Be carbon savvy, says Devon Council

I know it can stick in one’s craw a little to be doing one’s best for the environment when you hear of politicians using private planes, or having entourages of cars surrounding them as at COP26. However, we can all do our bit – and many bits = a lot. Inaction is never the answer.

Here is some useful info from Devon Council on ‘shopping for good’:

Energy saving

With the hike in energy prices this year it’s a good time to think about how the products we buy could save us energy at home. With a bit of careful thinking we can also cut back on the energy used in manufacturing and transporting goods.

Here’s how to save energy through our buying choices:

If you are buying white goods, whether it’s a fridge or a kettle, check which is the most energy efficient appliance in stock – A-G ratings are a great indicator.

From 1 March 2021 a new energy label has been introduced, which scraps the confusing A+, A++ and A+++ ratings and resets the scale back to A to G.

Cars

We all know that when buying a car there are big differences in energy efficiency, but did you know how much? For example, the latest hybrid cars achieve 80 miles to the gallon, whereas the early models only achieved about 50. Another example is electric vehicles, which typically cost 5p per mile to run, compared to over 20p per mile for petrol vehicles.

Heating off, electric blanket on?

Could the electric blanket be our biggest weapon against the fuel crisis?  You can now get electric throws to cover your lap at your desk or on the sofa.  At 1p an hour to run, they are typically 50 times cheaper than an electric room heater and 200 times cheaper than your central heating.  A bonus with this is that leaving the room cooler keeps you more alert but you’re still warm and comfortable, very helpful while working.

Minimise manufacturing

Make, mend, buy hand-made or second-hand.  Homemade gifts touch people’s hearts and mending something can touch your own heart.

The Japanese tradition of wabi sabi puts higher value on a mended item than a new one because it’s unique.  A locally made mug can enrich the experience of drinking tea.

Buying second-hand is the best because it avoids manufacturing entirely.  Britain has one of the best second-hand markets in the world, and you can buy a much higher quality product for the same price when you buy it second-hand.

Opt for quality

The single biggest thing that we can do to reduce the carbon footprint of the products we buy is to buy high quality, long lasting products

For example one toaster that lasts 15 years has a much lower carbon footprint than buying 5 toasters that only last three years. It also saves money and gives you a better quality product.

Sometimes this means spending a bit more up front, but on average high quality products cost at least a third less over their lifetimes.

However, long lasting products don’t always cost more to buy. Which? magazine has found that some of the budget brands also last a very long time.

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