Useful websites to help you reduce your carbon footprint:
- Green Tips | Pages | WWF (worldwildlife.org)
- 50 simple ways to make your life greener | Environment | The Guardian
- 51+ Simple and Easy Ways to Go Green This Year – Conserve Energy Future (conserve-energy-future.com)
- Top tips for everyone – Energy and Climate Change (devon.gov.uk)
In 2019, Moretonhampstead Parish Council and the Development trust both signed an emergency declaration, agreeing to take urgent action on climate change. Together, we have devised a Carbon Plan for Moretonhampstead to display what progress we are making to reduce our carbon emissions and help make Moretonhampstead a more sustainable town.
In 2022, the Climate and Emergency Working Group developed a Directory of Local Organisations involved in the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
Green tip of the Month
GREEN TIP OF THE MONTH working together with MORETONHAMPSTEAD DEVELOPMENT TRUST
As energy bills sky-rocket, now is a good time to consider getting solar panels.
A solar PV system will help to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your bills long-term.
How to decide what kind of system will be suitable for you and how to finance it involves many considerations. A local organisation teignenergycommunities.co.uk has done extensive research on this and produced a useful guide on their website, tailored to local needs.
Currently it seems that the Green Homes Grant has been suspended, but it is quite likely that it will be resumed as pressure mounts on the government to do something about the energy crisis.
At least one Moreton resident was lucky enough to benefit from the previous round of funding for the Green Homes Grant, administered by City Energy, and has had six solar panels installed on their house. It is worth registering an interest with City Energy, so that when new funding is available you can be quick to apply.
Have you heard of ‘hypermiling’? it’s the hip word for economy driving. With fuel prices sky-rocketing it’s possible to save money on fuel, whilst also helping to save the planet.
The seven top tips for fuel economy are:
LIGHT FEET – no harsh accelerating or braking.
Flooring the accelerator not only wastes fuel, it leads to drastically higher pollution rates. One second of high-powered driving can produce nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as a half hour of normal driving. Read the road ahead. Try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle coast down as much as possible.
DRIVE MORE SLOWLY – this won’t make a massive difference to your journey time but can save a lot of fuel. On a motorway if you drive behind a larger vehicle (doesn’t have to be dangerously close) you will reduce wind resistance – a technique called ‘drafting’. The most efficient speed for cars is between 55-65 mph. ( Not recommended around Moreton!)
LOSE WEIGHT – make sure you are not carrying around a load of junk in your car, as that will increase fuel consumption. Also, don’t have a roof rack on the car unless you are using it, as it adds weight and increases drag. An empty roof rack can increase fuel consumption by around 7% at motorway speeds.
DRIVE IN THE HIGHEST GEAR – Change up as soon as your car will comfortably take the next higher gear, using a moderate amount of throttle.
KEEP YOUR TYRES INFLATED TO THE CORRECT PRESSURE –Under-inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, which means your engine has to work harder, so more fuel is used and more CO2 emissions are produced. Simply checking and adjusting your tyre pressures regularly, particularly before long journeys, can help reduce fuel consumption, as well as helping to increase the life of your tyres.
GO ELECTRIC – If you are thinking of replacing your car, an electric car is much cheaper to run and especially if you use green electricity, it will reduce your carbon footprint. Using these fuel efficiency techniques will increase your range.
IDLING WASTES FUEL – If you are likely to be at a standstill for more than a minute or so, switch off the engine. This reduces emissions and saves fuel.
Following these seven tips will save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
AVOIDING PLASTIC IN THE KITCHEN
- When storing food, think bowl and plate – left-overs can be put in a bowl covered by a plate. Half a lemon (or onion, cabbage etc.) can just be put away with the cut side down on a plate.
- Re-using plastic containers, such as yogurt pots, ice cream tubs etc. is better than buying more plastic.
- Glass jars make excellent storage for dressings, grains, dried fruit, nuts etc. and can be good for small amounts of left-overs too.
- Stainless steel containers are good for lunch-boxes and picnics and can be used for the freezer as well.
