Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 21st 2014 Contents B2
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 21, 2014
For many of us the end of year
cleaning and decorating is a big event,
particularly if you are into entertaining
family and friends as part of your reg-
ular Christmas and New Year cele-
brations. But how many of us really
think about the type of cleaning agents
we use, or the amount of water and
energy we expend during this time of
Our planet is at a very critical state.
Our actions today and over the next
five to ten years will determine whether
we have a healthy and safe environment
in the future. In this vein, we all need
to be environmentally conscious of our
daily habits and incorporate environ-
mentally responsible practices into our
Here are 12 eco tips and practices we
found to be very simple and which can
be adopted throughout the year.
Our list starts with reducing our
water footprint. Did you know that
according to data from the United
Nations (UN), agriculture accounts for
70 per cent of all water consumption
worldwide, compared to 20 per cent
for industry and ten per cent for
In industrialised nations, however,
industries consume more than half of
the water available for human use. Bel-
gium, for example, uses 80 per cent of
the water available for industry
Here s what you can do to help con-
serve our local resources:
• First and foremost, you need to
regularly inspect and fix all leaking
faucets and pipes around your home.
Every drop counts towards conserving
for the future.
• Many of us tend to wash down the
yard and use an exorbitant amount of
water doing so.
Try using a broom to initially clean
heavy debris from these areas. For
tougher areas, outfit your hose with a
shut-off nozzle which can be adjusted
to fine spray so that water flows only
Soak the mossy areas requiring extra
scrubbing to avoid prolonged use of
running water. This works well when
you have someone to help scrub and
remove most of the debris while you
monitor the water usage.
• Use eco friendly products around
your home as the effluent (runoff)
makes its way into our water courses.
Look for a certified environmental seal
and choose less hazardous products
that have positive environmental attrib-
utes (eg, biodegradability, low toxicity,
low volatile organic compound (VOC)
content, reduced packaging, low life
cycle energy use).
Buy cleaners in concentrates with
appropriate handling safeguards and
reusable, reduced or recyclable pack-
aging, reduced packaging waste and
transportation energy (US EPA).
• When preparing your favourite
meals this season, do not use running
water to thaw meat or other frozen
foods. Defrost food overnight in the
refrigerator or use the defrost setting
on your microwave.
Hand wash efficiently by scraping
leftovers from dishes with paper napkins
and rinse all at once. Soak pots and
pans overnight if very dirty. If washing
your vehicle, use a bucket.
• During this time of lights, lights
and more lights, we need to be very
wary of the amount of electricity
and energy consumed, particularly
from our non-renewable resources.
Appliances account for about
20 per cent of household energy
use. In the average home, 75 per
cent of the electricity used to
power home electronics is con-
sumed while the products are
turned off. Plug home electronics
into power strips and turn the
power strips off when the equip-
ment is not in use.
• Apart from using the energy
saving light bulbs, consider using
dimmer switches which are quite
affordable, can reduce your energy
consumption and also prolong the
use of your light bulb. You can also
install motion sensors for your
outdoor lights so that the light will
not be on unnecessarily.
• Ensure you unplug your dec-
orative outdoor lights at night
before you go to sleep.
• If you are purchasing new
appliances this Christmas ensure
that you have purchased an Energy
Star product or one that is energy
• Get in the habit of walking
with your own reusable bags to
the grocery store to reduce the
amount of bags that need to be
produced and bought by store
• Energy saving tips can also be
applied to your vehicle. Drive sen-
sibly. Aggressive driving (speeding,
rapid acceleration and braking)
wastes gasoline and can lower your
highway gas mileage by 33 per cent
and city mileage by five per cent.
• Combine errands into one trip.
Several short trips, each one taken
from a cold start, can use twice as
much fuel as one trip covering the
same distance when the engine is
• Get regular engine tune-ups.
Replacing clogged air filters can
improve gas mileage by as much
as ten per cent and protect your
The EMA wishes you and your
family a very safe and eco-friendly
Christmas season. Continue to do
your part to safeguard our envi-
If you have any comments or
would like to contribute to this
column, please send us an e-
mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eco tips for Christmas
Conserving every drop of water counts so fix your leaking faucets.
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