wastewater treatments in Thailand.
Here’s just one of the options, but there’s plenty more to choose from with just a quick internet search!



Larger Scale Change

If you're keen to look into more ways to help with climate change beyond individual lifestyle changes you can check out this great YouTube video on the subject. It's quite long but it's very thorough and explains things very well.




Finally

The last thing I want to leave you with is that I hope you can try not to worry too much. I know that it can be really stressful to hear about climate change and feel like you can never do enough.

If you're reading this you clearly care a lot, but it's ok that you can't do everything. It's not the sort of thing that any one person can fix; the only thing anyone can really do is alter things in their small corner.
If you're disabled or chronically ill, especially if you're house or bed bound, then that corner will naturally be smaller than other peoples. That's ok.

I hope this guide can help guard you against those hopeless feeling, and empower you to feel like you can do something, no matter how small.



Sending love, my lovelies.


H


PART ONE ~ PART TWO ~ PART THREE ~ PART FOUR

2 comments:

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