Looking to go more green around the home? At home there are simple swaps we can make and habits we can adopt to drastically improve how much we affect the planet. We have tips and tricks to make your house eco friendly. From the kitchen to the bathroom and everything in between there are habits to introduce to make your home environmentally friendly.
How much was your latest energy bill?
At the end of winter it’s entirely possible that your energy bill was alarming to read. This isn’t ever a good time for the bank balance but as well as the obvious cost to you there’s the hidden cost of what overconsumption is doing to the planet.
Being aware of how much energy you use at home and taking steps to reduce overall energy usage not only will save you money but it will also reduce the size of your carbon footprint.
Small disclaimer! It’s worth mentioning that the concept of a carbon footprint was created by BP in order to put the responsibility for climate change onto the customer. In this case we’re not using the term to guilt trip people into using less we are using it to illustrate the impact we all have as consumers. While we should be conscious of our individual effect on the environment, the best way to make change is as always to lobby companies and government representatives to put the pressure exactly where it needs to be.
So while these are ways to reduce energy usage in the home, which will hopefully save you money and energy, please do not feel guilty if you can’t do these things. The overwhelming responsibility for climate change lies with corporations and governments. For now all we can do is adjust our habits and vote both physically and financially.
Now that’s out of the way here are some things to consider!
How old is your boiler?
This is not an easy or cheap fix, and we’re well aware that nobody will ever change their boiler for fun. However, if you are in the process of replacing your boiler, we encourage you to choose the most energy efficient one you can afford.
Boilers typically account for 55% of a household’s energy bill so while this is an expensive fix, it can reduce the amount of energy you’re using overtime which makes it worth the effort.
When did you last switch your energy provider?
We’re always bombarded with adverts about switching energy providers to save money, and this is a good way to save overall. If you can’t make changes to lifestyle to reduce your energy consumption we recommend switching to a provider that’s committed to generating green energy.
This won’t stop the older companies continuing to produce energy the old fashioned way but it sends a strong message that the better these green energy companies do the more demand there is for this service. Ultimately that’s how big corporations start to listen, when an outsider starts to take their profit share they will adjust their methods to match in an attempt to get previous customers back.
If you aren’t sure where to start, the usual price comparison websites now have the option to search for a new supplier that specifically uses green energy.
The old methods will still work!
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the good old fashioned ways of saving energy still apply.
Switch off lights when you’re done in the room, those at home Blackpool Illuminations will run up your energy bill and cost you in the long run. If you do want to light up your house, make the effort to switch to low energy bulbs that will cut your energy use and last far longer than traditional bulbs.
Unplug devices when you aren’t using them, especially things like phones and tablets when you’re done charging them. Even when they are done charging the battery they will still draw energy and contribute to your total usage. Why not plug your phone in to charge a while before you’re planning to go to bed? Then you can unplug it before you go to sleep and there’s no way for it to take up more energy than it needs.
If your appliances have an eco-mode, use it! Dishwashers and washing machines typically have this mode and are designed to make the machine more efficient. If you’re replacing any appliances choose one with the highest rating you can afford, it will pay off long term.
There are so many little things that you can do around the home to save you energy and ultimately money. While big companies need to change, and we need to tell them to change every chance we get, we can still play a very small part and send an important message.
How many of us have shower gel in the bathroom right now? Probably the vast majority of people in the UK. We get it at Christmas, it’s in the supermarkets and you will have probably bought the minis to take on holiday. The question is, how many of us have stopped to think if this is the best option for the environment?
Take a good look at it next time you’re in the bathroom. What is the bottle made of? How long does it take you to use it? Is it cruelty free? Chances are we can all make better choices for our beauty products, but here’s why you should.
How much you will save by switching to bars of soap.
We started out with bar soap, introduced shower gel with it’s new range of fragrances but now the trend is to switch back to bar soap. By switching to bar soap you’ll be saving right from the beginning at the manufacturing step. Before the gel has even reached your shopping basket it’s already done a lot of damage. It takes 9 litres of water, 200ml of oil and 110 grams of CO2 to make that product and get it to you. By switching to bar soap you can start to reduce the impact on the environment every time you shower.
