The Green Chain : Eco Interview

by Julie Gibbons on May 31, 2011

This interview is part of a blogger fundraiser to raise money for three UK environmental charities. In exchange for my answers to these questions, PriceMinister will donate £10 to one of the three charities, according to my preference.

Turning the heating down by just one degree in your house saves 240kg of CO2 a year. It would take eight trees to soak up this amount of CO2! Are you currently doing anything to make your home eco-friendly?

We’re usually working from home, so manage to consume more than our average share of electricity, so it’s important that we monitor our power usage using a meter (it’s amazing what that move makes you turn off!) and source our electricity from the UK’s only 100 per cent renewables electricity supplier, Good Energy. But probably the action I’m most passionate about is banning chemicals from the home – using vinegar to clean, buying organic food and making my own beauty products. This means less harmful chemicals in our world as well as our home.

Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface, now they only cover 2%. How are you reducing your use of paper?

Gosh, we’re internet dudes, so that means we don’t consume a great deal of paper! Most of our bills and statements are now online (where the supplier has provided that option we’ll always take it. We don’t buy newspapers and use only recycled paper loo roll. We don’t use paper towels in the kitchen, either – when I think back, I used to go through a whole roll of this stuff once every couple of weeks!

But it isn’t all good news – I do have a bit of a passion for paper journals, tho and am not averse to buying magazines to trawl through for vision/dream board pics.

At PriceMinister we believe that trading second hand items online is a great way to extend the life span of products. Have you ever thought of buying or selling second hand items on or off line?

Buying pre-loved is in fact one of our core values, as specificied in our Organic Manifesto! We often buy online, but seldom sell online, usually offloading to charity collections. It’s funny how I can never get to grips with anyone wanting to buy my cast-offs, but quite happily good money for other folk’s. Maybe it’s time to start investigating this a bit further.

One of the biggest environmental challenges we face is Freshwater Shortages. Are you taking measures to reduce your water consumption?

I remember writing about this back in 2006 – well, at least declaring a few actions that we were inspired to take after visiting the Centre for Alternative Technology. I’m ashamed to say that none of them actually turned into reality. There’s really no excuse for not installing a water butt; it rains quite spectacularly here, so we really shouldn’t need to use the tap for water for the garden. We did turn more of the space into the garden over to growing food and although the ‘canal’ didn’t quite make it to fruition, we have new plans for a wildlife pond. Lastly, our cisterns were too small to install a water displacement device!

One thing we never do is use a carwash for the car, nor a pressure washer or any other such device, so I guess that’s one action we’ve actually taken.

Crikey, I’m feeling like my eco/green values are lacking a little when it comes to translating them into our suburban lifestyle!

How do you choose the produce that goes into your shopping basket? (any favorite products?)

Ah, this is an easy one. We grow some of our own food and most of the rest is delivered by our local organic foods distributor. It isn’t all local but the likes of bananas do have a hard time growing in this part of Scotland ;)

It really is mostly about balancing up the merits of organic, local, fairly traded and artisanal. For instance,  if there’s an item on the supermarket shelf that is organic and I can find a local supplier of that product (honey, for instance), I’ll most often choose the less industrialized, local option.

What is your favourite green space near home? (a photo would be great!)

east whitburn whitrigg bing

This is the view on a wintry day just five minutes from home. The top of an old coal bing, now reclaimed by the Countryside Trust, surrounded by farms and not much else. The forest is just behind this viewpoint, as is the local pet cemetery! As glorious here in the midst of winter as it is on a beautiful sunny spring day, we try and visit every day.

Which charity would you like to support and why?

I’ve chosen Trees for Cities – can’t ever have enough trees in the world. Thank you!

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