There are a lot of things we can do on the yard to create a more eco friendly environment. Making a place that is not only more environmentally friendly but can also save money too. This is the first blog in our series of ways to make your yard more environmentally friendly. Why not try a few of the suggestions and see the difference it makes? :
- Switch off lights, or consider changing to motion sensor timed lights. This is especially important in a shared tack room where people are in and out a lot. Maybe put a Sign in an obvious place reminding everyone to turn off the lights every time.
- Turn off plug sockets and make sure things like heaters and fans are not being left on overnight.
- You can also look at switching over to LED bulbs which use a lot less energy, and also look into fitting solar panels for providing some of your energy requirements. If your yard is very dark in winter look into things like LED strip lighting along the floor to the muck heap, or solar powered garden lights for lighting areas not in consent use. This will mean bigger lights will not need to switched on for someone to empty their wheelbarrow etc.
- Menage lights – look into using solar powered lights if possible. Make sure people are only switching the lights on when they are riding, many people leave the arena and leave the lights on whilst they are untacking and putting everything away, meaning lights are left on and not in use for a long time, which equals a lot of wasted energy and a big bill. Some yards now have their lights on a meter and you pay per use, so the lights only stay on a set amount of time and then turn off themselves. This kind of lights are really good if you do have problems with lights being left on when not in use.
- Bulk Buy – Get together with others on your yards, or other yards locally and have your feed and bedding delivered together in bulk. This will save everyone on the yard making individual trips to the feed shop and you may also get a discount for placing a big order. Also look for companies that use recyclable or paper bags. More information can found in the blog: Eco friendly Feeding
- Try and go paperless – switch the diary for a planner drawn on a whiteboard, and also see if your livery bills can be emailed over, rather than written out on paper. Also look at having another white board for daily notes and school bookings.
- Get together with others on your yard or local yards within hacking distance to arrange a clinic day, where an instructor can come to the yard for a day to teach everyone. Again saving on petrol. You can also look into this option for things like vets visits for inoculations and also farrier visits.
- Look at having a swap shop with your friends on the yard and swap things like rugs and matchy sets instead of buying new, or look for second hand items on Facebook and eBay. Also look at donating unwanted things to equine charities rather than throwing away. If a rug is past its best and un – usable look at cutting off the straps and buckles first to use as spares.
- See if you can switch to Eco friendly products where possible there are more and more companies creating products that are made from natural ingredients. Things to look at changing are saddle soap, shampoo, yard and stable cleaners, tea bags, fly spray. Also look for an alternative to sponges. Most Sponges are made up from plastic and are not recyclable and when it comes to horses we use a lot of sponges for tack cleaning, bathing, washing buckets………The list goes on. Try switching to Eco friendly sponges, such as bamboo ones, or other products that can be recycled.
- Plastics – The biggest problem is single use plastics that are non recyclable. There are ways around this however, you can do this by looking for feed that comes in recyclable bags, paper bags or is delivered in bulk in storage containers, Chestnut feeds offer this option, and they collect the empty containers and reuse them. Look for sprays in metal bottles, or check for companies that offer refill pouches rather than buying more bottles. Switch to soap bars in the toilets. Check that paper feed bags are recyclable, as waterproof paper that is a mix of polymer sandwiched with paper is not recyclable in the UK. More details can be found in the blog: Eco Friendly replacements for plastics.
- Have a go at online competing where you film your self at home riding a dressage test or individual show and then upload it to the competition website, this saves on fuel taking the lorry out and also save you having to get up early and re – bath for a show, as you can film at a time that suits you. Why not get a group of friends together and all enter and make a fun day of it.
- Saving water: Yards use an insane amount of water on a daily basis, and a lot of this does get wasted. From thing like leaky taps to the hose in the hay soaking bucket getting left on. There are loads of easy changes to make to save water and hopefully money on the water bill. Things include checking all taps and pipes for leaks, switching to automatic water drinkers, steaming instead of soaking hay, bathing with buckets instead of the hose, getting your rugs washed in bulk instead of doing it individually. These ideas and more can all be found here in the blog: Saving Water on the yard.
- Grooming kits when you are looking for a new one, try getting ones made from natural materials such as goat hair or horse hair and on a wooden backing/ handle. These are not only made from natural materials that can be recycled but also give amazing shine to the horses coats and are really good at brushing stains out, which also saves on water, as there is less washing. Good kits to check out are Renwick and Sons grooming kits, which are all made in the UK from ethically sourced wood, and are designed to last a lifetime. Borstiq Brushes are also wooden backed and made from natural and Eco friendly fibres. Hy Equestrian also have a range of wooden backed brushes with goats hair, horse hair and pig bristles, that are widely available from many stockists.
- Bedding now most of us muck out our horse and have it collected by the farmer and taken away, it is then either burnt or used for spreading on the fields and using as fertiliser. All of which seems pretty Eco Friendly right? well yes most of that is Eco friendly DEPENDING on what bedding we are using. Some of the wood pellets actually create a huge carbon footprint during manufacture and also if they are outside of the UK there is a lot of energy used getting them here. Also some of the cheaper wood pellets that are not meant for the equestrian market may contain plastic particles. The good news is that there are lots of companies in the UK producing Eco friendly horse bedding, Sorbeo horse bedding make Eco friendly wood pellets here in the UK and even travel them by boat to further reduce their carbon foot print. Ecobale manufacture cardboard bedding here in the UK, their bedding is 100% recyclable, bio degradable and comes from a sustainable, renewable source. The Pearce group offer ECObed which is a cardboard shavings bedding, that decomposes very quickly and can be spread as mulch, it is also dust free. You can also look into reusing your much heap to spread on your fields as fertiliser, instead of having the much heap taken away and then buying in separate fertiliser.
- Poo pick using a fork and barrow, rather than a quad bike or other motor vehicle, you can also keep the poo and spread it around the fields as fertiliser too.
These are all a very brief over view of small daily changes you can make to help become more Eco friendly. If you have other idea of making the yard a more Eco Friendly place please do share them with us.