How To Make Your New Home Eco Friendly
New home, new you! Moving house is the perfect time change habits to help the fight against climate change and make your home eco friendly. Here are some simple tips anyone can try.
Wash Full Loads
Dishwashers and washing machines are more efficient with a full load, so rather than use them half full, wait until you can fill it. Dishwashers can be green, they use less water than washing up by hand and less power to heat the water.
Don’t Overfill Your Kettle
Is your kettle still half full after you’ve poured your drinks? When you consider how many times you boil your kettle a week, only filling it with the amount you use could make a big difference in both electricity and water usage.
Air Dry Clothes
Mother nature is the best dryer you can use. Clothes smell fresher and zero carbon footprint.
Ditch The Sponge
Most sponges and scouring pads are made from non-renewable sources and harmful chemicals. They’re also mostly shipped in from abroad. Reusable (washable) clothes or alternatives made using natural fibres are available.
Strawberries in December were once unheard of, but today seasonal fruits are available all year round. And while the price is great, the cost to the environment is not so good. Sticking to seasonal, home-grown produce will curb the carbon.
Buying British produce such as meat, veg and fruit can reduce the airmiles and carbon footprint of your grub.
Get Milk Delivered
Ah the good old days, when milk came in reusable bottles, delivered by electric, straight to your door. Stepping back in time and swapping out plastic bottles for reusable glass could reduce plastic waste in the UK by 10’s of tons per year.
Switch Off, Not Standby
You wouldn’t leave your car running overnight, so why leave electricity on? On average, UK households spend between £50 – £80 a year to keep appliances on standby. Turning TVs, stereos, DVD players, etc, off at the plug can reduce bills and carbon emissions. If you can’t reach the socket, consider changing to a power extension cord with an on/off switch.
Stop Charging Your Phone
Are you guilty of automatically charging your phone every night whether it needs it or not? It will reduce the battery’s life and also increase your energy bill. Go on, be daring, let your phone charge last two days!
Food packaging is one of the biggest causes of plastic waste in our homes. Rather than pre-packaged supermarket fruit and veg, opt for loose vegetables or head to your local greengrocer, farm shop or sign up to a veg box scheme. You should also consider airmiles, by only buying locally grown produce, you’ll dramatically reduce the airmiles your spuds will have racked up.
Our household cleaning products contain a huge amount of chemicals, most of which we wash or flush into our rivers and coasts. Greener alternatives are out there, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, glass cleaner, surface spray… You can go ‘old school’, the internet is full of videos showing how make your own cleaning products using chemical free ingredients.
Many beauty products can also be greener, facial wipes, cleanser, toner, toothpaste shampoo, handwash, shower gel… It’s not just the chemicals in the products, consider the packaging, think how many plastic shower gel bottles and toothpaste tubes do you throw away each year alone! There are chemical free grooming alternatives on the market that come in biodegradable packaging.
Yep, fashion is going out of fashion. The new trend isn’t to buy new, if you really want to be fashionable, keep wearing your old clothes rather than throwing away and replacing perfectly wearable items. It’s not just the landfill, the carbon footprint involved in making and transporting new clothes is huge!
Don’t Throw, Donate
If you have finished with an item of clothing and there’s still wear in it, consider donating it or selling it online to give it a second life.
Switch To Green Energy
There are energy providers that only use electricity sourced from sustainable suppliers (wind, solar, hydro, etc). As consumers we can create demand and force the major energy giants to see the demand for fossil fuel is lessening.
Stop Burning Logs
Whatever fuel you use, wood burners create carbon dioxide. Burning wood creates more CO2 than oil, gas or coal.
Older appliances tend to be less efficient, meaning great fuel consumption and greater fuel costs.
Be More Veggie
With meat eaters in the UK consuming almost double the world average, that does increase the carbon footprint of our food. Meat production eats up far more fossil fuels and produces more carbon than alternative diets. Switching to a meat-free menu even just twice a week could make a huge reduction in our national carbon output.
Poor insulation is one of the greatest cause of heat loss in our home. Making your home more energy efficient is good for the environment and your home.
