We should all be doing our bit to make a difference to try and help the environment, and there are some really simple changes, and also slightly bigger ones, that we can make to move towards being more efficient and sustainable. Something you will notice about all the tips below is that you aren’t only saving the environment, but you are also saving yourself money, which can be reinvested into being greener and eventually you will be saving great amounts of money. So, have a read and see how these tips can really make a change.
Switch to a Green Energy Supplier
One great way to make your home more sustainable is to use a green energy supplier, who only ever offer energy from 100% clean sources. Often people have put off the idea of green energy as they believe it is much more expensive, however, the prices are very similar to regular suppliers. Also, be sure to look at smaller companies who also offer green energy, as many smaller green energy suppliers can compete with the prices offered by mainstream providers. A simple switch will make such a big difference with minimal effort, so go for it! Try using comparison sites to get the best deal.
Buy From the Farmer’s Market
Most options from a farmer’s market are cheaper than the organic options in a supermarket, and it will be much fresher than supermarket produce as well. The food will have traveled far less distance as it is mostly local, meaning the transport time is reduced, and therefore the carbon footprint is reduced. Produce from the farmer’s market will also use far more natural farming practices. The final benefit is that it will be supporting local farmers and you can meet and talk to the people who have grown it! I’m not sure you get quite the same experience in supermarket fruit and veg aisle… Even better, have a go at growing your own fruit and vegetables. This way you can ensure that the number of pesticides and harmful chemicals used in the ground are controlled. Having an allotment can also have great benefits for your health and mental wellbeing.
Be Mindful of Your Food
Whether or not you’ve made the leap to buying fresh produce from the farmers market, or even growing it yourself, it is really important to look at how you use your food to minimise waste. Wasted food is also wasted money. Yet most importantly, it contributes to the amount of CO2 being created in landfills. We’re only human, and sometimes you just forget about the packet of tomatoes in your fridge or the odd egg. Fear not, as there are a few simple steps to take to reduce your waste. Firstly, before doing the food shop for the week, plan seven breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for however many people necessary, to ensure you only buy the food you definitely need. If there is anything left over, put it into the compost bin (after checking what can be safely composted at home) and you won’t have caused any excess waste.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
It is hard to find a cleaning product that doesn’t come in a plastic bottle. As well as this, they are full of dangerous chemicals that do the job but can be very harmful. Where possible, try making your own products. Not only is it cheaper, but it helps reduce plastic and also is safer. For example, for a natural window cleaner, combine ¼ cup white vinegar, 1tbsp of cornstarch and 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle (which you can reuse over and over again) which will leave your windows gleaming. Or for a multi-purpose disinfectant, combine a ¼ cup of white vinegar, 1 tbsp baking soda, 1 liter of hot water and ½ a lemon, and this mixture can be used on kitchen surfaces, bedroom furniture, bathroom, and another general cleaning. It will help to freshen up and disinfect any room!
One-use kitchenware such as cling film, disposable takeaway boxes, freezer bags, plastic straws, and plastic bottles are all huge contributors to the plastic crisis the world is experiencing. There are perfectly good and affordable alternatives that will save you money in the long run and save the environment. Buying reusable food wrap sheets, Tupperware, freezer bags, metal straws, and reusable bottles and coffee cups will make such a huge difference. With things like reusable freezer bags and food wrap, ensure that you keep separate bags for things like meat that you only use for that specific purpose to prevent any cross-contamination.
Leaving on lights or appliances on standby can waste so much money and energy, as according to the ‘Powering the Nation’ study by Energy Saving Trust, when our household appliances are on standby mode, they use around 9-16% of the total electricity used in our homes. Although the cost of one appliance being left on overnight isn’t going to tip your finances over the edge, when it builds and builds over a period of a year with all the other appliances, it will make a difference. Money aside, the impact it can have on the environment is more detrimental than financial factors. So even if you aren’t fussed about the money you’re losing, you should be bothered about the effect on the environment.
It may seem obvious, but ensuring that you don’t use more utilities than necessary is important. Rely on natural light as much as possible, ensure you fill the washing machine or dishwasher before using it, use your washing line instead of a tumble dryer where possible, and you could even install low-flow showerheads to save on water. Try to reduce the temperature of your home during the winter, and also only use aircon (if you have it) when necessary. Your body will slowly adjust and eventually, it will seem normal, and if not, try putting a jumper on before turning the heating back up!