Trim your waste line and you’ll feel the eco­nomic ben­e­fits

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Robin and Pa­tri­cia Sil­ver

A MONTH into 2014 and any New Year res­o­lu­tions are likely to have been bro­ken or even com­pletely for­got­ten. The most com­mon ones that have al­ready been aban­doned seem to in­volve phon­ing or vis­it­ing el­derly rel­a­tives more fre­quently, eat­ing less choco­late or us­ing that gym mem­ber­ship more ef­fec­tively by go­ing at least four times a week (well maybe three times....or at least twice!).

So you might con­clude that mak­ing th­ese res­o­lu­tions re­ally was, in the first place, a waste of time and money.

Be­ing less waste­ful is, of course, another com­mon res­o­lu­tion. De­spite the fact that the gov­ern­ment is boast­ing that the econ­omy is pick­ing up, un­em­ploy­ment fall­ing, house prices ris­ing and that we are on the road to a sus­tained re­cov­ery, house­hold run­ning costs are still in­creas­ing. So, this means that find­ing ways to cut costs at home should be a res­o­lu­tion well worth en­forc­ing. Here are a few lit­tle hints.

1. Never waste wa­ter. It’s a pre­cious com­mod­ity and we have be­come rather com­pla­cent now that we are so used to it just flow­ing out of our taps with a sim­ple twist of the wrist and with lit­tle thought of the cost. Just re­mem­ber how hor­ri­bly in­con­ve­nient it is when we suf­fer the wa­ter sup­ply be­ing cut off. As a ba­sic rule, if there’s noth­ing be­tween the spout and the plug hole, chances are that the wa­ter is just flow­ing down the drain and be­ing wasted. The wa­ter con­sump­tion in most homes is in­creas­ingly be­ing me­tred so the less we use, the less it costs. Sim­ple.

2. Don’t boil more wa­ter in a ket­tle than you ac­tu­ally need to use. Around 25 years ago, a study showed that boil­ing wa­ter that wasn’t needed wasted £100m each year in power costs alone, and that must have in­creased at least five fold since then, which equates to at least £30 per house­hold ev­ery year.

3. Don’t leave bat­tery-pow­ered ap­pli­ances on charge over night. Once they are fully charged, they should be un­plugged straight away. Not only is this bet­ter for the bat­tery, it al­ways re­moves the risk of wast­ing elec­tric­ity. Many cur­rent model mo­bile phones are fit­ted with a de­vice that cuts off the power sup­ply when the bat­tery is fully charged but many other gad­gets don’t. You can eas­ily tell which do and which don’t. If the plug or trans­former of a fully charged ap­pli­ance stays warm when the bat­tery’s full, then it is still con­sum­ing power and you’re wast­ing elec­tric­ity. Sim­i­larly, ap­pli­ances left on “stand by” are still us­ing elec­tric­ity al­beit in very small amounts. It’s so easy to turn off tele­vi­sions, DVD play­ers, com­put­ers, prin­ters, espresso cof­fee ma­chines, stereos, wash­ing ma­chines and the like, es­pe­cially the ones that beep to let you know that they’re not be­ing used. Oh, and don’t for­get to turn lights off when you don’t need them and close the fridge door as soon as you can. Th­ese sav­ings can re­ally be quite sig­nif­i­cant.

4. Don’t waste food. A stag­ger­ing 4.2 mil­lion tons of food is thrown out from our homes ev­ery year. The most com­mon wastage is of fruit, milk and bread. This has a value of £12.5 bil­lion and means that an av­er­age house­hold with chil­dren throws away food cost­ing over £700 ev­ery year. Bet­ter planned shop­ping and stor­age is clearly well worth it. And, by the by, another three mil­lion tons of food is thrown out by shops, su­per­mar­kets and restau­rants ev­ery year.

So, if there’s one res­o­lu­tion that’s worth mak­ing and keep­ing then it is sim­ply to re­duce waste.

We all can do it with­out much ef­fort and we’ll all feel a lit­tle bet­ter about our­selves and reap the eco­nomic ben­e­fits too. It may be a lit­tle late for a New Year res­o­lu­tion but it’s not too late to re­duce the “waste” line.

Robin and Pa­tri­cia Sil­ver are own­ers of The Home store at Salts Mill, Sal­taire, www. the­home­on­

If you have any other waste re­duc­ing hints you’d like to share with Robin and Pa­tri­cia, email [email protected]

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