If you do have areas of single glazing, switching to double glazing (even secondary glazing) can reduce heat loss and improve your home’s green credentials.
Energy efficient bubs have come a long way. They’re cheaper to run, last longer and use a fraction of the energy to their traditional counterparts. Count how many bulbs in your home aren’t low energy and consider the difference.
Just because your furniture is tied, doesn’t mean it should be put out to pasture, with a bit of inspiration your old table/chair/shelves could be born again with a DIY makeover.
Don’t Throw, Recycle
If you don’t have the time or skills to upcycle, there is probably someone else who can, so rather than take it to landfill, look for an upcycle centre that takes old furniture, or list it online (you could even make a few pennies) for someone to take it away and give it a new life.
Placing something suitable in the cistern can reduce the amount of water used in each flush.
If redoing a bathroom, consider dual flush toilets and reduced flow shower heads to save water consumption.
Spending just one minute less in the show each day could reduce energy consumption and household bills by up to £15 per year.
Grow Your Own
Growing your own vegetables and herbs isn’t just fun and rewarding, it’s better for the environment and ultimately tastes much better!
Visit Refill Shops
Refill shops are cropping up everywhere. Allowing you to use zero packaging, refill shops offer sustainably sourced, environmentally friendly, organic alternatives to many staples and treats. You’ll also often find other eco-alternative on offer such as cleaning supplies and beauty products.
If you can’t find a refill shop, buy in bulk, larger containers mean reduced waste and lower cost.
Water butts collect rainwater to use on your garden. Simply adding drainpipes to sheds, garages and outbuildings and redirecting that water can make your garden even greener.
Use Eco Friendly Toilet Roll
The average, four-person household uses 1.1 toilet rolls per day. It’s a great place to start making green changes as there are some great, skin-friendly alternatives now on the market.
Buy A House Plant
Plants like bromeliad remove over 80% of nasties from the air. And they look good. Plus people with plants in their home are less likely to suffer from thigs like anxiety and depression.
Stop Buying Paper Towels
Would your world end if there were no more paper towels? No, of course not, in fact this is a really easy switch that will have a positive environmental impact.
Say Goodbye to Greetings Cards
The UK sends over 800,000,000 greeting cards every year! The environmental impact from the production, waste and transportation of cards to our homes, has lead to more and more families agreeing a greetings card embargo.
Take Food/Drinks To Work
Invariably food and drinks we take to work, compared with convenience food such as prepacked sandwiches, salads, are healthier, less expensive and have a much lower carbon footprint. So you’ll feel better, look slimmer, save money and reduce carbon emissions.
Stop Using Sandwich Bags
There are natural and recyclable alternatives to sandwich bags and shrink wrap.
“I’m just going to (insert national DIY store here)…”, but what if your local shop could have what you want? Shopping local is good for those independent retailers and better than jumping in the car to visit one of the national chains.
Start Walking More
You could walk more in general, as well as those small shopping trips, walking to work, the school run, popping round to visit friends or relatives, how many trips is your car and reliance on fossil fuels a choice of convenience of necessity?
A major outlay, but the benefit can mean total energy self-sufficiency. Modern energy storage allows homeowners to keep excess electricity stored for later use. Alternatively, you can ‘sell’ your energy to the national grid.
Underfloor heating uses 15-40% less energy than local suppliers. It also frees up wall space that was once taken up with a metal grilled monster.
Switch To Eco Paints
Water based paints are far kinder to the environment both in their production and their removal/disposal. It’ll reduce the number of chemicals in your house, so less risk to anyone with breathing issues.
As consumers we do have the power to make a difference. Supermarkets monitor products and their customers purchasing on a weekly basis to ensure their shelves carry exactly what we’re going to buy. If for example, the entire country suddenly switched to only buying chemical free washing up liquid, the supermarkets would soon change their shelves and suppliers. Creating this kind of demand also helps lower the costs of the new, greener kids on the block. This would also make the big, chemical heavy brands take notice and change their ways.
It’s the same with many other big shops and brands, they do listen to their customers and want to give the consumer what they want. So don’t be afraid to make your new home eco friendly, it’s easier than you think, you can do little bits or make big changes, in the fight against climate change, every little helps.