DECLUTTERING & TIDYING: Ten things to do at home during the COVID19 shutdown

15 April 2020
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

As people across the country settle into their new reality of working from home, family-run business Glandore – Ireland’s longest-serving and leading provider of serviced offices and co-working space and the first plastic-free, flexible office space in Ireland, have today issued 10 savvy tips and tricks to help you make your new working space cleaner and greener.

Glandore Co-Working Space Cork
Glandore Co-Working Space Cork, overlooking Cork City Hall

Last year, Glandore declared its Cork City office, located in City Quarter, Lapps Quay, as its first plastic-free, flexible office space in Ireland. Glandore have also been making waves as the first Irish coworking company to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy across all of their Irish locations, through the installation of solar panels and smart light sensors. In addition, they have fitted each of their shared office spaces in Dublin, Belfast and Cork with recycling and composting facilities, as well as incorporating electric car charging ports at a handful of their properties. These practices are part of Glandore’s overall effort to keep all their Irish locations in up to date with various environmentally friendly and sustainability measures.

In an effort to help people keep their homes as ‘green’ as possible during this global pandemic, here are some tips from Glandore:

  • Turn Appliances Off
  • Declutter Your Environment
  • Limit Food Waste
  • Repair and Reuse
  • Cash in Unwanted Goods
  • Tie up Those Loose … Cables
  • Use up Cosmetics
  • Recycle Smarter
  • Compost is Your Friend
  • Utilise Youtube

1. Turn Appliances Off: Many of us are guilty of leaving electrical items on standby, chargers plugged in and lights turned on. This is a waste of energy that produces unnecessary CO2 in the environment and is referred to as ‘Vampire Energy’. The energy use of standby appliances sucks unnecessary power and can add up to 20 -30% on top of your electricity bills each month.

Suggested Action: Ask everyone that uses the space to be conscious of unplugging their chargers when not in use and switching off laptops and TVs completely, as opposed to leaving them on standby.

2. Declutter You Environment: While 2019 may have been the year of Marie Kondo, many of us still have cupboards, presses, and wardrobes full of items that we may not ever use. Imagine just how creative you could get with all of that newfound free space if you started to declutter now.

Suggested action: Spend an hour or two this week clearing the items you think you no longer require. When COVID-19 has passed and it is safe to do so, donate these items to your local charity shop which will be happy to receive any of your good quality items. Sort through your old bedsheets and towels and donate suitable items to your local homeless shelter or women’s refuge.

3. Limit Food Waste: Spend some time going through your fridge and cupboards to find items approaching their expiry date and use these products first. Google can be a useful resource on how best to use up food. One of our favourite tips comes from Nigella Lawson, English food writer and chef – freeze the last of your red wine in ice trays and use those red wine ice cubes to make a red wine jus sauce at a later date.

Suggested Action: Get into the back of the fridge, freezer, and cupboards and pull the oldest items to the front to be used first. Rotate your food in much the same way supermarkets do.

4. Repair and Reuse: We all have those items that need repairing but keep putting on the long finger. There is no time like the present to get out the needle and thread, hammer and nails or the extra-strength superglue. Again, Youtube is a great resource to learn how to fix and mend and breathe new life into those damaged items that have been sitting around.

Suggested Action: Use online videos to learn to upskill in sewing and repair a small hole in an item of clothing that you used to love but have stopped wearing.

5. Cash in Unwanted Goods: Items in perfect condition such as bicycles, tablets, laptops, cameras, phones, books, exercise equipment that you are no longer using, these can potentially earn you a few euro down the line by selling them. Many tech products used copious amounts of energy upon production. They also hold their value, and reselling these items ensures we don’t have to mine for new virgin metals and minerals, subsequently helping us reduce our carbon footprint.

Suggested Action: Put these items aside, take some pictures of them and pop them up on E-commerce platforms like Ebay, Amazon and Done Deal.

6. Tie up Those Loose…Cables: Our homes and businesses are full of old chargers and cables, earphones and other disused pieces of tech. These can be recycled at your local county recycling centre, as they are considered electrical waste.

Suggested Action: Take an old, reusable shopping bag and put any broken electrical items into it, remotes, cables, earphones, speakers, Christmas lights etc. Any item that uses a battery or plug can go into this bag. Leave the bag in a cupboard and once full, pop it into the boot and the next time you are passing your county dump, drop them off at the WEEE recycling section.

7. Use up Cosmetics: Unfortunately, half-used bottles of cosmetics are decorative in every household. Sort through them and begin to use them by closest to expiry. By not wasting a single drop of a manufactured item, we ensure as a consumer that we are getting its full economic and carbon value, and this also helps to reduce waste.

Suggested Action: Pour half-used bottles into each other e.g. shampoos and conditioners. Gift unwanted cosmetics items to family and friends. Your unopened products can be donated to your local charity shop, once COVID-19 passes. Remember to rinse out any old bottles, squash them and put them in the recycling bin.

8. Recycle Smarter: It is everybody’s responsibility to recycle and play their part in making this a cleaner, healthier planet for all. Many items don’t come into mind first when we think about recycling, for example, items from our bathroom. Shampoo and shower gel bottles are suitable for recycling, so it is important to add a second bin to your bathroom to facilitate this.

Suggested Action: Sign up to Terracycle to recycle your empty cosmetic containers and pouches. Put an old shoebox aside for collecting these items and once you’ve collected 2KG, you can ship these items back to Terracycle completely free. Terracycle will then donate €2 to your chosen charity.

9. Compost is Your Friend: Start a compost bin at home. Compost bins can be ordered online, and YouTube has a wealth of suggestions as to how to build one at home. Composting our food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reduce our environmental impact.

Suggested Action: If you don’t have a home compost bin, contact your refuse provider or apartment management company to ask them about getting a brown bin for compostable waste.

10. Utilise YouTube: Zero Waste entered the Oxford English dictionary in 2019 and it is something we should all work towards. Consider watching Zero Waste videos on Youtube. There are some excellent tips on reducing the waste coming into our homes and businesses.

Suggested Action: Watch Bea Johnson, this French American is the queen of the modern Zero Waste movement and shares a variety of tips and efforts to help you help the planet.

The Team at Glandore are taking any and every step required to keep their staff, member businesses and employees safe. They are still very much open for business and to assisting all members and business partners as best they can over the coming months. Should you wish to speak to a member of the team or make an enquiry regarding office space please email the Sales Team at info@glandore.ie. They are continuing to monitor the situation and correspondence from the HSE and keep all of their buildings safe for the businesses they house.

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