- We have mostly got into the good habit of taking a shopping bag with us when we go shopping, saving tons of plastic waste. Now it’s time to get into the habit of taking a container with you – for meat, fish etc. – this can go straight into the fridge when you get home.
- Taking a container with you also applies of course to shopping in shops like our very own Zero Waste shop, where you can measure out and just buy what you need, also helping to reduce food waste.
RE-USE RECYCLE AVOID WASTING OUR PRECIOUS RESOURCES
WATER SAVING TIPS
By using water more wisely we can ease the pressure on our wetlands and rivers. Saving water will ensure more stable, resilient habitats for birds and other wildlife. If you have a water meter, the following tips may help you to reduce your water and sewerage bills. Even if you don’t have a meter, cutting down on the amount of hot water you use will lower your gas and electricity bills and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases you release into the atmosphere. Using less water will also help reduce the greenhouse gases that are released from collecting, treating and supplying clean water.
Here are some water-saving tips:
- Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or your dishwasher.
- If possible, take a shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower uses about 40 litres of water – about half the volume of a standard bath.
- Turn off the tap when cleaning your teeth. A running tap uses up to nine litres of water a minute.
- Use a water-saving device in your toilet cistern. Depending on the size of your cistern, you could save between one and three litres each time you flush the toilet.
- Use a bowl in the sink when washing fruit, vegetables or dishes. You can then use the waste water to water your plants.
- Using a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or a hosepipe.
- Think about fitting a water butt to collect rainwater off your roof. Water butts usually store about 200 litres of water. As well as being better for watering your plants, using rainwater in the garden reduces the amount of treated water you use.
HOME ENERGY SAVING
With the massive rise in energy prices, we have even more incentive to save energy where we
can in the home. Here are five tips for energy saving at home, including some you may not have thought of. These will save you money as well as helping to save the planet.
- Turn down your thermostat by 1 degree, if you haven’t already!
- When you boil a kettle, just heat the water you need – it’s much quicker and will save energy. Even better, buy a thermos pot which will keep your hot water for the next cup of tea. This is standard practice in countries like Japan, which traditionally don’t use electric kettles.
- Make sure you turn off appliances at the plug – having things on standby uses a surprising amount of energy.
- Have a shower, rather than a bath, and take a shorter time in the shower if you can.
- Try a ‘Wonderbag’ – which is a modern equivalent of the ‘hay box’ which continues cooking food placed in it. It does the same job as a slow cooker but with no energy use. It is great if you’re going out – you can get a dish started on the hob and then put it in the Wonderbag. When you get home, you have a hot dinner waiting! It retains heat so well that you will need oven gloves to take it out, even after several hours. It comes with a recipe book and is available online and hopefully soon from our very own Zero Waste Shop.
GREEN TIP FOR MARCH
As thoughts of spring turn to gardening and planting, it feels like a good time to remind everyone who may be buying compost that it is important for the environment to buy peat-free compost.
Peat bogs are wonderful carbon sinks, storing carbon away for ever. They are also home to rare birds, butterflies, dragonflies and plants. They have a unique biodiversity. In the UK, peat bogs store more carbon than all Europe’s forests. Unfortunately, peat bogs are cheap to buy. Then they are drained, which immediately starts emitting greenhouse gases. The peat is then dug and put into a bag and is ready to sell. The carbon in peat when spread on a field or garden, quickly turns into carbon dioxide which adds to
greenhouse gas levels.
So if you can’t make your own compost, please remember to buy peat-free!
Turn the Thermostat down by ONE Degree
With the cost of energy set to rise, we can reduce our carbon footprint and save money with this very simple tip – one of the easiest and quickest changes we can make. That is: turn the thermostat down on your central heating system – turning it down by ONE DEGREE can cut your bills by over £50 a year, and save 310 kg of CO2.
While you are looking at your central heating controls, make sure that you are only heating the rooms which need it and use the timer to avoid heating at times when you are not there. If you want to get much more control, think about investing in a smart system which you can control from your phone or Alexa device, or other individual thermostatic radiator controls. This will avoid heating the whole house unnecessarily.
You can find out more at the Energy Saving Trust website.
ONE DEGREE – SAVE MONEY – REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
January is the time for New Year’s Resolutions and so a good time to re-think our buying habits and approach to our wardrobe.