Bar soap is, hopefully, wrapped in paper instead of plastic which reduces the need to continually produce more plastic.Another benefit is you can ship more bars of soap at once than bottles because they take up less space and require less protective packaging, plus bars of soap can’t spill or burst during transit. With bars of soap now available in most major supermarkets, it’s easy to make the switch back.
One less thing to try and recycle.
The Guardian recently discovered that bathroom waste was most likely to end up in landfill. This could be due to lack of clear labelling, customers not associating bathroom waste with recycling in the same way as kitchen waste or customers thinking because you can’t clean the bottles, it can’t be recycled. One thing is clear, a lot more needs to be done to improve recycling in the bathroom.
You can make your life so much easier by switching from shower gel to bars of soap. No more bottles to cart down to the recycling, inevitably leaving water throughout the house because you can never get the bottle dry. No more trying to clean out that last bit of soap from the tub. Simply recycle the bar wrapper and you’re done, so much easier!
You’ll save money.
How do you use your shower gel? A tiny amount at a time or do you put plenty on your sponge so there’s lots of bubbles? The second one is way more fun and feels like you really get clean, but that’s the fastest way to waste the gel itself.
Going through the gel that fast means you have to buy more of it, far more often. That’s not the case when using a solid form of soap. The solid bars foam up just as much as their gel counterparts but use up less product to create that result. Not only do they leave you feeling squeaky clean they do it without draining your bank balance.
You can get way more fancy.
Shower gels come in a bottle, feature a few fragrances and boring colours. Why stick with this when there are so many more different bar soaps you can treat yourself to.
You can buy bars of soap with different textures, flowers added in to them or glitter if you choose. Try a bar of soap with a raised pattern on one side to really exfoliate with no extra effort.
The only option used to be lush, which still has some great bar soaps, but now there is a whole internet to explore. If you want to lose some time, we recommend exploring Etsy where there is every type of soap you could ever want. From soap for sensitive skin, vegan, palm oil free and bulk orders you’ll never want to go back to the £1 shower gel again.
The average family wastes £700 of food each year. That is 4.5m tonnes of food that gets thrown away and wasted. With food poverty still very much an issue in the UK it’s important that we don’t waste the food we have available. One of the biggest culprits for being wasted is fresh fruit and vegetables.
How often have you stocked up on the greens with the intention of using them but then never getting around to cooking. Before you know it they’ve gone slimy or furry and you have to part with them. Besides buying only what you need here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t waste your vegetables.
Store them properly
Half the battle of keeping vegetables fresh is storing correctly. Take the time to properly look up each veg you regularly buy and the proper way to store them. A starting point when it comes to storage iis to keep fruits and vegetables separate, fruits can cause veg to turn faster. Remember that no matter how much it seems to make sense not everything needs to be stored in the fridge a lot of veg prefer to be kept in a cool dark place.
Double check which containers you should keep vegetables in as well. While a lot of veg still comes in plastic, and we recommend buying loose veg to avoid this, it doesn’t mean that’s what it should be stored in. For example, mushrooms come in those awful plastic tubs and wrapped in cling film, this will cause them to go slimy. The way to store mushrooms is to take them out and keep them in a paper bag, this prevents them going slimy and if you buy them loose you can cut all the plastic out of buying mushrooms.
Cook them before they rot
It sounds simple, but use up the veg before it goes bad and don’t throw them away immediately. Yes some of your celery might not be perfect for a salad anymore but you can still add it to a sauce or a soup. This is even a good way to sneak extra veg into your portions as well as cutting down on waste.
If you’re noticing that a lot of your vegetables have nearly turned you can bulk cook a rustic vegetable soup, then you have cheap and healthy lunches for the week with no waste. Our tip is to pick or make a good quality vegetable stock as a base and experiment with seasons depending on what veg you’re adding. You don’t need a recipe to make a good soup, just get creative!
Compost is the last resort
If your vegetables have truly gone past the point of cooking, it’s time to get the compost out. Making your own compost is simple and with houseplants being the latest interior trend your new green family members will thank you.
Depending on your space there are a range of compost kits available to buy and countless guides on the internet. We like this guide from The Independent that includes troubleshooting what’s wrong with your compost and the best ways to set up your composting space.
Ultimately we need to tackle food waste in order to live sustainably, and the place to make a big difference with this is the kitchen. By starting to follow these small eco habits now they’ll become second nature and these small changes will add up to make a big difference over the years.