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European Mobility Week is an awareness raising campaign aiming at sensibilising citizens to the use of public transport, cycling, walking and at encouraging European cities to promote these modes of transport and to invest in the new necessary infrastructures. From 16 to 22 September 2010 the Mobility Week is the opportunity for European cities and towns to participate in the most widespread event on sustainable mobility.
- Avoid using your car for very short journeys. 60% of all car journeys are for trips under 2 miles. Cycling or walking is a healthy alternative for short trips.
- Taking care when filling your car at the pump. Do not fill your tank beyond the automatic shutoff point to prevent spills on the forecourt and prevent toxic fumes escaping from the fuel tank.
- Watch your speed when driving. Driving at a speed over 80 km/hr uses more fuel. Obey speed limits and drive with care for personal safety and a better environment.
- Maintain your car properly. A maintained car with correct tyre pressure and correct wheel alignment and well adjusted brakes uses less fuel than a car that is not maintained.
- Maintain your distance when driving; Safe and economical driving requires you to maintain a sufficient distance from the car in front – a minimum of 10m for every 15km/h speed. This way you can brake and accelerate more smoothly thus saving fuel.
- Lighten the load: Don’t carry unnecessary weight in your car boot and take off unused bike racks or roof boxes to save fuel.
- Don’t leave your car idling. Leaving the car running while stationery is wasting fuel and also prevents the catalytic converter from working efficiently which removes pollution in the exhaust.
- Carpool: Offer a lift to a friend or neighbour going to work in the same direction as you.
Home Heating Tips
- Insulate your attic. 30% of heat loss in a house occurs through the attic. Good quality attic insulation will prevent heat loss a and save 20% on your home heating bills. For more information on Attic Insulation contact Sustainable Energy Ireland.
- Draught proofing your house to reduce heat loss. Add a strip of draught excluder or compression seals around the edges of doors. It will save you money and is healthier for the environment. For more information on draught proofing your home contact Sustainable Energy Ireland.
- Draught proofing your house to reduce heat loss. Keep curtains closed at night to retain warm air. Check that your attic hatch is well sealed and insulated. For more information on draught proofing your home contact Sustainable Energy Ireland.
- Insulate Cavity Walls. Filling the gap between walls with an insulation material can reduce heating loss by 15%. For more information on Wall Insulation contact Sustainable Energy Ireland.
- Check your radiators. Place reflective insulation sheeting or tin foil behind your radiators on external walls. This directs heat into the room to maximise heat generation in your house to save money and energy.
- Check your radiators. If your radiator is below a window, install a shelf just above it to direct the heat back into the room to save money and energy.
- Check your radiators. Turn off radiators in rooms that are not being used. Heating rooms that you are not using is a waste of energy.
- Turn down your home thermostat by 1ºc. 20ºc is the optimum temperature for living rooms and 18ºc is suitable for bedrooms. A decrease of 1oC can reduce your home heating bill by 10%.
- Use the 30 minute rule for Home Heating. Set the heating to switch off 30 minutes before bedtime and to turn on 30 minutes before you get up in the morning.
- Use a lagging jacket on your hot water cylinder. This keeps water hotter for longer. It will pay for itself in 2-3 months.
- Service your boiler regularly. A well serviced boiler is more efficient and will use less energy.
Kitchen Energy Saving Tips
- Buy ‘A’ rated kitchen appliances. They cost less to run and over time will give you considerable savings on your energy bill.
- Turn on washing machines and dishwashers on with full loads only. A half empty machine uses the same energy as a full one.
- Don’t overfill your kettle. Only boil as much water as you need and you could save 165kg of CO2 per household per year.
- Turn off your iron when you only have one thing left to iron. Irons stay hot after they are switched off so it will remain hot enough to iron your last item even when its plugged out.
- Watch your pots. Match the pot size to the size of the element on your cooker. Cover your pots with lids when you can so food cooks quicker saving energy.
- Conserve energy when cooking. The top shelf of the oven is always the hottest so food cooks quicker than any other shelf. Don’t use the oven to cook a single dish. Bake a few items at the same time and freeze them for later use.
- Conserve energy when cooking. Turn on the oven light and look through the oven door instead of opening the oven door to check if food is ready. Every time the door is open 20% of oven heat escapes.
- Conserve energy when cooking. If boiling rice or pasta and want to steam some vegetables, replace the saucepan lid with a colander, pop the vegetables in and place the saucepan lid over the colander.
