green guides

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drive the greenway, not the highway

Submitted by JimmySprout on Tue, 2011-11-15 12:41

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With petrol prices on the rise (again), here are 10 easy ways to save big on petrol bills (and help save the environment of course!)

The best way to save fuel is not to use it at all

It might be old news and becoming a bit repetitive, but yes, really think about when you use your car and why. Could you walk or cycle to where you need to be? Why not take a train or bus? (The Gautrain is fantastic and Cape Town’s MyCiti bus system is reliable and affordable).

Slow down Schumacher!

Speeding is probably the most common way the majority of us use excessive amounts of fuel. In many


green office week: top tips for greening your office

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2011-04-19 12:03

flat screen monitors, office plants, smiling workers... it's green office week: pic - green path guideflat screen monitors, office plants, smiling workers... it's green office week: pic - green path guideGreen Office Week (GOW) [18 - 21 April 2011] is an initiative started by Dictum, a South African specialist publishing company, in 2010 (incidentally they also initiated National Bosses Day back in 1990).

Focus days
This year Green Office Week has four focus days, which I think is a good idea:

Mon 18 - Make it happen Monday
Monday is all about printing and paper use.

Tue 19 - Choosy Tuesday
Focus on getting and using greener office supplies and equipment.

Wed 20 - Wattage Wednesday
How to reduce your energy consumption

Thurs 21 - Thoughtful Thursday
Think about how to use technology to reduce your environmental impact. You can of course think about other non-technocentric ideas on Thursday too!

Great office greening resources
There are some excellent resources for greening your office. One of the best we've come across is the Project 90x2030 Green Your Office Toolkit, a 48 page (3.8 Mb PDF) download, with case studies and local examples. It provides action sections covering Energy, Water, Waste and Travel and P90230 have also developed an online office audit tool which you can use to record your impacts and view actionable suggestions.

The Green Office Week website has a really good, concise 8-page Green Office Action Plan (GOAP) download (355 Kb PDF) which has many tips and ideas spanning seven areas: Paper, Energy, Water, Green Purchasing, Waste, Carbon Footprint, Green Events. There is also a download by GOW outling the aims, simple tips for each day, getting buy-in from co-workers, and info for the boss.

In keeping with the focus days, here are urban sprouts top tips for Green Office Week for Printing, Office Supplies, Energy and Technology.

Printing (or not)
If you're going to download the resources above (they're worth keeping close at hand) you'll want to consider the best way to print.

Rethink
The average UK office worker prints out an estimated 1500 sheets of paper each month, most of which is discarded within 2 days and some of which is reprinted. When it comes to printing, the first thing is to


green your christmas - part 2

Submitted by sprout group hug on Fri, 2010-12-17 15:59

Green your gifts
Not done your Christmas shopping yet? Or want to direct some merry gift-givers to your wishlist of green Christmas goodies. In part 2 of our Green your Christmas guide we take a look at some green gift ideas for greenies with a special interest.

DIY / GIY Enthusiast
Know that someone special who likes a project? Your Green-it-yourself enthusiast will leap at the opportunity to lower their eco-footprint themselves.
Geyser blankets and pipe insulation, CFL's, LED downlighters, low-flow showerheads & tap aerators would fill the stocking of the greenie comfortable with a shifting spanner. See the eco building and homes section of our directory for more details.

Low cost option? Gift a used tyre with instructions to turn it into a mini garden pond.
High end? Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panel and batteries. Or a home-sized wind turbine.

Eco Fashionista
Hemp is still eco-chic and a more sustainable natural fibre than cotton as it requires no pesticides, herbicides and little fertiliser. Organic cotton is becoming


green your christmas

Submitted by sprout group hug on Wed, 2010-12-01 17:15

In 2008, scientists at the Stockholm Environment Institute reported that the carbon footprint of Christmas - including food, travel, lighting, and gifts - was 650 kg per person in England.

In 2008 consumers in the UK consumed approximately 10 million turkeys, 25 million Christmas puddings, 250 million pints of beer and 35 million bottles of wine. The UK spends £20bn on Christmas, with £1.6bn going on food and drink, of which approximately 230,000 tons of food worth about £275 million is thrown away. Let's face it, Christmas is a nightmare holiday when it comes to the environment.

