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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Being greener every day

Tackling climate change will be one of the most important things this generation does – and you’re part of it! Everyone needs to get involved. If you want to do your bit for the planet, there are many environmentally-friendly things you can do.

Shopping

Look for the green labels

Look out for labels that show products have been made with respect for the environment. There are a number of reliable green labelling schemes covering food, clothes and electrical goods like MP3 players and TVs.

Buying food

Producing, transporting and consuming food is responsible for nearly a third of our contribution to climate change.

For example, it’s not just the energy used to grow things in a heated greenhouse you have to think about. It may be the aircraft fuel that’s used to transport them into the country as well.

If you want to make greener choices about the types of food you’re eating, there are many things you can do.

Fairtrade products

You can buy fairly traded products in shops and cafes – look out for the FAIRTRADE Mark. This means that the producers of the product are getting decent wages and a fair price for their goods. The goods are also likely to have been produced with less impact on the environment.

At home - recycling and saving energy

There’s a whole range of simple things you can do at home to save energy. For example, you can make sure you turn off the lights if you’re the last to leave a room.

Nearly two thirds of all household rubbish can be recycled – and this includes food packaging, glass and plastics.

TVs and electrical goods

Televisions and other electronic equipment - like MP3 players and consoles - waste electricity if they are not properly switched off, and it’s easy to do once you get into the habit! By just putting your TV on standby, you’ll only be using electricity you don’t really want to.

TVs use a lot of energy, so if you - or someone you live with - is thinking of getting one, buying an energy-efficient TV can make a real difference.

Computers, gadgets and mobile phones

Producing computers and electronic gadgets can require large amounts of energy and raw materials. By cutting down on energy use, and disposing of unwanted equipment carefully you can reduce the harmful impact of electronic goods on the environment.

If you've got a new mobile phone and you want to get rid of your old one, don't just throw it in the bin. As well as helping the environment, you can also raise money for charity by recycling them.

Your local authority might run a mobile phone recycling scheme, or some charities run regular events where you can hand in your handset.

And always remember to unplug your mains lead or charger from the wall and or turn them off at the plug socket.

Green volunteering

There are many opportunities to get involved with tackling environmental problems and improving your local area. Find out about green volunteering where you live.

Make your club or group greener

If you belong to a community group or club you can do things together for the environment. For example, you could make sure that your local leisure centre provides recycling bins for all those empty plastic bottles.

Being part of a group means that you can do things on a bigger scale.

At school or college

There are lots of things you can do at home to make sure you are saving energy and water. You can also do some things at school that can help - and get others involved too.

Find out more about going green

Directgov has a whole section dedicated to environmental issues and greener living. It contains information and ideas for everyone who’s thinking about ways to make their home, school or workplace more energy-efficient.

There’s also information about climate change and our effect on the planet.

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