- Don’t let your fridge and freezer waste energy. A fridge needs air circulation inside to work better, so don’t overfill the fridge. The opposite is true for freezers, which work best when the freezer is full.
- Don’t let your fridge waste energy. Cover food before you place it into the fridge. Uncovered food allows moisture to evaporate, which makes the fridge use more energy to remain at a constant temperature.
- Don’t let your fridge waste energy. Keep the fridge at a temperature between 3-50C.
- Don’t let your freezer waste energy. Defrost your freezer when ice builds up a quarter inch or greater to save energy.
- Don’t let your fridge and freezer waste energy. Clean off the dust at the back of the refrigerator and around the motor area at least once every 6 months to allow the appliance to run more efficiently.
- Don’t let your fridge and freezer waste energy. Keep both your fridge and freezer out of direct sun light. Don’t put warm or hot food straight into the fridge or freezer. Let it cool down first.
- Don’t let your fridge and freezer waste energy. Maintain a five-centimetre buffer on all sides of your fridge and freezer to allow heat to escape from of these appliances easily which helps to conserve energy.
- Don’t let your fridge waste energy. Check your fridge and freezer seals regularly. Damaged fridge seals can cause your fridge to run inefficiently and use more energy. Clean and replace them as required.
- Use a clothes line: Hang your washing on a clothes line or airer instead of using a tumble dryer. If you must use a clothes dryer, clean out the lint filter each time you use it. It will work more efficiently and reduce fire danger.
- Avoid unnecessary electricity use between the peak hours 5pm and 7pm to help reduce national CO2 emissions.
General House Energy Tips
- Plug out all electrical appliances not in use. Equipment on stand-by uses up to 20% of the energy it would use when fully on.
- Use compact fluorescent lamps ( CFLs ) instead of traditional bulbs. They use 20% of the energy and last up to 15 times as long.
- Remember to switch off lights when you leave a room otherwise you are wasting energy and money.
- Dust your lamps and light fixtures with the power off. A thin layer of dust reduces light levels wasting energy and money.
- Dust and clean extraction fans around your home to improve their efficiency. Clean extraction fans use less energy.
General Household Tips
- Dispose of household chemicals properly. Pouring these down the drain can cause pollution. Ring your Local Authority for information on your options for household hazardous waste disposal.
- Limit your use of aerosol sprays. Use alternatives like pump sprays, roll on or in the case of furniture polish, opt for cream rather than spray. Maybe try natural alternatives such as lemon juice and vinegar.
- Limit your use of aerosol and plug in air fresheners. Open a window, find the source of the odour and deal with it rather than wasting energy and money trying to disguise it!
- Buy recycled toilet paper and save forests. The average household uses 159 rolls every year.
- Join your local library. Don’t buy books, go to your library and borrow them. It will cut down paper production and save you money.
- Don’t be a fashion victim. Buy good quality clothes that will last. Many cheap clothes are poor quality and made in developing countries who exploit workers and have poor environmental control in their factories.
- Recycle your specs and sun glasses: Donate old pairs of glasses to your local opticians to benefit people in developing countries.
- Recycle clothes that never see the light of day. Sort out your wardrobe and give clothes that you havn’t worn in the past year to your local charity shop.
- Stop junk mail. Every house gets unwanted junk mail every week wasting lots of paper. Contact the environmental awareness officer in your local Council to explain the easy steps a householder can take to eleminate junk mail.
Food Waste Prevention Tips
- Cut down on buying packaged food. This will reduce the emissions from energy used in production processes and transportation. It will also reduce packaging waste.
- Cut down on buying processed food. Processed food uses large amounts of energy during processing and transportation. Chemicals, additives, storage processes ( such as cooling and freezing ) can all contribute to increased carbon emissions.
- Cut down on food waste, plan your meals. Plan the week’s meals in advance and prepare a shopping list before you go on your weekly grocery shop. Remember, a two for one lettuce offer is not a bargain if the second head of lettuce lands up in the bin!
- Cut down on food waste; If you buy extra food that you don’t finish before it goes off, freeze it! Buy reusable freezer containers to keep your food fresh until you’re ready to eat it.
- Keep a reusable bag folded in your pocket or hand bag for shopping. Even when clothes shopping avoid taking a paper bag for every item.
- Buy local produce, cut down food miles. Food often travels long distances before it reaches the dinner table creating large CO2 emissions. Buy local food, grown in season.