Another large contributing factor to the carbon footprint of Christmas is the


eating & shopping organic in cape town

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2009-10-05 20:28

This is an updated version of our 2007 green guide.

If you’re one of many in Cape Town who recognise the value of buying organic and thus supporting sustainable, environment friendly farming then this is the guide for you.

In the UK stats released in March 2009 show that despite GDP falling by 1.9%, unemployment increasing by 1.3% and retail sales dropping by 1.8%, sales of organic food has continued to increase by 1.7%. In other words, the organic market is alive and well, and resiliant. [soil association]

In Sweden, the sale of organic food reached a record high in 2008 and now accounts for 3.4% of total sales. [swedishwire]

And US sales of organic food and nonfood products grew 17.1% over 2007 sales, despite tough economic times. [environmentalleader]

There are no statistics available for SA on organic sales. Infact we don't even have a national body that regulates the industry...


green your diet

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-08-21 08:38

Eating for the sake of your body and the planet doesn’t mean giving up on the foods you love. It does mean becoming more actively aware of where your food comes from, how it’s produced and how its production affects the Earth.

Fundamental to greening your diet is eating ‘real’ food. Processed and refined foods are, let’s face it, not good for you. Most of them are produced as part of the push by marketers to ‘make your life easier’ but they’re usually laden with chemicals, additives, pesticides, and barely disguised GM derivatives.

Eat organic
We’re not banging on about anything new, but it really pays to buy


green your furniture, floors and walls

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-07-23 12:34

Treading lightly on the planet and minimising our impact on the world’s forests doesn’t have to end when it comes to what goes inside our homes. Whilst SA might lag behind Europe and the US when it comes to eco design, there are nonetheless still green alternatives available, if one just knows where to look.

How green is your exterior wood?
This green guide began as a venture to find eco-friendly doors to replace our wooden verandah doors. As the hunt got underway, we realised that our difficulty was not going to be finding the right price or the right company to replace our doors, but sustainable wood.

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green your recycling

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-06-26 11:46

Recycling is the third component of the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra – the “3R’s” of waste minimisation. Whilst this mantra has become commonplace, it is a cornerstone of saving our environment, and the recycling bit is the part we can easily get on top of.

Some experts have added “re-think” to the mix, questioning the entire manufacturing process and calling for a new approach. It’s also become fashionable for organisations to add their own R’s to the mantra, like replenish, renew, respect, responsible etc.

The obvious starting point however, is to reduce the amount we buy (we’ll have less to reuse and recycle), rather than avidly recycling. Finding constructive ways to reuse materials is next. Sorting and recycling is last.

But what is all the fuss about?

On paper, cans, glass & plastic:

  • Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours
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green your solar water heating

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-05-16 12:11

Everyone’s talking solar, which is no real surprise given the power crisis. It isn’t just a national crisis however but part of a far wider reaching global energy ‘over indulgence’ in dirty, non-renewable energy.

Whatever the reason for reading this – whether it’s that you want to take advantage of Eskom’s solar water heating incentive programme, or that you want to live a greener life - there is an urgent need to shift to renewable, non-polluting energy sources, like the sun, to provide our energy needs.

The difference between solar water heating and solar photovoltaics
Some people are confused when it comes to solar energy. They tend to lump solar in a hand basket and refer to it collectively as ‘solar power’. But there is a difference. Solar energy can be sourced as a form of


green your garden

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-04-22 10:57

There is one place in which you really can make a start at ‘going green’ - your garden. If you’re still staring at an immaculate lawn with border beds kept in-check with regular cocktails of pesticides, weed killers and chemical fertilisers, it’s time to start thinking ‘out of the box’! Your garden could both feed you and become a tribute to living in harmony with all that surrounds it.

Using the principles of permaculture
Many green gardeners are adopting the principles of permaculture in their approach to gardening.

As its underlying premise, permaculture believes in benefitting life in all of its forms. It is the art and science of designing human beings’ place in the environment (rather than the place of the environment in the lives of human beings). Permaculture design teaches you to understand and mirror the patterns found in healthy natural environments.


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