Over the last few years, it’s become hard to deny that our climate is changing and our animals are literally choking on litter and plastic. Reducing your environmental impact is now more important than ever before.
Even though Governments are working on potential solutions with varying degrees of success and commitment we can be part of the change by evaluating each purchase and action at home in more detail using the guiding principles, reduce, repair, reuse and recycle.
Using a more mindful approach to purchases and actions at home will help you build a more eco friendly and sustainable life in a practical and obtainable way. Here are our top tips for starting your journey to a more eco friendly, low waste and sustainable home:
1. Buy less stuff
Think twice before upgrading your television, buying the latest gadgets or redecorating. See if you can repair, upcycle or buy items from a thrift store instead.
2. Actively reduce plastic
Plastic hides in many things. Don’t buy the obvious such as shop-bought water in plastic bottles, plastic food wrap, plastic cutlery, straws and cotton buds with plastic centres. But be mindful that you can also find plastic in less obvious things such as clothing, furnishings and wet wipes
3. Turn down the heating
Reducing the average temperature in your home each winter by even a few degrees can drastically reduce carbon emissions and heating bills. Set your central heating for no more than 20°C, 18°C is better if you can but we all have to start somewhere so 20°C might be less of a shock to the system at first.
4. Reduce plastic packaging
Consider the packaging of the products you buy and make sure it is as a minimum recyclable. Be aware that not all products that state it’s recyclable will be recycled as it’s not economically viably at the moment, so research recycling codes and your local recycling policies.
5. Insulate your house
If you are living in an older building insulate your home to make sure it is more eco friendly and use less energy overall. Most new builds have to meet energy efficiency standards, but older homes can be inefficient and expensive to heat.
6. Get storage savvy
Get multi-use storage containers in the kitchen and elsewhere or reuse glass bottles to store and freeze items instead of plastic.
7. Stop food waste
Reduce and stop food waste by freezing vegetables, meats and leftovers to eat later. Leftovers are perfect meals for those days when you can’t be bothered to cook or you’re in a hurry, so freeze it don’t chuck it.
8. Eat meat as a treat
Eat less meat and poultry every week, you don’t have to become a vegan or vegetarian if that’s too big of a step but a “meat as a treat” philosophy is a fantastic start to reducing the amount of meat you eat. If you’d like to try it out you can always join in on meat-free Mondays.
9. Go organic and grass-fed
Buy organic and high welfare food, opt for the best you can afford. If you do eat meat make sure that the animals ate what nature intended on not corn or some other bizarre growth-enhancing feed. Veg and meat box subscriptions are a great way to reduce packaging and buy good quality food
10. Compost food waste
Some councils have compost bin collections, but if your council is not smart enough to support composting you can start your own in the garden or on a countertop as most unrecyclable waste gets incinerated.
11. Grow your own
Start an indoor herb garden or outdoor vegetable garden, you can definitely grow food and reduce plastic even in small spaces
12. Say no to processed food
Eat less or no processed foods, it’s better for your health and the environment. Who knows what they put in that stuff anyway. Homecooked meals are the way to go, we have loads of homecooked recipes to get you started.
13. Eco cleaning only
Swap traditional cleaning products for more eco-friendly options or make your own from basic ingredients. Most traditional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that pollute our waterways and your body.
14. Reduce energy and water use
Switch off appliances at the plug socket when they are not in use, stop opening the fridge a million times a day – you’re not hungry, trust us you’re just bored. Other helpful options are to switch the lights off when you leave the room and to and swap bathing for a shower
15. LED all the way
Linking with point 13 above switch to LED lightbulbs, these have a much longer lifespan, are more durable, mercury-free and highly energy-efficient, perfect for a more eco friendly house
16. Buy in bulk and save
Buy items for your home in bulk or if you have one, from a zero-waste store. You’ll save money and reduce plastics hiding in packaging
17. Repair, upcycle or donate
Fix and upcycle items such as clothing, appliances and furniture. This will give you an opportunity to put your own stamp on things
18. Swap for eco friendly alternatives
Actively swap products and consumables with more eco friendly and sustainable ones. Read our eco swap guides for ideas.
19. Avoid retail therapy
Retail therapy is where the trouble starts, new shoes might make you feel better today but it will leave a hole in your wallet and the environment. Build a sustainable wardrobe by avoiding fast fashion and high fashion at all cost.
20. Invest in better quality items that will last longer
We’ve become a throwaway world where things are made to get replaced more quickly. The saying, “they don’t make them like they used to” is actually true so try to buy from companies who make products known for durability and quality.
The above list is by no means exhaustive but is a good start to building a more eco friendly home and sustainable lifestyle. Please see our related guides for more tips, practical eco swaps and homecooked recipes that will help you to reduce waste and environmental impact at home.