There are many fantastic reasons why creating a sustainable home for you and your family is beneficial. Of course, one of the most obvious reasons is that you are doing more good for the planet (and who doesn’t love that)! But also, you can reduce your energy and water bills, creating a more efficient home life. Not only are you saving money and creating a better environment for you and your family, but a healthier one for your community.
Here are 6 ways to create a sustainable home through a few simple switches.
1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Everybody has heard this saying, which our children are educated on in schools from a very young age. Reduce, reuse and recycle helps to save space in landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Did you know that when waste rots, it produces methane, one of the greenhouse gases contributing to climate change?
Here are a few ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reduce single-use plastic in your home
You can use reusable water bottles, coffee cups and Tupperware (preferably glass or bamboo), avoiding using plastic drinking straws, cotton buds and plastic containers.
Reduce your food waste
Approximately 10 million tonnes of food goes to waste in the UK every year. Instead of throwing away your food, you can make use of leftovers to create a new meal, recycle your food waste in compostable bins and use foods past their ‘best before’ dates.
Of course, with the last point, you need to make sure that food is still safe to eat, so it is always important to eat food within the deadline of a ‘use by’ date for safety reasons. However, a ‘best before’ date is more about the quality of the food. So before you throw it away, check the quality of your food. If it smells different or is growing mould, then recycle. Otherwise, let’s get cooking!
Converse and harvest your water
Collecting rainwater is a great way to reduce water consumption, especially with a garden. This water can be reused during a hot summer to water your plants and grass instead of using the water mains.
Another way to reduce your water is in the bathroom. Did you know that toilet flushing accounts for one-third of the water used in UK households daily? You can follow the old tale “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” to help reduce water usage. Another great way is to fill a bottle and plastic it into the cistern. This helps to reduce water usage per flush by up to three litres.
2. Support local businesses
The kitchen is a problem area for most homes, generating a vast amount of packaging waste. One way in which you can reduce this is by shopping locally. This can be done at local grocery shops, farmer’s markets and eco-shops that offer refill stations. Farmer’s markets are a great way to cut back on cling-film-wrapped products and plastic trays, especially with fruit, vegetables and meat.
You can take a fabric tote bag to carry your shopping and reusable containers to fill up in the refill stations. Most refill stations offer a variety of non-packaged goods like food, toiletries, beauty products (such as soap, shampoo and conditioner) and cleaning products. Sometimes these can be more expensive than buying from a big supermarket chain. However, you can also make minor changes within the home to conserve your materials.
For example, using small proportions for shampoo and conditioner when showering. Another way is using a half-and-half mixture of laundry detergent and water with each wash load to reduce the amount of detergent used.
3. Grow your own fruit and vegetables
You can take ‘living off the land’ into your own hands. Whether in a house or an apartment, you can quite easily cut down on shopping at the supermarket by growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Not only is it a great way to create a sustainable home, but it also creates a more green environment for you and your family, making it an activity that the whole family can join in with. Your children can learn how to grow their own food and could even find a new hobby to love!
Here are some examples of produce that you can grow in your own home:
- Onions and garlic
- Chillies and peppers
…and much more!
This is a fantastic way to become more sustainable whilst saving money and creating a lovely green space in your kitchen and garden.
4. Change the way you wash your clothes
You may be surprised to learn this, but our clothes and linen items contain plastic (crazy, right?). These microplastics in our clothes are called microfibres, in which synthetic clothes contribute to around 35% of the primary microplastics released into our oceans.
This is something to be concerned about, especially with the growing plastic pollution and global warming crisis. You can create a sustainable home with your washing in two ways.
Washing your clothes at a lower temperature (ideally 30⁰C) can result in fewer microfibres being shed from your clothing. Also, washing your clothes and linens at a lower temperature reduces the chances of your items becoming damaged, meaning they will last longer too!
Install a water filter to your washing machine
You can add a filter to your washing machine, capturing the microfibres released from your washload. For example, PlanetCare provides a microfibre filter scientifically proven to stop 90% of microfibres with every laundry wash.
5. Use energy-efficient products
With the recent energy price increase in the UK, now would be a perfect time to use energy-efficient products in your home to help save money and energy and create a sustainable environment.
One way is to switch out the use of incandescent light bulbs and halogen light bulbs to use LED light bulbs instead. These types of light bulbs are better when it comes to energy usage and usually have a longer lifespan.
Another way to use less energy within your home is through smart switches. Smart switches can feature programmable timers or motion sensors to help automatically turn off lights and appliances around your home when they are not in use, helping to cut down on electricity waste and save money!
You can install low-flow shower heads and faucets for your bathroom to reduce your water usage. The average shower in the UK lasts 8 minutes, meaning around 60 litres of water is used. If you don’t have an electric shower and require a heater to warm your water for your shower, this can cause issues with your water and heating bills. By fitting a low-flow shower head or faucet, you can reduce the volume of water used by half.
There are many ways to use energy-efficient products in your home, especially in the kitchen. For example, an air fryer uses less electricity than a regular oven, as they typically cook food faster. The best thing you can do when buying appliances for your kitchen is to look for an energy label, telling you how much energy the appliance uses and comparing this to similar appliances.
6. Buy eco-friendly products
Finally, buying sustainable home products is a great way to become more energy-efficient and eco-conscious without breaking the bank. On the plus side, eco-friendly products usually have more extended durability than your regular household items.
Finding non-toxic, biodegradable and plastic-free cleaning products is a great way to become more sustainable. Here are an example of a few companies for you to explore:
Reducing plastic waste in your bathroom whilst also looking after your teeth and gums is vital for a sustainable home and lifestyle. Here are a few dental care companies that you can check out:
There are roughly 3 billion disposable nappies thrown away each year in the UK, with around 200,000 tonnes of menstrual waste (including tampons, pads and applicators) generated annually in the UK. This causes massive amounts of waste in landfills, in which regular menstrual pads are made from 90% plastic. But this can change by switching to sustainable hygiene products. Here are a few companies that you can make the switch with:
It’s time to make the switch to a sustainable home
There you have it - a few simple ways in which you can start to create a sustainable home for you and your family without breaking the bank and making too many drastic lifestyle changes. By making these small changes, you are helping to make the world a better place by reducing your carbon footprint, teaching your children to become more sustainable and eco-conscious and supporting your local community.
Interested in finding out how you can become more sustainable in the bathroom and kitchen?
Check out our Bamboo Barter blog to discover more about an eco-friendly bathroom and kitchen by switching to our bamboo toothbrushes with plantable seeds.Bamboo Barter’s Goal to Sustainable Living: One Toothbrush at a Time