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This page is no longer updated. The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute joined forces with SCRI joined forces on 1 April 2011 to create The James Hutton Institute. Please visit the James Hutton Institute website.

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Environmental Tips for Householders

Helping your local – and Scotland’s – environment need not be difficult. Small actions contribute to make a big difference. We can all do a little and change a lot. Here are some tips and suggestions that can help to cut down on the amount of waste your household produces and the amount of natural resources it uses up. Some of them will also directly save you money.

Water efficiency

  • Don't leave the tap running when you brush your teeth or wash.
  • Fix dripping taps – a tap that drips once a second wastes 33 litres a day.
  • Use a watering can instead of a hose or sprinkler in the garden.
  • Use a bucket instead of a hose to wash your car.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Leave washing machines and dishwashers until they are full before running them.
  • Put a Save-A-Flush sachet in your toilet cistern, to save an estimated 4.5 litres of water per day for every person in your household (flushing the toilet accounts for about one third of the water used in the average home).

See Scottish Water’s leaflet for more water saving tips for the home and garden, or to order a Save-A-Flush sachet, go to Scottish Water’s website or call their customer helpline on 0845 601 8855.

Energy efficiency

  • Switch off lights around the home in rooms not being used.
  • Invest in energy saving light bulbs – they may cost more but will last for longer and use less electricity than ordinary light bulbs.
  • Turn down your central heating one notch – you might find you don’t even notice the difference.
  • Remember to turn off appliances when not in use and at night – leaving them on standby uses electricity unnecessarily.
  • Only boil the amount of water you need for cooking or for hot drinks.

Visit these sites for more energy saving tips:

Cut down on the amount of waste going to landfill – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Collect your waste paper, glass, cans and plastic containers for recycling. Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils are already operating a kerbside collection scheme in many areas, or they can be taken to collection points at most supermarkets.
  • Exercise your purchasing power and choose products with no, or minimal, packaging or with easily recyclable packaging – glass and aluminium are more economically viable candidates for recycling than plastic.
  • Opt for reusable rather than disposable convenience items and reuse items around the home where possible such as plastic bags.
  • Buy locally produced food to cut down on ‘food miles’ and to support your local economy.
  • Consider composting your kitchen waste if you have a garden, or try a wormery which takes up less space and is suitable for smaller families producing less waste.

For more info: - The Waste Aware Grampian website provides information to help householders in the Grampian area to Reduce Reuse and Recycle and to make full use of the facilities that are already available to them.

Dispose of waste correctly

  • Collect waste oil and take to an oil recycling bank for disposal. Visit the oil bank website to find your nearest bank.
  • Take unused paint to the place of purchase.
  • Never dispose of unwanted oil, paint, pesticides or any kind of chemicals down the drain. Outside drains in particular may lead directly to your nearest river or burn.
  • Don’t use your toilet as a rubbish bin. Throw sanitary waste in the bin rather than flushing it down the toilet – cotton buds, sanitary pads and condoms can clog up screens at wastewater treatment works and end up on riverbanks and beaches.
  • Take unwanted books, clothes and games to a local charity shop rather than throwing them away.

Below are some helpful websites to browse for more information:

  • The Bag It & Bin It campaign. Scottish Water has teamed up with the Scottish Executive and Clean Coast Scotland to publicise the problem of rubbish being flushed down the toilet.
  • Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) is an organisation which works to improve the quality of local environments in Scotland.