We all want to do our bit for the planet. But sometimes taking part in sustainable solutions can seem like a daunting task. With many different voices and opinions, it’s easy to start to feel lost and unsure of what we can actually contribute. The first step? Take the pressure off! Understand that even the smallest of changes to the routines we are used to can actually make a difference. And there are many simple switches that we can make in the comfort of our own home that will benefit the future of our environment. Read on for our handy list of simple ways that you can save the plant at home.
It’s the biggest buzz word when it comes to living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Single use plastic has a devastating effect on our oceans and so ditching this material that we have grown so accustomed to is now as important as ever. A reusable water bottle is the easiest place to start. Fill it up on your way out of the door and there’s no need to purchase a plastic bottle while you're out and about. If you do run low water, there are plenty of cafes, services stations and public water points where you’ll be able to give it a refill.
Think about other little plastic swaps you can make within your home. Trade cling film for beeswax wraps that can be used again and again. When cleaning your teeth, a bamboo toothbrush will do the exact same job as a plastic one and won’t harm the environment when you discard it. For other ideas on how to tackle single use plastics, head over to our earlier Journal entry about this.
If it ain't broke, don’t fix it. And if it is? Fix it! In the fast pace of modern life, new things are often so readily available without much of a wait time. When something we own needs mending, it can be so easy to throw it away and buy a new one. But this throw-away culture can have a detrimental effect on waste build up in landfills. Next time you find hole that needs patching or a tool that needs its battery changing, get out the sewing kit or tool box and get stuck into a bit of DIY. Not only will you be improving your own skills, you'll save the planet too.
Although many supermarkets are starting to make changes for the environment - ditching plastic veg bags, encouraging reusable shopping bags - there is still so much that needs to be done. Thankfully, zero waste supermarkets are starting to pop up all over the country. These grocery alternatives run a ‘bring your own container’ system - you simply fill up what you need in your own container - from pasta and flour to spices and even oil - weigh it, and pay for only what you weigh. This provides a fantastic opportunity to ditch unnecessary packing that is so present in our usual food shops.
Reducing food related waste doesn’t just involve the packaging. The UK alone produces 14 million tonnes of food waste per year - the highest in Europe! But this is a simple problem to tackle. Start by buying only what you need - planning out your weekly meals will help you do this. Use up any leftovers and start getting creative with what you have left in the fridge - you might even come up with your new favourite recipe! For any excess food that you do end up with, donating it to your local food bank can be a great way to help out in your community and cut down on your waste.
It’s as simple as turning the tap off whilst you brush your teeth, or sacrificing a daydream in your evening shower. Little water savings, although they may not seem like much, can actually have a big, positive impact. The simple act of turning off the tap whilst brushing your teeth can save a massive 12 litres of water. And don’t forget this when you’re cleaning your dirty dishes either - a fully loaded dishwasher can actually be more water efficient than washing by hand, even if you use a bowl.
When you do need to invest in new furniture or homewares, think about choosing an eco-conscious brand. When you do this, you will automatically be choosing to shop sustainably thanks to the values and processes they will already have in place. Purchasing recycled and reclaimed furniture will not only prolong its lifespan, but will add plenty of character to your home too. When you decide to part ways with any furniture you are no longer in need of, think about donating it or recycling it before you head to the dump.
This is the simplest contribution you can make that only involves only a finger! Get into the habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room that you don’t plan on returning to. Also, next time you need to change a lightbulb, choose an energy efficient option like CFLs or LEDs - these will not only save energy, but will be cost effective too.
For many of us, a coffee on the go is a habit we are not willing to part with. But instead of always accepting a disposable cup (99% of which contain polyurethane plastic, making them non-recyclable) choose to use a Reusable Coffee Cup that is both practical and stylish! Even with a takeaway lunch order, ask to omit the plastic cutlery and have your own, stainless steel or bamboo, handy to grab within your bag. And say no to disposable straws too - even if you’re being offered a paper one, using your own reusable straw will always be a better option than any single use waste.
These are just a few of the small changes that we can make within our own homes. When we do get out and about, there are still some really simple ways that we can make a difference. Choose to walk or hop on your bike instead of using your car if you’re travelling close to home. Often see rubbish left on the street? Make the small effort to put it in the bin, even if it wasn’t left by you.
If the whole population made just one small change to their daily routines, imagine how big of a difference it would have on the world. So, start small, start simple and eventually, our world will be a much greener, safer and happier place to live.
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