This blog is from guest blogger Antonia Ludden, the founder of the UK home interior and lifestyle blog #tidylife. You can visit her site for the latest home inspiration and lifestyle tips here.
Doing your bit for the environment doesn’t necessarily mean overhauling your life. More often than not, all it requires is a few minor lifestyle changes. It’s easier to implement a few things here and there, rather than campaigning for drastic measures to be made as soon as possible.
The key is to be mindful. Before long, the changes you do make will be part of your lifestyle and you’ll barely remember making them. The following advice will help you to make some simple changes so that you and your home can go green and help the environment.
There has been a 90% reduction in single-use plastic bags since the introduction of plastic bag tax in 2015, with more people investing in eco-friendly bags. Plastic bags take a long time to biodegrade and they can damage wildlife and litter the world’s oceans in the meantime – with over 100,000 marine animals being killed by plastic bags each year. Not only that, but manufacturing plastic bags emits a lot of pollution – causing even more damage to the environment.
Instead of using single-use plastic bags, invest in a few reusable bags and rely on them. They’re really cheap and much better for the environment. With so many 5p plastic bags ending up in our seas, you’ll be doing your bit to reduce that number. You’ll also free up some cupboard space now that you don’t have bags within bags cluttering up your kitchen cupboards.
Going paperless couldn’t be easier and it’s the perfect way to reduce your carbon footprint at home. Taking your documents online helps to cut down on deforestation and pollution. This means there will be more trees left to absorb carbon dioxide from the environment and slow down the effects of climate change.
Going paperless is a relatively small move, but it’s really beneficial to the environment. Any important paperwork will be preserved online, meaning that bills, invoices and receipts will never go missing.
It makes sense, really and it’s just another way you can go green at home.
Homemade cleaning products are much kinder to the environment and they’re surprisingly cheap to concoct. The majority of store-bought sprays are harmful to those with sensitive skin, too – so you can help the environment and keep your family safe at the same time.
Many store-bought cleaning products contain dozens of nasty chemicals which make their way into the air we breathe and even onto our skin. From carcinogenic substances to skin irritants – cleaning products can cause more problems than they’re worth. Equally, these chemicals can also have a detrimental effect on the environment. Choosing to make your own cleaning materials helps to reduce air and water pollution, minimising the impact of climate change.
This tried and tested glass cleaner recipe will keep your home looking sparkling clean:
● Two cups of water
● ½ cup of white vinegar or cider vinegar
● ¼ cup of 70% rubbing alcohol
Simply combine the ingredients together in a glass spray bottle and you’re ready to clean your home.
Plastic bottles are terrible for the environment. Firstly, they require huge quantities of fossil fuels to make and transport them. Secondly, single-use plastic bottles are difficult to recycle and they take a long time to degrade – this means that they end up lying in landfills and littering the world’s oceans and beaches.
Instead of buying bottled water, invest in a purifier that you can put in the fridge, which will allow you to fill a reusable bottle with fresh water every single day. Not only will this have a positive impact on the environment, but it will also save you money – a bottled-water habit is a lot more expensive than you might think!
When you’re doing a food shop, look for organic fruit and vegetables. The organic label means that they’ve not been sprayed with synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, so they’ve grown naturally. Studies have shown that chemical pesticides remain in the atmosphere, water and soil long after they have been sprayed – further polluting the environment.
However, the whole organic-farming industry is fantastic for the environment. Organic farming conserves water, reduces soil erosion, pollution and uses less energy.
To some, switching to all organic food might seem drastic, but taking small steps and adding just a few organic items to your grocery shop will have you well on your way to going green at home.
Building regulations recommend that all homes should have a 270-300mm layer of insulation in the loft space. Loft insulation can help to reduce energy bills by up to 35% and the low cost of natural or recycled insulation materials, including cork, wool and cellulose, makes insulating your home incredibly affordable.
Not only does loft insulation help you to save on your energy bills, but it also increases your home’s Energy Performance Certificate rating while reducing the amount of carbon produced by your home – helping to save the environment.
Draughts can let heat out at a rapid rate, meaning you’ll need to have your heating on a higher setting – resulting in a less eco-friendly home. They can occur in multiple places around the home, primarily under doors, through windows and down from your chimney.
By draught-proofing your home, not only will you be able to save money on your energy bill, but you’ll also cut down on your carbon emissions too. Some of the most widely used draught excluders include:
· Silicone fillers
· Foam, metal or plastic draught strips
· Brush draught excluders for doors
· Chimney draught excluders
To many of us, laundry seems like a never-ending chore – but it’s one that’s got to be done! The way you do your laundry can have a dramatic impact on how green your home is. However, there are a few changes you can make to your laundry routine to make your home a little more eco-friendly, including:
· Only washing a full load of laundry
· Investing in a front-loading washing machine
· Using eco-friendly detergents
· Washing on a low temperature
· Hanging your clothes to dry instead of using a dryer
These small changes will not only save you money on your energy bill, but they’ll also help you on your way to going green at home.
Appliance electricity accounts for 37% of the total energy used in households across the UK. Some of the biggest culprits include refrigerators, televisions, dryers and computers – but some appliances use energy unnecessarily when they’re left plugged in or on ‘standby’. For example, phone chargers still use energy when they’re left plugged in – even if the phone isn’t on charge.
The simple solution for this is to unplug any electrical devices when they’re not in use. A bit of mindfulness goes a long way, so always keep an eye out for devices on standby and you’ll make your home just that little bit greener.
If you’re undergoing a medium- to large- scale renovation or extension project in your property, it’s worth thinking about underfloor heating. It’s a fantastic alternative to traditional heating systems. Not only can radiators be unsightly, but they’re also not as energy efficient as water based underfloor heating systems.
Not only is underfloor heating great for the environment, but you’ll also save money on your energy bills, too. Water based underfloor heating can provide a yearly saving of up to 15% on your energy bills compared to traditional heating systems, as it runs at a far lower temperature than radiators do – without sacrificing that heat quality.
So, there you have it – by implementing these tips into your home you can make it the centre of green living.