by Lea Emery on 12th November 2018
With the new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) saying that we only have 12 years to curb the catastrophic changes that climate change can bring, many of us are feeling the urge to do our part — and also feeling totally overwhelmed about where to begin. Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do at home to live in a more sustainable, greener way. So take a step back from the headlines and focus on how you can make a change. Here's where to start.
Use The One-In-One-Out Rule
We all have too much stuff. Just way, way too much stuff. One of the best ways to help the environment is to try to curb your consumerism or, to put it simply, buy less stuff. Try to think “one in, one out”. For everything you buy, you need to recycle or donate something. If you like a new jumper, that’s great! But that means one of your old threadbare ones is heading for the charity shop. The same should go for mugs, chairs, anything in your home. The more you do this, the more you’ll start thinking about your purchases and, hopefully, change your attitude toward buying new things — ultimately reducing waste.
Look At Your Plastic Situation
You don’t need a disappointed David Attenborough to tell you that our oceans are full of plastic (though, boy, does it drive the point home). Dealing with your plastic intake is one of the best first steps you can take to become greener. Look at what you can buy in bulk to avoid packaging — especially things like lentils, rice, and pulses — and try to avoid using companies that over-package. If you’re an avid water bottle buyer or have a tendency to pick up a flat white on your morning commute, carrying a reusable mug or water bottle is a great idea — and these days, many of them are collapsible.
Set Up A Recycling Center
We all know that recycling is key — but far too many of us don’t do it if it’s a hassle. If you want to really commit to recycling, set up a recycling center in your home that means you can do it without even thinking. The best place to start is to check out the recycling rules in your council, so you can make sure know what can be recycled. You can also set up a recycling center at work, if there isn’t already one in your office.
Repurpose Things You Already Own
One of the best ways to help reduce waste is to find new uses for the things you already have. There are plenty of things that can be used over and over again — use old sheets for dish rags, old jars for spices or storage, old milk cartons for bird feeders. Before you get rid of something, think of where you can use it again. And when in doubt, there are millions of ideas on Pinterest.
Use Sustainable Materials
Your home can go green right down to its very core. If you’re considering any building works or construction, look at how you can make the whole process greener. From using Eco-Bricks, made out of plastic, to a method that uses straw bales (really), there are plenty of sustainable building materials out there.
Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Making sure that your home is energy efficient — like using a smart meter or having well-sealed windows that don’t leak cold air in — will really help your home be more environmentally friendly. You can also choose green lighting, like LED and CFL bulbs, look into rainwater harvesting systems or tankless water heaters, and even low-flow taps and toilets that waste less water. Some water suppliers also offer help with water saving too, Anglian Water for example offer a bits and bobs scheme where they come to your house and install water saving products like shower heads and washing up bowls - for free.
There are a lot of different ways you can make your home a more sustainable place to be — but it’s easy to look at all of the different tweaks you can make and find it a little overwhelming. So do a little research and find the one or two changes that seem the most straightforward and fitting for you. Start there — and build. Remember, every little change can make a big difference and if you are planning to sell, buyers will appreciate it too.
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