Car-sharing is when two or more people travel to work together rather than in separate cars. Car-sharing does not exclude people who would otherwise have travelled to work by public transport or cycle, but is aimed at getting vehicles off the road by increasing vehicle occupancy. It doesn't necessarily mean sharing everyday, if everyone who drives to work on their own, car-shared just one day a week, car use could be reduced by 25 per cent (visit National CarShare). Check to see whether your organisation is registered with Kentjourneyshare. If not, why not start your own scheme at your place of work?
Insulate your home
Possibly the single most cost effective way of saving you money on heating, and a good way you can help conserve the world's energy resources. Check out any subsidies that may be available.
"Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink." Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner may not be true just yet, but if we continue wasting water at the rate we are, then who knows? Turning off the tap next time you brush your teeth we save 24 litres, each time. As well as reducing use, you can also reuse water. Water butts can be used to collect rainwater, which can in turn be used for watering your garden.
Grow Your Own
Fruit and vegetables can be grown almost anywhere, even in pots or in the smallest garden - try growing cabbages with your carnations! You are in control of what chemicals (or not) you use - and fresh food tastes so much nicer. And of course there are no air miles! Why not get an allotment - share your land with others - or simply have a go at swapping seeds or plants at one of the regular Transition Town Faversham events. Faversham also has a thriving Horticultural Society, and its shows are great for getting ideas.
At present, 80% of our compostable household waste ends up in landfill. Once there, it decomposes and emits methane gas - responsible for 40 per cent of the UK's greenhouse emissions. The fact is that we can compost around 60 per cent of our household waste. It isn't dificult to do, just build a simple compost heap with posts and wire in your garden - no matter how small - fill it with green, non-woody uncooked waste - and leave it alone. A few months later you'll have wonderful organic compost.
Encourage wildlife in your garden
Taken together, gardens provide really important corridors for wildlife. Even the smallest garden can provide a green haven, if only by leaving a neglected corner for a few old logs. Try being a little less tidy - don't be keen to dead-head those plants too early. Sometimes lazy is good! A pond will add to the biodiversity of a garden immeasurably. You'll be surprised at what wildlife you can attract. Involve the kids! Or join a local natural history society - it's a great place to learn more.
Eat locally and seasonally
The environmental impacts of flying our food from half way around the world, are severe, kilo for kilo. When you shop, check on the label where it comes from. A kiwi fruit creates five times its own body weight in CO2 emissions in transport alone. Return to the days of eating vegetables when they are in season locally. Produced in Kent, developed by Kentish fare with support from Kent County Council, aims to celebrate the values of the Garden of England. Buying locally means promoting freshness and variety - and saving money, reducing the pollution and nuisance of unnecessary transport and supporting local producers and our local economy. More than 500 businesses are involved in Produced in Kent, so next time you have the choice, think globally and eat locally. Visit the Produced in Kent website.
Use real nappies
In Kent, nearly 5% of all household waste is composed of disposable nappies, even though fewer than 10% of households have a child in nappies at any one time. Parents should consider using cotton nappies and to help reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfill sites. Real nappies can be cost effective, saving up to £500 per baby in its nappy lifetime, and are easy to put on and can be cleaned in a 60c-machine wash. Could you help reduce the current 7.5 million disposable nappies, which end up in Britains, landfill sites every day? (Source: AHPMA)
Reduce your electricity consumption
Go solar! Installing solar panels will give you energy for free and at no cost to the environment. They are increasingly popular and there is now any number of companies offering advice on various systems. Look out for any current Government incentives. Turning off your lights when you leave the room may sound like a simple idea, and that's because it is. Light pollution within the UK (that of lights within our cities polluting our night-time sky) is on the increase. This is bad news not just for all budding astronomers out there but also our environment. Lighting means lots of carbon monoxide, which account for 7% of all emissions in the UK alone. It also means a lot of wasted energy, so before you leave the room, remember to turn the light off. Using energy efficiency light bulbs will also reduce your lighting costs. Visit the Energy Efficiency website. According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average TV will use 16 kwh a year just being left on standby. So next time you go to sleep, make sure your TV is doing the same.
Use fewer plastic bags
Every person in the UK uses up to 134 plastic bags every year. This amounts to some 8 billion bags a year. The majority then find their way to landfill, where they will take up to 500 years to decay and will produce methane gas, which contributes to global warming. Help green Kent by reusing your bags. You could buy a shopping bag or just use fewer of them.
It only takes a few minutes to sort out your recyclable rubbish and make sure it goes into the right bin. Put green waste on a compost heap. There are recycling points in various places around the town for things that are particularly scarce in the third world - such as shoes and eye glasses. Charity shops are a great place to give away your unwanted clothes and household items and avoid it going to landfill. Or Freecycle them! Instead of throwing your old mobile phone out, why not donate it to a local charity such as Oxfam? All Kent Household waste recycling centres also accept mobile phones for re-use or recycling for parts. Recycle your mobile phone.
