When we think about creating a more eco-friendly home our first thoughts often go to radical changes like hand-washing your clothes and banning the use of toilet paper but is actually much easier to be environmentally conscious in our home than you would expect.
Being green also often has the added benefit of being the more frugal option, saving water and turning the heat down will reduce your monthly bills as well as your carbon footprint.
Here is a collection of surprisingly easy ways you can make your home more eco-friendly in 2021.
Beware of wasted heat
Heating our houses is one of the biggest ways we use energy, but we waste huge amounts of energy. In the UK alone 54% of the energy produced is wasted, equivalent to more than half the annual electricity bill.
In the winter months, and especially as the country has been huddled inside working from home, we leave our heating on longer than we need to. The best way to combat this is by installing a smart meter. These meters can be programmed to only turn on at specific times of day, or when the temperature drops below a certain level. They can also be set on a timer – switching on to warm your house just before you arrive home, or turn off an hour before you leave. And remember, before you turn the heating on next time, ask yourself whether you can throw on a jumper or a pair of fluffy socks first instead.
Another way your home loses heat is through inadequate insulation. Consider investing in double or triple glazing, draught excluders and higher quality insulation.
Think about your water use
There is often a preconception when discussing reducing water use that you have to forgo showering for a week or stop washing your hair, but this isn’t the case. We live in a world with great inventions, such as a low-flow showerhead, which can reduce your water consumption by up to 60%.
You can also make small changes to your routines such as turning off the tap when you brush your teeth, using a washing-up bowl rather than running the tap and choosing showers over baths.
Swap out your cleaning products
When we think about eco-friendly we often think of the more obvious factors such as waste, but using harmful chemicals to clean has a dreadful effect on the environment, causing both water and air pollution.
Our cleaning products contain thousands of chemicals which may have not been effectively tested for long-term effects. They pollute our streams and rivers, some not breaking down at all and persisting in our environment. These chemicals make their way into our food chain and then into our bellies.
Thankfully, you don’t need to use these chemical-filled cleaning products and there are many eco alternatives on the market, including the popular eco egg for laundry or specific cleaning products such as Clean Living or Elmkind, which can be found on GoEthical’s app. For many day-to-day cleaning tasks, you can also create your own cleaning products from ingredients such as vinegar, citrus, and bicarbonate of soda.
Reduce your meat consumption
The meat and dairy industries are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions within the agricultural sector. They occur from every stage of production, from breeding and feeding the livestock to the processing and packaging of the meats. Farming releases two incredibly powerful greenhouse gases, methane from livestock and nitrous oxide from nitrogen fertilizers.
As the majority of these emissions are a result of the production and preparation of meat and dairy, eating less meat or switching to a vegan diet will produce a positive impact in the reduction of greenhouse emissions. You don’t have to give up eating meat entirely, but reducing your intake can have a big impact.
January is the month of Veganuary, a national event where thousands of people sign up to reduce their animal product consumption, they provide great recipes, tips, advice, and rally for restaurants to provide more meatless options. This is a great challenge to participate in if you want to reduce your carbon footprint.
Check out your bathroom cabinet
A study had shown that 50% of our bathroom products end up in landfill, with the average Brit using over 52,000 bathroom products in their lifetime. The first step is checking if you’re disposing of your empty items properly, so many more items can be recycled then we may think, from your shampoo bottles to your perfumes.
Although it is great to properly dispose of the products you already have stacked up in your cabinet, it’s very important to make sure that your next purchase is more eco-friendly.
It is not only the plastic bottles that harm our environment, it’s the chemicals that fill them too. The manufacturing process for these chemical-based products means those very chemicals leak into our oceans, having a toxic effect on marine life.
Products such as body washes, shampoos, and conditioners contain an array of sulfates, a cleaning agent that is manufactured from petroleum, a big source of greenhouse gas, the main cause of climate change. There is an array of eco-friendly products from toothpaste, shampoo’s, soaps, bath & shower products that all provide an alternative, helping you create an eco-friendly home.
Whether you implement every bit of advice in this article or choose a handful of changes as your new year’s resolution, remember every step helps.
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