- Don’t eat meat 7 days a week: Reducing the amount of meat we eat can have a positive impact on the environment.
- Become a green gardener! Cut down your pesticide use. Install a batbox in your garden. A bat will eat around 3,000 insects a night, a natural way to pest control
- Avoid using patio heaters; They produce enormous amounts of CO2. Put a jumper on instead!
- Buy a water butt. Collect rainwater from your roof and use it on your vegtable patch, hanging baskets or pot plants.
- Plant a Tree. An average tree absorbs about 6 kg of CO2 per year, so over 40 years it soaks up 250kg of carbon.
- Grow your own food. Home grown food contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions caused by transporting food around the world and decreases the need for packaging.
Easter Recycling Tips
- Slim your Easter bin. Compress/fold cardboard box flat and put into household dry recyclable bin or bring to your nearest recycling centre.
- Slim your Easter bin. Most easter egg molded plastic is PET denoted by a triangle with a number 1 inside. This type of plastic can go into your recycling bin.
- Slim your Easter bin. Scrunch up aluminium easter foil wrapping into a aluminium drink cans and place into the dry recyclable household collection or bring it to your nearest recycling centre
- Slim your Easter bin. Recycle all easter cards in your recyclable household bin collection or reuse them for arts and crafts.
- Slim your Easter bin. Buy easter eggs with minimal packaging or ensure packaging around the easter egg is recyclable.
Christmas Recycling Tips
- Slim your Christmas bin. Treat someone to an “experience present” such as theatre or cinema tickets to cut down on Christmas packaging.
- Slim your Christmas bin. The main sources of Christmas rubbish is packaging, glass bottles, drinks cans and Christmas trees, all of which can be recycled! Check your local Christmas recycling and rubbish collection services.
- Slim your Christmas bin. If you receive a Christmas present that you don’t want, don’t let it gather dust on your wardrobe, recycle it and pass it on to your local hospital, play centre, charity shop or school.
- Buy environmentally friendly Christmas presents for your family. A fashionable reusable bag for shopping for your sister, cloth table napkins for your mother, a set of rechargeable batteries for your brothers play station. You’ll be amazed at what you can find
Slim Your Waste Line Tips
- Slim your waste line. Use your recycling bin for cardboard, paper, tetrapaks, plastics, drink cans and food cans. Wash and squash containers, everything in the recycling bin must be dry and clean.
- Slim your waste line. Avoid buying heavily packaged goods. Buy products such as washing powder in large containers to reduce packaging or buy concentrated products that use less packaging.
- Slim your waste line. Use refillable and rechargeable products when possible and avoid disposal single use products.
- Slim your waste line. Dispose of any glass bottles and jars into your nearest bottle bank. Separate out different colour glass and rinse all containers before disposal.
- Slim your waste line. Give unwanted clothes to your local charity shop to benefit the local community. Bulky items such as furniture and old appliances still fit for use can be offered on Jumbletown, a free Irish waste exchange website.
- Slim your waste line. Buy a compost bin. Composting can divert 1/3 of household waste away from landfill and creates perfect compost and fertiliser for your garden. Composting units are available at a subsidised price from your Local Authority.
- Slim your waste line. Any electrical and electronic equipment can be disposed for free at your local recycling centre. If it has been operated by a battery or plug, it can be disposed of for free.
- Reuse aluminium foil to cover food. Or alternatively use boxes with lids to cover food to avoid unnecessary waste.
- Reduce, Reuse Recycle Office Paper. Print documents double sided, save scrap paper for notes and discard used office paper in the recycling bin.
- Cancel junk mail, unwanted catalogues and publications to reduce the amount of waste being delivered to your office.
- Place paper recycling bins in all offices. A good guide is 1 bin between 6 staff and a recycling bin beside the photocopier and printer.
- Buy items which can be recycled easily: envelopes without
windows, non-glossy paper. Close the recycling loop by purchasing office supplies from recycled materials.
- Use compact fluorescent lamps ( CFLs ) in your office instead of traditional bulbs. They use 20% of the energy and last up to 15 times as long.
- If leaving your desk for an extended period, switch your PC off or switch it to standby. Standby uses low power while maintaining your session.
- Turn off your computer at the end of the working day. Leaving it on will increase its annual average bill by average 25%.
- Remember to switch off lights and heating in the office when they’re not in use particularly in meeting rooms or unoccupied service areas.