What Can You Do?

Going green is easier than you think!  Small changes can make a big difference to the environment.  Think about leaving your car at home even one day per week and cycling or walking instead.  This will reduce greenhouse gases and help to improve your health.   At the supermarket, buy products with less packaging.  Get into the habit of turning off the tap when brushing your teeth.  Check out our 'What Can You Do' section for lots of useful ways that will help to improve Ireland's environment.

Air & Climate

You can reduce the amount of air pollutants and greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere by using less energy. The less you use your car, the smarter way you drive and the less electricity and fossil fuels you use, the less air pollutants and greenhouse gases will be produced.

Save energy and money

  • Check out the EPA's Green Home programme for householders at www.greenhome.ie developed in conjunction with An Taisce and sponsored by the EPA's National Waste Prevention Programme
  • Turn down the heat especially at night and when away from home.Turning your thermostat down by 1oC will cut your heating bill by up to 10 per cent
  • Turn off appliances, e.g. computers, televisions and stereos when you are not using them. The little red standby light on means the appliance is still using power
  • Turn off lights in empty rooms and when away from home
  • Switch your high-wattage light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) - they last longer and use 80 per cent less electricity
  • Buy the most energy-efficient household appliances you can afford. ‘A’ rating appliances are most energy saving
  • When making tea or coffee, boil as much water as you need
  • Buy locally produced or grown items where there is a choice - they don’t require the transportation energy of imported goods
  • Most energy loss in homes is through poorly insulated lofts, walls and windows - install more insulation and draft-proof your home
  • Avail of the Greener Grants and use renewable energy such as solar energy, heat pump systems and wood fuel for your heating needs and reduce reliance on fossil fuels

Travel smartly 

  • Reduce the use of your car especially for short trips: walk, use your bike or take a bus.Car pool whenever you can
  • Drive your car smartly and you will reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
  • Service your car regularly to keep your engine running efficiently
  • Keep tyres sufficiently inflated
  • Drive smoothly and avoid harsh braking and acceleration as this increases fuel consumption by up to 12 per cent
  • Drive at lower speeds – fuel consumption increases by 17 per cent at 96 km/h and 29 per cent at 112 km/h compared to 80 km/h.Switch off your engine during periods of idling and restart when needed
  • Choose a car with a smaller engine capacity or with the best fuel efficiency. In general, the smaller the car, the lower the CO2 emissions will be
  • Choose a car that uses a fuel with lower carbon content to reduce CO2 emissions including biofuels made from biomass (e.g. rapeseed, sugar beet), natural gas and diesel
  • You can reduce the chemicals that can impact on our waters. You can also reduce the quantity of water you use and so reduce the wastewater generated

 

 

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Waste

Reduce, reuse, recycle

  • Be conscious that buying products generates waste so buy only what you need
  • Buy reusable products where there’s a choice such as rechargeable batteries
  • Take unwanted, reusable items to a charitable shop such as clothes and toys or return items to businesses/shops e.g., return wire coat hangers to dry cleaners
  • Buy loose produce (fruit and vegetables) whenever possible and avoid over-packaged convenience foods
  • Choose products in reusable or recyclable containers - look for the recycle mark on products (three arrows that make a circle)
  • Buy products that contain recycled materials whenever possible
  • Recycle everything you can such as cans, glass, paper and cardboard, plastic, and clothes via home recycling schemes or local bring banks and send less waste to the landfill
  • Use local authority ‘drop-off’ facilities for waste oil, batteries or bigger items such as computers
  • Return old electrical goods to retailers when buying new electrical goods as defined under the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations
  • Consider changing some of your lawn area to a low maintenance garden to minimise grass clippings and save you time
  • Start a compost or worm bin for kitchen waste and garden clippings. As well as reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, you will have your own compost for your garden

Check out the EPA's Green Home programme for householders at www.greenhome.ie, developed in conjunction with An Taisce and sponsored by the EPA's National Waste Prevention Programme

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Nature

Conserve nature

  • Be conscious of conserving sensitive habitats when undertaking new developments.
  • Avoid picking wild plants or flowers and disturbing wildlife.
  • Keep to permanent pathways when walking in bogs and hillsides.
  • Throw litter in rubbish bins not the countryside.
  • Get involved in conservation projects.

In your garden

  • Plant native trees to absorb the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide from the air.
  • Let part of your garden grow freely and see what wild flowers appear.
  • Avoid using chemical pesticides and herbicides in your garden - use natural products/means instead.
  • Use organic compost and mulch to improve soil health and avoid the use of fertilisers.

 

 

 

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Water

  • Use environmentally safe cleaning products to reduce the impact of chemicals on water and dispose of unwanted chemicals, solvents and oils responsibly
  • Conserve water and reduce the generation of wastewater by repairing any leaks or dripping taps in your home
  • A dripping tap can waste up to 90 litres of water a day
  • Use a basin when washing dishes - it can save up to 10 litres every time
  • Take a shower instead of a bath - this can save 300 litres of water per person per week.  A power shower though can use more water than a bath
  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher only with a full load
  • Brushing your teeth with the tap off uses approximately 1 litre of water, compared to 6 litres per minute when the tap is left running
  • Washing your car with a bucket of water will take 10 litres on average.  A hose pipe will use 9 litres per minute
  • Installing a water-saving device in your cistern could save up to 3 litres a flush
  • Collect rainwater for watering your plants

 

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Energy

  • Turn down heating, especially at night and when away from home
  • Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree celsius will cut your heating bill by up to 10 per cent
  • Turn off appliances, e.g. computers, televisions and stereos when you are not using them
  • When the red standby light is on it means the appliance is still using power
  • Turn off lights in empty rooms and when away from home
  • Switch your high-wattage light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) - they last longer and use 80 per cent less electricity
  • Buy the most energy-efficient household appliances you can afford. ‘A’ rating appliances are the most energy saving
  • When making tea or coffee, boil only as much water as you need
  • Where possible, buy locally produced or grown items - they don’t require the transportation energy of imported goods
  • Most energy loss in homes is through poorly insulated lofts, walls and windows - install more insulation and draft proof your home
  • Use renewable energy such as solar energy

 

 

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