I saved 10000 liters of water by upcycling old bedsheets

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We talk about reusing and recycling clothes all the time, but bedsheets use a lot of fabric too! I needed a new duvet cover, and I realised how much fabric (a.k.a. natural resources) that actually takes to make. I couldn’t find any secondhand duvet covers that would fit a double sized duvet. Selling your old sheets doesn’t seem to be a thing! Instead, I went to my parents and asked them for some old sheets they do not use anymore. Believe me, people tend to have stuff accumulating over the years at a crazy rate so they had quite a few odd ones to spare! No double sized ones were to be found so I took two single sized ones and made a new cover out of them. Both of them were at least 20 years old, but still of very good quality.

Two old sheets, scissors, a few needles, thread and my grandmothers sewing machine. Voila, it took about 3 hours in total. A new double sized duvet cover would have cost at least 50 euro. This cost me absolutely nothing and I love how it ended up looking! About 2000 liters of water are used for producing a cotton t-shirt, so for producing a duvet cover made from cotton, it would take approximately 10000 liters of fresh water. I really managed to save a lot of natural resources by reusing the textiles for a new duvet cover!

The double sized duvet I got was unfortunately brand new and I don’t really know its environmental footprint.  But I really like my new duvet so I guess it’s worth the environmental price. I did check online for a secondhand big duvet but when I could not find one I bought a new one. A lot of people would find the thought of a secondhand duvet a bit disgusting. I would not mind using a secondhand one, I would just have it properly washed at the dry-cleaner. When I lived in England, I had a secondhand duvet. It turned out to be quite difficult to sell when I moved away! Secondhand duvets are just fine if they’re only a couple of years old, I wish more people realised that used stuff isn’t un-fresh at all.

I gave my old duvet to a beggar, who said her child was freezing and she wanted money to buy one. I did not do it because I’m a particularly good person, I merely thought that this would be a good excuse to buy a new duvet since I wanted a big two-person duvet instead. However, I do hope that she got some use of the duvet. Since I sincerely cared about her family’s wellbeing, and not only about getting rid of my duvet, I did buy her some groceries as well.

I am going to sound harsh here but it’s the truth: Don’t ever think that you are doing the world a favour when you donate bad quality clothes to secondhand shops. Working for a secondhand fashion company (secco.fi), I have become even more aware of how much clothes of really bad quality people have bought. It is really, really difficult to recycle a H&M t-shirt with a hole in it. With good quality fabrics, you can reuse it as a textile and sew a new piece of clothing out of it. Please, dear readers, start checking for the quality of all the textiles you buy. I am writing all this to remind you, that even though recycling projects like this one with my bedsheets, really DO save a lot of natural resources: the only reason I could do it in the first place was because I had quality sheets to work with. It would have been really difficult to sew something from a bad quality fabric.

I lost money on a solar investment but I’m not sad

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Solar panels have powered our summer cottage since the 1970´s, the modern ones are much more efficient though.

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The price of  the First Solar Inc shares has gone down, a lot. You don’t need to know much about investments to understand that -44,56% doesn’t look very good.Some people save for a house or a car. As a student, I’m lucky to be able to save at all and it will be a while before I have saved enough for a house or an electric car, so I though investing in renewables would be best for some of my savings right now. If I would sell the shares I bought today, I would have lost almost half of what I invested.

Is this bad? No, it’s actually great news! For my personal finances perhaps yes, it is bad, but the investment made wasn’t too big, so I’ll survive. For the rest of the world, the answer is no, it is not bad at all! First Solar is an American company and the reason they do poorly is not that demand for solar power has decreased, on the contrary. Demand is on the rise, because globally prices for solar panels keep getting lower and lower! Prices have decreased by 30% just this year!

The mistake I did, was choosing to invest in the wrong solar company, the one who sells solar panels at ‘the old’ more expensive prices. Additionally, Trump became president which could be catastrophic for American solar cell companies. However, since the technology has improved so much solar power isn’t necessary dependent on any political subsidies. Go home Trump, you can’t fight the power of the market in America!

I don’t regret investing in American solar power, I want to contribute to showing the Americans that the market wants clean energy. Solar might be a risky investment but if you want to contribute to a better world, I recommend it anyways.  I see it as donating to charity with the possibility of winning more money! This isn’t the most conventional investment strategy, but I generally think no-one should make any investments without considering moral implications. That money does  better things to the world like this, than at a savings account or spent on travelling.

I have not only invested in solar shares, I’m a consumer too. I buy solar-electricity from the Helsinki energy company Helen. Almost 20% of the energy I used in the past year, has been from solar power. Remember, this is in one of the northernmost cities in the world!! That truly shows the possibilities solar power has globally. If you live in Helsinki, get solar electricity for your house or flat here. If you live elsewhere, use new eco-friendly search engine Ecosia too look up solar power-plants in your region.

The globally lower prices of solar power is so great news that I can’t even be sad over my loss! In fact, the payback time for the best solar panels in sunny locations is as low as 2 years! Price competitive, clean energy: finally you are here! I’ve been waiting for you!

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Production of solar power plant in Helsinki that produces my electricity, built in 2014.