We all know about the environmental impact of flying but the fashion industry’s carbon footprint is greater than aviation and shipping combined! So it is essential globally to think seriously about our clothes.
The main message is to BUY LESS and wear for longer. Invest in fewer high quality items with sustainable credentials.
The rise of ‘vintage’ clothes shops means that buying used clothing is now cool – we have our own ‘Brainwave’ charity shop and ‘Uptown’ in Chagford as well as many charity shops and vintage outlets in Exeter and Okehampton.
A survey in the UK found that nearly half of the clothes in the average person’s wardrobe are never worn. This is a great time to go through your wardrobe and arrange a clothes swap with friends for some items and to take others to charity shops or for re-cycling.
Let’s make 2022 the year to BUY LESS, RE-USE, RECYCLE !
Christmas Wrapping Paper – all that glitters……………
Over the years Xmas wrapping paper has changed and is no longer a simple paper sheet
with perhaps a few Xmas trees, stars, holly and snowy scenes printed on it.
Nowadays much of the festive wrapping paper on sale includes plastics in the form of
glitter and laminates. Because of this (and he same is true for many Xmas card designs)
such paper is impossible to recycle.
One national waste management company, has estimated that every household throws
away on average 3 bags of festive packaging after Xmas which ends in landfill. These
bags combine to create a horrendous 3 million tonnes of extra waste at Christmas
So, the message is, when choosing your Christmas wrapping paper (and cards), please go
for those that are not adorned with glitter and shiny laminates. Then you can recycle with
your ordinary paper waste. Or fold away and re-use next year!
And, of course BUY LOCAL and BUY LESS!
Reduce and Recycle
GREEN TIP OF THE MONTH
Re-Use and Recycle Household goods and furniture
Every year, over 10 million items are sent to landfill. A third of these – up to 3 million – could be re-used.
As we have been spending more time at home during the pandemic, many people have embarked on home improvement projects and adaptations to enable working from home.
What to do with unwanted furniture? Where to find good quality used furniture?
Locally, we have two good outlets.
Proper Job in Chagford www.proper-job.org is conveniently near, though at present their stock of furniture and ability to accept donations is somewhat limited. They do have a good selection of books, toys and other items, though.
ReFurnish in Newton Abbot – 1 Brunel Road, TQ12 4PB www.refurnish.org.uk
has a large selection of furniture and household appliances, such as fridges, washing machines, vacuum cleaners etc. all of which are PAT tested and in working order. All the furniture which they sell is in good condition and reasonably priced.
They offer discount to people on benefits and through social services often help people who are trying to get back on their feet in difficult circumstances.
They are part of a network of affiliated organisations which do similar work, details of which can be found on their website.
The added advantage of ReFurnish is that if you have a piece of furniture to donate which they find is too worn or unsuitable, the recycling centre is just round the corner, so your journey won’t be wasted.
And don’t forget the Moreton Facebook hub, where you can often find a new home for unwanted items or see if anyone has a spare piece of furniture they no longer need. It is a great community support.
GREEN TIP OF THE MONTH
Convert your food waste into green electricity !
Although the best thing that can happen to the food we buy or grow is for us to eat it all, inevitably there will be some food waste, such as peelings, banana skins, tea bags etc. If you can’t compost this yourself, then putting it in your food caddy for collection has a double benefit – firstly, it avoids it going into landfill where it will release harmful methane gas as it decomposes and secondly, Teignbridge takes food waste to an anaerobic digestion facility in Devon where it is converted into electricity and a fertiliser. Any plastic bags which can be used to line the bins are filtered from the process and sent to an energy from waste facility.
Don’t forget, though, that we should all do all we can to reduce food waste. If we all stopped wasting the food which could have been eaten, it would have the same CO2 impact as taking 1 in 4 cars off UK roads.
For more information visit How is food waste recycled? | Recycle Now
GREEN TIP OF THE MONTH
Following on from last Month’s theme of inviting wildlife into your garden, the Parish Council would like to highlight the ‘No mow May’ initiative being promoted by conservation charity Plantlife.
