10 tips for ethical living
Want to start living more conscientiously? You're not alone – research carried out by the organisers of the One Life Live event at Olympia found nearly 73 per cent of us believe that a more sustainable lifestyle is essential to the future of the planet. Here are 10 easy ways to start making a difference
Tuesday 19 February 2008
1. The appliance of science
Invest in energy saving equipment. You don't have to live without kitchen appliances to be green, but buying white goods approved by the Energy Saving Trust can make a big difference; replacing your old dishwasher with an Energy Saving-recommended model could save enough money to buy soap for 85 washes! See www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for more.
2. Fuelling change
Cut petrol costs by sticking to the speed limit. Friends of the Earth say sticking to 70mph rather than charging ahead at 80-85mph – which is also illegal – can save you 4p a mile if you drive a small car. Offer to car-share too, to further reduce the impact on the environment.
3. Sounds fishy
Make sure your fish hasn't had its chips. Next time you're shopping for seafood, check it carries the blue logo of the Marine Stewardship Council. The MSC is committed to promoting the use of sustainable fishing and preserving marine environments around the globe, so we don't eat our favourites out of existence. See www.msc. org for recipes and advice.
6. Be cool!
Put on a jumper rather than cranking up the central heating. The Energy Saving Trust says turning your thermostat down just 1C can cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent, saving you up to £40 a year.
4. Fashion conscious
Ethical fashion label People Tree is one of the pioneers of fair trade fashion, but their clothes are not all beige smocks made from itchy cotton. Beautiful and stylish, they have graced the pages of Vogue and are a favourite with celebs including Lily Cole and Sienna Miller. Visit www.peopletree.co.uk to buy.
5. Growth industry
Say it without flowers. Yes, they are beautiful, but many are flown from overseas – the Flowers & Plants Association says on Valentine's Day alone we spent more than £30m on flowers and nine million of these were red roses flown in from places such as Colombia, Israel and Zimbabwe. House plants can be just as beautiful, last longer and help put oxygen back into your atmosphere.
7. Shower power
Having a shower typically uses about a third of the water you would have in a bath, but many modern power showers can use just as much water. However, the Environment Agency says fitting a shower with a simple flow regulator can limit the amount used to just below nine litres per minute. Check your shower is suitable before getting one fitted though.
8. Running flush
Flushing the loo accounts for nearly 40 per cent of household water use, so try to restrict either the number of times you flush or put something in your cistern to limit the water flushed away. Try a brick or a "hippo"; a specially-designed plastic device. See www.hippo-the-watersaver.co.uk for more.
9. A sparkling success
Ethical jewellery can range from simple wooden bangles – check out Oxfam or Topshop for cheap and cheerful items – to luxury fair trade pieces. Fifibijoux.com is one of the best, using ethically sourced gemstones and precious metals, and is committed to respecting the communities and people who produce their raw materials. Now you can wear gilt without the guilt!
10. Off to a tea
Drink green tea. Not actual green tea but tea that has been produced as part of the Ethical Tea Partnership. The ETP, which includes major companies such as Unilever the producer of PG Tips, ensures the way tea is made meets certain environmental and ethical standards, including minimum wages and housing rights for plantation workers.
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