Use your mug
Some 6 billion polystyrene and plastic cups are used every year in the UK, with the majority going to landfill. The alternative is to use a real mug, or if you're on the go, a travel mug. Not only will this taste better, but you'll feel better too. You may find that coffee shops will give you a discount if you bring your own mug. So, don't be a mug use - one instead.
Faversham is a Fair Trade Town. It is a town with a conscience and an awareness of the issues surrounding Fairtrade. Fairtrade means that the producers who make the goods you buy get a price that fairly rewards their work and skills. Getting paid a fair price helps people take control of their lives, not worrying about their next meal, or if they can send their children to school. Sales of fairly traded products have increased dramatically, and now include everything from clothing to chocolate. So now it's never been easier to buy with your conscience and to make a real difference to people's lives.
Use both sides of the paper
This one's easy. If next time you read a book you found every other page blank, you would probably think - what a waste of paper. Currently over 350 million trees are cut down every year for the paper that's used in UK offices alone. So why did you just print that document on separate pages? You can adjust to print double sided every time in a click of the mouse and, you've guessed it, you save 50% in your paper output, saving money and the environment. We told you it would be easy.
Buy recycled products
Buying used goods from charity shops is a great way to save money, and to minimise the cost of manufacturing and transporting new ones. And, as with the growth in fair trade goods, there has also been a huge leap in the number and quality of recycled goods available. Today companies are producing pencils made from recycled vending cups, beer glasses from old bottles, notepads from Indian advertising posters, picture frames from old oil drums. But there needs to be a demand for the goods that you recycle. So close the loop by buying products made of recycled material. For more information of where to buy recycled products visit The Recycled Products Guide and Recycle Now.
Don't overfill your kettle
Here's something you can do to green Kent right now or probably in about ten minute's time. Next time you make the coffee or tea, only fill your kettle with the water you need, If everybody did this, we could save enough electricity to run the entire street lighting in the whole country. That's food for thought, or should we say electricity for lighting?
Cancel junk mail - Mailing Preference Service
At present, Britons receive nearly 4 billion pieces of direct mail every year. Of that, 78,000 tonnes ends up in UK landfill sites. Nearly a third of this mail is unread because it's irrelevant to you. So why not take control of the post you receive, receiving mail shots that are relevant to you, and sign up to the Mail Preference Service (MPS). About 1.2 million consumers already subscribe to the MPS, which cuts their direct mail by about 95%. You can register free of charge via the MPS website or request an application form by phoning 0845 703 4599
Buy energy saving equipment .
Save money on your bills and do your bit for the environment by choosing new products that carry the Energy Efficiency Recommended logo. The logo can be found on light bulbs, light fittings, refrigeration products, laundry and dishwashing appliances, as well as gas boilers, heating controls, loft and cavity wall insulation. Those Products that display the Energy Efficiency Recommended logo meet or exceed specified energy efficiency requirements and are backed by the Government. In effect it's your guarantee that the product will save energy, cost less to run and help green Kent and its environment. Other schemes include US Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Compliant scheme which is awarded to computer equipment which has met specific criteria for energy efficiency. Visit the Energy Efficiency website.
Use public transport
A double-decker bus carries the same number of people as 40 cars. So next time you make a journey just ask yourself the question, could I possibly make it using public transport, or could I reduce it altogether? After all the bus into the city or the train up to London will still run even if you're not on it. So help reduce the number of cars on the road and take the bus or even better go for a nice long walk. Your health and your environment will thank you for it. Further information can be found at Kent Public Transport and Traveline websites.
Recycle your cartridges
As a nation we currently consign 2 million printer cartridges to land fill every year. So next time they run out, don't consign your old printer cartridges to landfill. Instead contact either local charities such as scout groups or national charities such as Oxfam or Actionaid who can recycle them and then re-sell them. In this was you can help raise money for local schemes or third world development. By recycling your cartridges you'll join a list which includes Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing street and Arsenal FC. For further information visit the Actionaid Recycling website.
Reuse your books
Do you really need to hang on to all of your old books? You usually read them once and, let's be honest, some of them are probably still unread. You could pass them on to your local hospital or charity shop and give the book a new lease of life.
Buy a green car
Not as in colour! The effects of fossil fuel usage on our local environment quality and on global climate change are enormous. We need to find an alternative to our dependence on petrol or diesel. One answer may well lie with hybrid cars powered by an electric motor. There are a number of options available these days. Several manufacturers offer, or are in the process of developing, hybrid or fully electric cars.
If you want to help to conserve and enhance Kent's environment, there are many opportunities to get involved. There are hands-on tasks such as tree planting or clearing ponds or you can help behind the scenes in campaigning and fund-raising. Whatever your interest or background, there are many organisations that will welcome your help in greening Kent. To volunteer, visit the KCC volunteering website.
We hope that there is something here for everybody, from simply turning off the tap next time you brush your teeth to hands-on clearing of local ponds. Getting involved to save your environment and to Green Kent has never been easier, more fun or more cost-effective. So go on, act on something.
[Some text courtesy of Kent County Council]