Head to www.plantlife.org.uk to find out how you can get involved in surveying wildflowers and helping to provide valuable food for a range of pollinating insects in your garden.
Please do email us to share your projects with us ( email@example.com ) and keep your eyes peeled for areas around town that the Parish council are working in conjunction with the biodiversity group to get Moreton’ buzzing!
(And spend the time you would have been mowing sitting enjoying your outside space and its visitors instead!)
INVITE WILDLIFE INTO YOUR GARDEN!
With green shoots, blossoms and nesting birds heralding spring’s arrival and the chance to spend more time outdoors, it’s an ideal opportunity to think about how we can invite wildlife into our gardens. No space is too small and any action can contribute to combating the effects of the climate change and ecological emergency as well as improving our mental health. Here are some ideas of projects to get you thinking and keep the kids occupied in the Easter holidays…
- Leave some areas unmanaged – wild flowers, log piles and leaf mulch all provide habitats for pollinators and mini-beasts. Alternatively, build a bug hotel. Find inspiration at https://diygarden.co.uk/wildlife/bug-hotel
- If you have space, consider adding a pond (https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how- build-pond) or wildflower meadow (see https://www.rspb.org.uk/…/garden- activities/startawildflowermeadow )
- Provide food, shelter and nesting sites for birds. See https://www.rspb.org.uk
- Hedgehogs are great at eating slugs and snails but this once common prickly mammal is now endangered and need all the help they can get to survive – Find out more at https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
- Plant a tree – visit https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2019/03/british-trees-to-plant. to find out more
We are blessed in Moretonhampstead with many people and groups who have the enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to inspire and assist on this subject – Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events you can get involved in or explore this page for more ideas – or pop into Zero Waste for a paper copy.
HAPPY GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE!
Dastardly Draughts!The recent cold snap has concentrated minds on making sure that our houses are as warm and energy efficient as possible.
Energy conservation often tends to concentrate on insulation and U values, and quite often overlooks the potential of draughts to bypass all the excellent work done in insulating your home. They can whisk away your hard won therms and BTU’s into the atmosphere, before you can say Brrrr.
In older homes, draughts arise not only from poorly sealed windows and doors, but also at junctions of skirtings and architraves, and with suspended wooden floors – especially if they are plane edged boards and not tongued and grooved.
To test how airtight your home is you can always do the taper test.
This involves (carefully) using a lighted taper or joss stick and moving it close to the various junctions of the building’s external walls and joinery and note the degree to which the line of smoke is affected. If you want to do a test professionally, there is a range of Smoke-Sticks & dispenser pen available from a company called Hayes. Ordinary smoke matches, tapers and smoke tubes give off an unstable smoke pattern, but the Smoke-Stick with its straight, pencil-thin smoke pattern has been designed specifically to monitor the slightest change in air movement. Each Smoke-Stick offers a minimum of 30 minutes of continuous smoke or 90 tests of 20 seconds each.
Please don’t get ambitious and wander round the house with a tallow torch or other apparatus (as might be seen in Game of Thrones); and when you have found your leaky bits get cracking with a proprietary sealant and stay warm.
Please also note that the government Green Homes Grant has been extended until March 2022. That is the date by which work has to be completed and it can be quite a slow process, so get cracking if you think it will help you to improve the energy efficiency of your home. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-green-homes-grant-scheme
Watch the Chairman, Cllr Vivienne Hodges check the Office at Greenhill for draughts. We are very happy with the results!
MEASURE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
To reduce our carbon emissions and help to prevent climate change, we need to know what our own carbon footprint is as individuals and households, so that we can see where it would be helpful to modify our behaviour and have the most beneficial effect.
This is a great time to be doing it, so we can all make a few New Year Resolutions to do our bit in reducing emissions.
There are various templates available for doing this which you can find online, but we have come up with a template which is specifically designed for Moreton – giving you calculations for journeys from here etc.
We suggest that you give this one a go – click here to download the Moretonhampstead Carbon Calculator
The Parish Council and the Development Trust are working together on climate change issues, hoping for a more sustainable future for us all. We welcome any feedback on this and helpful suggestions to make our community fit for a more sustainable future.