Tips for becoming sustainable - Gareth Johnson

Tips for becoming sustainable - Gareth Johnson

Senior Estimating Manager Gareth Johnson’s perspective on the environment was changed after a holiday to Thailand showed him the effects of pollution and waste is having on the environment.

To celebrate Earth Day and help remind everyone to do their part for a greener tomorrow, Gareth walks us through some tips on how everyone can make big or small changes to their lifestyles to contribute to a more sustainable planet.

1. Invest in sustainable living!

I spent a lot of money last year to have Solar Panels installed. Between 6 and 12 panels are used in a 'typical' home installation. Fortunately, because I live in a long thin cottage, I was able to install x32 panels and 9.6Kw batteries. This means that the batteries will power my home for 24 hours and generate enough energy to power my home, charge the batteries, and charge my automobiles. In addition, I have the immersion heater set to turn on during daytime hours. This ensures I always have a tank of hot water in the evening. My electric bill at home is as close to £0 as you can get.

2. Use alternative methods to heat your home.

I use a wood-burning stove to heat my home. I collect scrap wood throughout the year for firewood. Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel source. I only use the gas on rare occasions, and I create my own firelighters. To do this, I save the lint from my clothes put it in an ice cube tray and fill it with leftover candle wax. In the summer, I usually prepare a large batch of them using this method, so I am well prepared for the winter. The wood waste collected from Marshall is graded and reprocessed into other goods such as chipboard and secondary. no matter what the grade it never goes to landfill.

3. Use tanks to re-use rainwater instead of flushing normal tap water.

Have you ever considered how much tap-water you have flushed down the toilet? One of my big my projects this year is to connect a few water tanks (looking for some to be donated from somewhere) to the drains that come from the rain gutters on the house. I will connect these up to the toilet cistern (starting with the en-suite one as it’s next to an external wall). This will mean that water gets flushed away will be done with re-used rainwater. Only when the water tanks are completely empty will fill up with normal tap water. Still working on the plans for this one but it is a big project that will save hundreds of litres of water a year!

4. Make slight changes to make a significant difference.

There are lots of changes that myself and my family have made to change our lifestyle and better the environment. Some of the ones that I do throughout the year are:

  • SodaStream - Using a SodaStream, we were able to eliminate all our wasted fizzy drink bottles (which was a lot). Even when we go out for the day, we make our own Fizzy Drinks and bring them with us. We never purchase fizzy beverages in single-use plastic bottles as we save money and resources with the SodaStream.
  • Soap - Instead of using Shower Gels, I now use plain soap. You can even get 'Shampoo Soap,' which is intended to replace regular shampoo in plastic bottles. In addition, the soap I use is packaged in 100 percent recyclable materials. A double win for environment and sustainability.
  • Christmas wrapping paper - Most wrapping paper, especially when it is covered with tape, cannot be recycled. As a result, we do not use it. Makes secret Santa in the family a bit of an issue as everyone knows the plain brown paper packaging means it is from me. However, I take the middles out of Christmas cards that are thrown away and use them as tags on next year's presents.