Everyone seems to have finally realised the urgent need for us to be more planet friendly. Many of us want to use less plastic, to save energy and to tread more lightly on the earth. However, sometimes it seems so hard to know where to start. The task seems so huge we just choose to dig our heads in the sand and do nothing. I think that the best place to start is at home and the bonus is that you can save money in the process. There are plenty of easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly and here are some of them.
Easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly
#1 Get thick curtains
Thick curtains can make a huge difference to the temperature of a room. We have a back room with three full length doors and a small window. It was freezing until we hung some heavy curtains. They work even better with thermal linings.
You can often pick up curtains in the charity shops. Indeed, I found a lovely pair just a month ago for my daughter’s university bedroom, which is so cold and draughty.
#2 Draught excluders
Draught excluders are another small, cheap measure that can help keep the heat in your home. Fit them around your doors and over your letter box to help keep the draughts out and the heat in.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. But it’s not just the loft that should be insulated. You can fill your home’s wall cavities and insulate your water tank too. Find out more here.
#4 Save water
There are loads of ways to conserve water that will save you money as well as make your home more eco-friendly. Shower rather than take a bath – or share your bath water. Fitting a low flow shower head can dramatically reduce your water consumption. Use your cold bath or shower water on your garden. Collect rainwater in water butts so you don’t have to use the hose.
#5 Buy second hand
We buy as many items as we can second hand and the benefits stretch further than our bank balance. Buying second hand stops things going to landfill and extends their life, saving the energy and resources that would go into producing, packing and transporting new items.
#6 Avoid/repurpose plastic where you can
Use old newspaper to line bins and your food waste caddy. (This doesn’t really work with your main kitchen bin, so try to buy bags made from recycled plastic). If you can’t buy produce loose – and many of us struggle with this – reuse the plastic bags your fruit and vegetables come in.
Reuse plastic containers with lids to store food in. For example, ice cream or yogurt containers. Buy butter in paper rather than in plastic though!
#7 Switch to reusables
Switch to reusables and ditch disposable items whenever possible. Examples would be a reusable microfibre cloth instead of cotton wool to remove makeup, cloth nappies, a stainless steel safety razor for shaving, washable dishcloths, etc.
#8 Buy energy efficient appliances
When you do need to buy a new item, check its energy rating and buy the most energy efficient you can afford. It will pay for itself with the money you save running it!
We have two small containers in our kitchen. One for cooked leftover food and the other for raw fruit and vegetable scraps and peelings. The former goes to the kerbside collection and the latter onto our compost heap in the garden. There is a lot of detailed information in this guest post about composting from Emma Metson.
#10 Train your family
Educate your family on how to make your home more eco-friendly. Make sure they turn off the TV and lights behind them, use the low flush on the look for a number one and only put the washing machine or dishwasher on when full. Encourage them to reuse instead of recycling but to recycle rather than throw in the bin if they can’t reuse.
There are so many ways to make your home more eco-friendly without breaking the bank. What are your top tips?