Things you can do indoors:
1. Use phosphate-free dishwashing detergent at home and in business – some detergents have over 40% phosphate! Check the label or go to the Nurture Lakeland website for more info http://www.nurturelakeland.org/love-your-lakes
2. Check you’re using a phosphate-free laundry service – domestic laundry detergent is either phosphate free or has low levels but some commercial laundry detergents still have lots of phosphate in them. There are non-phosphate commercial alternatives so check the label, ask your supplier, or go to the Nurture Lakeland website for more info http://www.nurturelakeland.org/love-your-lakes
3. Minimise water use. But it rains so much, why the need to save water!? Because lots of resources and energy get used in the process of cleaning waste water from our homes and businesses so we can reuse it as drinking water. Phosphate is added to our water (to reduce the risk of lead dissolving into the water from old pipes) so minimising water use is also a way of reducing the phosphate problem. Check out your water company’s website for tips on saving water.
4. Watch what you put down the drain – it all has to be dealt with at some point which uses resources and energy. Avoid putting fats and oils down the sink – they cause blockages and are full of phosphate; compost food waste rather than using food digesters; dispose of paint, brush cleaning fluid, and any other toxic chemicals responsibly. If in doubt check out your water company’s website.
5. Think before you flush – only pee, poo and toilet paper should go down your loo! Everything else should be put in the bin even if the packaging says ‘flushable’!
6. Check waste water is going down the right pipe! Sometimes properties cause significant levels of pollution to watercourses because their waste water appliances are connected to surface (clean) water pipes rather than waste (dirty) water pipes. Make sure your connections are right – check out www.connectright.org.uk for useful pointers.
Things you can do outdoors:
1. Volunteer some time to help get rid of invasive species like Himalayan Balsam – contact your local Rivers Trust http://www.theriverstrust.org
2. Take care of your tanks.
- If you’ve got a septic tank, get it emptied by an approved contractor annually and check it’s not leaking – leaks can cause serious hazards to aquatic life.
- If you’ve got an oil tank, check that it is not leaking. Spilt oil can pollute streams and groundwater and contaminate land.
3. If you get active in the great outdoors Check Clean Dry your equipment after every use to help stop the spread of invasive species between waterbodies and plant diseases between areas too.
4. Be a Greener Boater out on the water
- Keep your fuel safe. Spilled fuel and oil forms a thin layer on the water surface, stopping the oxygen transfer between air and water, leaving plants, animals and fish vulnerable to suffocation.
- Check your holding tanks are sealed.
- Check out our Greener Boating Handbook for more info and top tips http://www.windermere-reflections.org.uk/projects/choices-for-a-greener-future
5. Be a Green Gardener!
- Keep manure and fertilisers away from watercourses; use minimal amounts of chemicals and take care not to apply before rainfall which might wash it away.
- Make sure beds and banks are vegetated near water to reduce soil loss.
- Learn to make plant feed out of nettles, comfrey and urine – they are full of what plants need!
6. Leave no trace when out and about – take your litter home; keep to footpaths (it reduces damage to sensitive and fragile habitats and restricts soil loss); walk, cycle or use public transport when you can.
More information can be found in the Windermere Reflections Property Pack – contact the office for details of how to get a copy. Tel: 015394 34401 or firstname.lastname@example.org