My quest to live more in harmony with nature, has made me realise the importance of creating a more eco-friendly home. In this post I wanted to share fifteen tips for anyone starting out on their own green living adventure. Small changes can make a big impact to our health and to Mother Earth. If we all make the choice to switch to more eco-friendly ways of living, imagine the positive impact we could have on the world. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
Eco-Friendly Home Ideas:
1. Switch single-use items for better quality reusable alternatives.
Switching to better quality reusable products for the home can mean you reduce your household waste significantly. One example would be, when you go to the shops to buy cloths or a plastic brush for washing up, think before you buy and opt for one that is good enough to wash and reuse. The same would apply for cloth nappies, shopping bags and many more basic items.
2. Switch to renewable energy
If you can’t get solar panels fitted to generate your own energy, you can get renewable energy straight from a provider. This can be as simple as going online to the Bulb website, filling out your details and letting them arrange the switch from your current energy provider. Switching so that your home is fuelled by renewable energy will have a positive ongoing impact on the environment and only takes a matter of minutes to sort out. We switched to Bulb Energy a few months ago and it has worked out less expensive than what we were paying previously, so win-win.
3. Repair before replacing
Going back to how Grandma would’ve done it! Yes it may sound old-fashioned but repairing the things that you already own before just discarding them to end up in a landfill is the best thing for the planet. Say you have a hole in your knitwear, darn it, or the table leg has broken, repair it. Shifting away from the toxic disposable culture takes practise, but is the only way we can all halt the climate crisis.
4. Gradually switch to environmentally friendly products
Changing your buying habits and the products that you invest in, is a gradual process, so don’t expect to have all eco-friendly products overnight. Becoming a more conscious consumer takes some effort and patience. Be gentle with yourself, nobody is perfect. Start to become a more conscious consumer and overtime you will start to see the results.
5. Avoid buying products wrapped in plastic
Sounds simple, but this can be really tough at times. If you haven’t had time to go to the local grocery or food market and have to visit a chain supermarket, sometimes plastic is unavoidable. Thankfully it does seem that some high-street chains are being proactive and changing their ways (hello M&S offering paper bags for loose veg) It is always best practice to avoid plastic packaging where possible, that way you don’t have to worry about it ending up in the Ocean or polluting the planet for the rest of eternity.
6. Make your home more energy efficient
There are lots of small changes you can make to create a more energy efficient home. Switch your thin curtains for thicker ones for better insulation. Be conscious with how often and how hot you do your laundry and only wash loads once. Dry clothes in fresh air, when possible. Wash clothes on shorter, colder wash, unplug unused electrical items.
7. Buy secondhand or vintage furniture
You’ve probably heard about VOCs? If not, here goes: In short VOCs or volatile organic compounds are chemical gasses emitted from new furniture, clothing and many other products used in households. These gasses are a result of the chemicals used during the manufacturing process. They are thought to cause irritation and allergic reactions in humans, and have also been associated with more severe health conditions. Opting for secondhand, sustainably handmade, custom or vintage furniture is the best way to avoid these gasses and create a healthier home for your family and also better for the planet.
8. Introduce houseplants to your home
As I mentioned in my previous post about houseplants. NASA revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins within 24 hours! Not only do houseplants look fabulous, they are also amazing for improving air quality. No reason no to get planting!
9. Grow edibles in your garden, windowsills or balcony
If you’re following @thefabuloustimes over on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that I’ve gone wild planting seeds on every windowsill in our home. Growing your own edibles is incredibly rewarding and means cutting down on the food you have to buy. Often the food that you buy in the supermarket has travelled half way across the globe before reaching your fridge, so growing your own will reduce these carbon emissions. This leads me nicely onto my next point…
10. Shop locally
Shopping locally can not only be beneficial to your local economy, but also help to reduce the often unnecessary air miles involved in the food that we eat. You will find that your local grocery or food market stock produce that is grown much closer to home, so is a more environmentally friendly option- plus you usually get a smiling face at the counter, instead of a machine that invariably doesn’t work! Also, you might find it easier to buy loose fruit and veg or grains that you can buy per weight- meaning zero -waste.
11. Switch to using natural chemical-free cleaning products
My first realisation of how bad cleaning products are for the environment was when I read the reverse side of a Fairy Liquid bottle. On the front is a little baby and we all know the jingle “mild green fairy liquid” then on the back are the words ‘Harmful to aquatic life with lasting effects’. Imagine that we are using that stuff and it’s getting onto our hands, through our skin and into our blood stream, not to mention where it ends up once it’s down the drain and the damage it could cause. No thanks. Opting for more natural cleaning chemical-free products is the way forwards. The Ethical Superstore have great alternatives.
12. Choose recycled products over new
Going back to the point of purchasing secondhand products, you should also choose recycled products over new. Admittedly recycled products do use valuable resources to be made, however generally it is far less damaging to the environment than producing new products. Opt for recycled toilet roll, kitchen towel and recycled versions of any of the usual products that you consume as a household.
13. Recycle glass, paper, plastic
Still on the topic of recycling, you need to be vigilant about recycling the glass, paper and plastic products that you are consuming. Ideally cut out as many things that require recycling as possible, but for those unavoidable bits, be sure to separate them and recycle.
For large amounts of household waste, opt for a nationwide skip hire company such as AnyJunk, they will remove bulky waste and rubbish. All the waste will be collected and taken to licensed recycling facilities and on average 96% is diverted from ending up in a landfill.
14. Compost food waste
When it comes to waste, for things like paper, cardboard, and food scraps, you can compost them yourself or provide them for a local farmer. Having a compost is an eco-friendly way to dispose of food waste and eventually create your own compost to use for growing your edibles!
15. Consume less, buy consciously
Think about the whole lifecycle of the products that you are investing your hard-earned money in. What impact does it have on the people who made it? how did it get to the supermarket shelf? what is it packaged in? what will happen after you’ve finished using it? could your money be spent in a more mindful way, a way that would benefit your health, local community and the planet?
Lastly, remember that nobody is perfect. It’s not a competition to be the best eco-warrior that ever lived. If we all make small changes to create our own eco-friendly home and begin to think more consciously about the daily habits we have as consumers, ultimately the bigger the impact we have. We are all in this together.