Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Greening your digs!

By Emily Jones & Andrew Wassung

So going green is one of those really daunting, overwhelming concepts. This is because it can be really overwhelming to make a whole bunch of changes to one’s otherwise comfortable lifestyle. Many of us know that we aren’t living sustainable, eco-friendly lives, but we don’t have the time to research why we should care, and even if we do, how to. Enter GRASS: who has put together an easy Digs Greening Project; simple, step by step tips to save water, electricity, the planet, and importantly, those few extra bucks to buy that chicken curry pie you missed out on last BP run.
If you haven’t heard yet, recycling is pretty easy because the municipality collects recyclables along with your normal rubbish. Just put your recyclables like tins, plastics, glass and paper in a clear or orange bin bag, and put it out with your rubbish on collection day. Batteries and light bulbs can be dropped at Pick n Pay for safe disposal. EC Bottle Buyers will take your bottles for a bit of cash. Contact them on 041 636 1440
• Reduce your geyser temperature to 55 degrees – this is still hot enough to kill bacteria and you will save on your electricity bill.
• Buy energy saving light bulbs (Available at Pick n Pay) – Traditional lighting uses up to 15% of the average electricity bill, and wastes energy producing heat. Energy saving bulbs last up to 10 times longer and you won’t burn your hands when you decide that changing light bulbs after a night out is a good idea.
• Simple – turn it off! Hit the switch on your TV, computer, washing machine, and that Playstation that stays on all night. Even items left on standby use up to 85% of the energy they would use when fully on.
• By putting a weighed down coke bottle in your toilet’s cistern you save when flushing – as much as 76 litres of water a day!
• Test for leaks by putting food colouring in the tank. If it appears in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes then get your landlord in for a change.
• Don’t buy bottled water. Find a mate with a car and go fill up at the natural spring on the road to Port Alfred. It’s delicious, healthy and sustainable.
• Start a veggie garden. It’s cheap, organic, and it’s generally just cool to dig around in the mud.
• Buy local – get on down to Fruit ‘n Veg, or wake up this Saturday for a change and check out GRASS’s Farmer’s Market at Old Gaol.

• Plant Spekboom. It has incredible carbon storing properties said to be as high as 4 tons of carbon per hectare each year. You can also chuck it in your salad!
• Buy a Bio Wash ball. Chuck out your washing powder, it is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. You can also put it in your fridge to keep your fruit, veg, and meat fresh. Available at the Mustard Seed Health shop in Peppergrove.
• Buy recycled or reusable napkins instead of disposable ones – if everyone in the country did, this alone would save 1 million trees.
• Walk instead of drive – self-explanatory.

Take on the challenge one step at a time and gradually make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly. For more tips and details email GRASS at