When people talk about being eco-friendly it’s a broad subject that includes; reducing your carbon footprint, acting in more sustainable ways and having a general awareness of your effects on the earth.
Being more eco-friendly and saving on energy can be good for both your bank balance and the environment. The idea of being more eco-friendly not only helps the planet, it can improve your quality of life. From what we choose to eat to what products we buy, there’s a lot we can do to reduce our impacts on the natural world.
The following ideas can help to make your home more eco-friendly, sustainable and energy-saving. If everyone makes small changes it can go a long way in helping to preserve our collective habitat. Continue to learn about How to be More Eco-Friendly at Home: 12 Ideas
1. Eat local
Eating local produce means that you will be supporting local businesses and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. Local produce requires less gas and energy for transportation and you’ll usually find its better quality. Transporting food long distances takes a major toll on the environment with lots of energy consumed by trucks, ships, trains and cold storage. Buying locally also means you’ll be helping to create a healthy, self-sustaining, local community.
2. Home cook
Cooking at home is healthier and costs less than ordering-in or eating out. Restaurants, takeaways and deliveries usually involve transportation and more energy consumption. If you make more home-cooked meals you will be improving your eating habits and saving electricity. Kitchen appliances use a lot of power so a good idea is to try batch cooking and freezing food. By doing this you’ll reduce your overall use of electricity and gas and save your time and energy.
3. Use up what you have
Using up your household products before buying new is a good way to limit waste and consumption of products. If you buy multiple of the same item you’re more likely to end up discarding bottles and containers that still have product inside. If you only buy what you need, when you need it you’re more likely to use all of the product and save on un-necessary waste. Try standing bottles upside down and cutting open tubes to find another few days worth of product.
4. Unplug devices
Electrical devices use low levels of electricity even when they are not turned on. Phone chargers, music systems, televisions, hair-dryers, kettles and microwaves are a few examples of items that consume electricity when they are off but still plugged into the main electricity source. It’s best if you can unplug any devices that are not in use and switch off the power at your plug socket where possible. This will save you money too.
5. Ecosia search
Ecosia is an internet search engine. The organisation plant a tree for every 45 internet searches that you make. Their searches are powered by Google so you will receive the same results as if you were ‘Googling’. But with Ecosia your searches help the planet and reduce greenhouse gases. You can download their internet browser extension, or app, for free and can see how many trees have been planted based on your internet searches. Visit www.ecosia.org for more information or search Ecosia in the App Store or Google Play.
6. Turn out lights
Turning out lights in rooms that are not in use is good for your electricity bills and saves energy consumption. Turning off unnecessary lights wherever possible is an easy and quick way to make a difference. Lights can also be changed to be more eco-friendly. Changing your bulbs to LED could help to reduce energy use, as can the installation of ‘dimmer’ switches. With a dimmer switch you can control the level of lights in the room so you’re only using what you need.
Recycling is the process of changing waste materials into new items. Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy and helps to cut landfill waste and climate-changing carbon emissions. If you’re provided with recycling from your local authority you should definitely utilise it. There are also many recycling centres where you can take your waste like plastic, glass, metal, cardboard and paper. Some recycling centres offer money in exchange for your waste. You can also recycle at home by saving jars and containers for storing food.
8. Fill washing machines
Washing machines use a lot of electricity and water. It’s best if you can limit how much you use your washing machine and always try to make a full load with as many items as possible. Hot washes use the most energy, so if your clothes or linen are not too dirty you will save power and money if you use lower temperatures like a 30 degree wash. Letting clothes dry naturally is always best as tumble-dryers also use a great deal of electricity.
9. Plastic free alternatives
Single-use plastics are bad for the environment and pollute the sea. Reusable straws, coffee cups, storage bags and lunch boxes are some alternatives to single-use plastics. Natural based sponges are an alternative to polyester and nylon dish cloths. Reusable beeswax strips are a plastic-wrap alternative and bamboo toothbrushes contain less plastic than standard disposable toothbrushes. There’s also reusable cotton shopping tote bags, refillable water bottles and compostable or biodegradable plastics. Swapping to items that have less plastic packaging is also good, for example soap has less packaging than shower gel.
10. Consume less
We live in a world where we are practically programmed to consume; food, clothing, home-ware, toiletries, toys, gadgets and technology are all things that we consume. Production of these products uses a lot of power and ultimately many of them, and their packaging, end up in landfill sites. If you reduce your overall product consumption you’ll spend less money. Research suggests that when people clear out their clutter and cut-down on consumption of products they’re often happier with simplified surroundings and homes.
11. Conserve water
Saving on water consumption is a good way to be more eco-conscious. Water companies use a massive amount of energy to treat and pump water into homes. There are several ways to save on your water consumption: showering is more eco-friendly than bathing, filling your sink for washing dishes is better than leaving the tap running. Boiling only what you need in kettles saves both water and your electricity. If you use watering cans, instead of hose-pipes, for the garden and car washing you’ll save more water.
12. Energy efficient transport
We all rely on transport in our daily lives, but there are eco-friendly options. You don’t necessarily have to own an electric or hybrid vehicle in order to save energy. Some gas powered cars can be very fuel efficient. Check how many miles per gallon of fuel a car will achieve when your are researching models, this information is usually easily accessible. Other eco friendly transport options include car-sharing, public buses and trains or bicycles.
Being more eco-friendly is not about dramatic changes. If we all adopt some small, good habits it can make a big difference. When huge corporations burn through resources, it can be difficult to feel like we can individually have an effect. But there are more than 7 billion people on the planet and if everyone can act positively in their own way at home it will contribute towards the conservation of our world. Do you have any eco-friendly ideas for the home? Share them in the comments