Turn your engine off… pretty please and thank you

Is it ever acceptable to ask someone to turn off their engine if they are not moving? Or am I asking to be punched in the face?

I realise no one likes to be told what to do, and I’m trying to avoid being the preachy type. But really, on my run yesterday I counted three vehicles that were parked up with their engines running. If they don’t care about the air we’re breathing or their generous contribution to global warming, surely they must care about their money?! Apparently if you are not moving for 5-10 seconds it’s more economical to switch your engine off.

So can I knock on someone’s window and ask?

Would there ever be a valid reason to leave it running? If you’ve got it on to keep warm then nip into the nearest shop. They blast out so much hot air I assume they’re trying to grow their own tropical forest. Cheers for the reforestation but I don’t think the city streets is where the jungle is most needed.

In true British style, I gave the drivers a glare but decided against confrontation just yet. Until I pluck up the courage I will just hope they stumble across this blog post I’m hiding behind. 

traffic-safety-sign-nhe-14400_1000

UPDATE!

While I was working in my flat one morning this week, I could hear an engine running outside. After a few minutes it didn’t stop so I looked out the window, and a big van was parked up. I could see that the passenger was reading a newspaper and the driver filling out forms. I was debating whether to go down and say something, thinking as usual, that I probably wouldn’t and would hope that they would go away quickly. But after another five minutes the pointless emissions were becoming too annoying, and I wondered if they needed their engine to be on for anything, or if they just weren’t thinking. So I plucked up my courage and headed down. I was polite and asked them if their engine needed to be on. Before even answering, the driver had turned it off and apologised. I did make a point of saying it wasn’t for the noise but the pollution that I was asking, as it struck me then, that maybe it isn’t that they don’t care about polluting, it seemed like they just hadn’t thought about it.

I wondered if this would have any impact on their attitude to having their engines on generally, but I was trying not to kid myself too much. But happily, the next day when I left the flat, I saw that the van was back, the driver in his seat, and I hadn’t heard the engine all morning. Small win.

Olive Oil As Makeup Remover (yes really)

eye-makeup-remover

A few years ago, I was staying over at a friend’s house and asked to borrow her makeup remover. She said no problem, but just so you know, it’s olive oil. I was sceptical, but if it worked for her, then I thought why not try it. Safe to say I have never looked back, here’s why.

First of all, it works really well (even on waterproof mascara). As well, if not better than any removers I have bought in the past. Secondly, the savings. Makeup remover can be expensive, especially for effective ones. I don’t wear a lot of make up, but I would have to buy a few bottles a year. The best thing about using olive oil, is how little of it you need. In early 2015 I bought a 500ml bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil (about £3) and filled up an empty travel shampoo bottle with about a third of it, and kept the rest for cooking. I finished the bottle in the kitchen in a matter of months, but I have NEVER had to refill the little bottle in the bathroom, and I’m still going with it. I may have to finally buy a new bottle mid 2017. And last but not least, the environmental impact. Olive oil is natural product, you can buy it organic, and you know exactly what’s in it. I have no idea what was in my old makeup remover. There have been studies on whether they are dangerous for you skin, but I’m not finding much on whether the chemicals used are bad for the environment, so until then, might as well play it safe with olive oil. There is also less packaging involved as I buy one big bottle of olive oil that’ll last me years, instead of a little plastic bottle every few months, or worse, packs and packs of wet wipes. To make it even cheaper and environmentally friendly, I use reusable pads that I stick in with my washing.

The only downside I can think of (and I’m really digging here), is I remember at first finding the smell of olive oil strange when taking my make up off. But I either got used to it, or because it’s been the same olive oil sat in the bathroom the smell has gone. Either way, I very quickly didn’t notice it anymore.

So here’s how to use it: put a few drops of olive oil on your fingers, rub your makeup with it, then wipe with a reusable pad. If I’m wearing more makeup than usual I might do this twice. And that’s it! You can wash your face as normal after, but as I use so little I don’t tend to need to.

Chances are, you have some in your cupboard, so try it when you next take your makeup off!

7 Million Coffees

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If you caught Hugh’s War On Waste on the BBC, you will be well aware of the coffee cup problem by now. But if not, here it is: the paper cups used for take away coffee, is not in fact, made out of paper. Well, not just paper. To make the cup waterproof, the paper is lined with plastic. Basically what this means is that “paper” cups are not recyclable. It’s estimated that 7 million of these cups get wasted EVERY DAY in the UK alone. Picture that gigantic mountain of cups… there’s got to be a better way.

We could try and develop cups that are easier to recycle (it is currently being researched), but making a cup, to recycle it, to make a new cup, uses a lot more energy than have one cup that you can wash and use again straight away.

I bought a reusable coffee cup about a year ago and I love it. Of course, I don’t always remember to have it with me, but if I know there is a chance I’m going to grab a coffee on the way to work, I’ll put it in my bag. So far I have never had a coffee shop say no when I’ve asked if they could use my cup, I think they are beginning to expect it which is great. A lot of coffee shops sell them and Starbucks knocks 25p off your coffee if you use your own cup. Obviously you can be forgiven for not taking it with you everywhere you go, but every cup saved helps.

What I find more worrying though, is places where you can sit down to have your coffee, but they automatically put it in a take away cup, or worse, when they don’t even have normal cups at all. What owner of a coffee shop doesn’t have cups? I’m trying my best to avoid these places until they wake up and smell the climate change.

If you’re looking for an amazing reusable coffee cup, I love mine. It’s from the wonderful people at Surfers Against Sewage and is made from Bamboo, a pretty sustainable material. 

https://www.sas.org.uk/shop/accessories/bamboo-coffee-cup/

 

Why Green Is The New Black

Welcome to Green Is The New Black. The purpose of this blog is simple, I want to live a greener life, but I’m not always sure of how to do so. I also believe that a lot of other people want to make a difference too. I want to look at small and big useful ways I can change my habits, and share what I find with you here.

I will be looking out for new green inventions, trying products that have less of an impact on our planet, finding companies that are making steps to becoming eco-friendly, and generally looking at how other people and other countries are making a difference and how I can implement these into my life.

I am not here to try and convince anyone that something needs to be done, that’s the scientists’ job! I am here to try and help anyone that is already convinced that lowering their impact on the planet is a necessity. If you know of any ways to go green then please feel free to share them here.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen.