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Archive | Otter Pick

Santa’s sustainable gift selection

Photo credit: Jon Newman (Flickr)

Photo credit: Jon Newman (Flickr)

The silly season is just weeks away, bringing with it a gift-hunting and Christmas shopping frenzy. This doesn’t mean your environmental and ethical conscience needs to go out the window, though. Jess Noble rounds up the best eco-friendly and fair trade presents around, for everyone from your nana to your furry friend.

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Six must-see documentaries about sustainability and the environment

6 must-see documentaries

Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth made waves around the world when it burst onto screens in 2006. It won the 2007 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and spurred the creation of non-profit organisation Climate Reality Project, which unites people around the world to share the message of climate change.

Film is a powerful medium to share important messages about the environment, sustainability and human or animal rights. Here are six documentaries that turn the spotlight on important environmental and ethical issues facing us today. Continue Reading →

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Otter’s ultimate guide to recycling and reusing

Photo credit: Ruud van Koningsbrugge (Flickr)

Photo credit: Ruud van Koningsbrugge (Flickr)

Imagine having a mason jar’s worth of waste per week. In fact, forget about a week, how about a year? It may sound impossible, but once you’ve developed a system, it becomes second nature and household waste can become a thing of the past. Megan Raj shares some ideas to get you thinking outside the box (or bin).

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Five energy-saving tips to shrink your carbon footprint this winter

cold otter

Now that we’re well and truly into the cooler months, watching electricity usage is crucial to stave off the end-of-winter power bill shock.  Here are Otter’s top five energy-saving tips you may not have heard before to cut down your electricity usage, lower your carbon footprint and keep you toasty for less.

  1. Bubble wrap window insulation

This involves cutting out large pieces of regular bubble wrap and sticking them to your windows. You don’t need adhesives – just spray the window with water and gently press on the bubble wrap. This can cut heat loss from the window by up to 50%.

  1. Leave bath water until it cools

Instead of immediately draining your hot washing-up or bath water, let it sit and cool down. It will provide some passive heat for the room, and may take the edge off enough to prevent or delay the urge to turn on a heater.

  1. Personal heating, not space heating

Instead of heating your whole house, consider investing in a few inexpensive appliances to keep your body warm. A heated keyboard, heated mouse, strategic heating lamps, and timed electric blanket use far less power than traditional space heaters.

  1. Outsource to your kids

Tell your kids that if your electricity usage decreases compared to the same bill period last year, you’ll give them the savings in cash. Watch as lights and heaters are switched off much more frequently, and hot shower times go down too.

  1. Limit bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans

Kept running, your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans can effectively suck out all of the incidental heat from using your stove or taking a hot shower. Keep them on only long enough to de-fog your bathroom or get rid of lingering cooking smells.

Photo credit: Finally! Susan E Adams (CC)
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A greener way to read– books, eBooks and second hand book stores

Books - second hand not ebooks

Photo: Second Hand Book (Flickr/ Draco2008) Copyright. Creative Commons License.

Every book you buy comes at an environmental cost. The average book published in the UK causes 3kg of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere, and an estimated 13 million books are sent to landfill in the UK alone each year. What are your options for a greener read? Where can you find a sustainable book without the hassle? How sustainable would an E-book be for you?  Continue Reading →

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