Want to live a greener lifestyle, but not sure where to start? As part of the nation’s annual recycle week, we asked our team what their top tips are to being more eco-friendly and to help spread the word on reducing waste within our homes.
1. Reduce Plastic Packaging
Plastic packaging in the UK accounts for nearly 70% of our plastic waste1, so thinking of ways to reduce this is a great place to start.
‘Try and buy food from your from local grocery stores, butchers or markets to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging’ (and of course remember to take your reusable bag with you).
‘See if there are any zero waste shops in your town, to help you cut back on single use plastic’. You can even find your nearest shops on the Zero Waste Network Website.
‘Have your milk delivered in glass bottles and taken away, instead of buying it in plastic bottles from the supermarket’. Websites like ‘Milk and More’ offer an online subscription for your weekly milk deliveries. Seems like a good moo-ve to us!
‘Swap your usual toilet roll to an eco-alternative (such as the brand Who Gives a Crap) which you can buy a subscription for and they donate 50% of all of their profits to ensure everyone has access to clean water and a toilet’
2. Install a Smart Meter
Be in control of how much energy you use in your home with a smart meter and see what your current usage is and where you can cut down. Having this insight has helped many of the team to make small changes in their own homes, such as switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, less tumble drying (and more hang drying) and even turning standby appliances off. Ultimately leading to lower energy bills and a reduction in their carbon footprint. Win–win!
3. Less Disposable, More Reusable
Many items in our home are either single use or perish after so long including dish sponges, kitchen wipes, paper towels, plastic food bags (…the list goes on). But if we all spent a little extra on reusable items, then we can do our bit to reduce waste in our landfills and it should save you money in the long run too.
‘Use cotton hankies and napkins instead of tissue and kitchen roll’.
‘Use machine washable cleaning cloths and kitchen scrubbers rather than disposable ones’
‘Swap single use cotton pads and makeup wipes for a reusable face cloth’. Useful sites for eco reusable items include:
4) Use Eco-friendly Cleaning Products
Whether you’re filling up the dishwasher, or putting a load in the washing machine, what products you use can make a big difference. There are lots of brands out there (Smol to mention one) who deliver refillable, returnable and recyclable packs whilst saving on plastic, chemicals and carbon. At Smol, for example, you can order dishwasher tablets, laundry capsules, and non-toxic surface sprays (plus they offer free trials so you can try out their products first).
Want to keep things simple? A member of our team also recommended:
‘Invest in an Eco Egg Laundry Egg, you can get up to 70 washes per egg and saves you buying both washing detergent and fabric softener’
The brand claims making the switch helps eliminate up to 40 single-use plastic bottles per household each year and works by using mineral pellets that lift away dirt without leaving chemical residue on clothing. Visit Eco Egg.
5) Grow Your Own Herbs
Why not have a go at planting some of the herbs you use most often in your garden, a planter, or a window box. This will help cut down emissions caused by aeroplanes which often bring our shop bought herbs to the UK (often packaged in unnecessary plastic too). You can simply snip off what you need at home with zero waste. Why not pick up an affordable herb starter kit from your local store (or online from brands like The Stem).
6) Upcycle or Sell Your Old Furniture
You’ve heard the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Well that could be true when it comes to your own furniture and our team are no strangers to buying and selling their own used furniture.
‘Sell your unwanted furniture on sites like Facebook Market, where locals in your area can pick it up straight from your door’. You can even list it for free which saves you from a trip to the tip but most importantly helps the planet.
‘Rather than buy new furniture, look at websites such as Freecycle where you can pick up things for free’ Upcycling is very popular now, so why not try your hand at a bit of painting or re-upholstering and bring old items back to life in your own home.
7) Sustainable Fashion
Today, less than 1% of the materials used to make clothes get recycled each year. This means that thousands of tonnes of textiles end up in landfills3. That’s why we must make an effort to invest in fewer more expensive items that last longer and choose sustainably made clothing where you can.
H&M are one of the many retailers who are committed to this and have a brought out a ‘conscious collection’ made from 100% recycled, organic or other sustainable materials. They even have a garment collecting programme where you can take in a bag of your old clothes in return for a voucher to spend in store.
Other tips our team recommended:
‘You can sell your old clothes on Facebook market or eBay. Or download selling apps like Shpock or Vinted’. Or why not give back to your community by donating your clothes to your nearest charity or shelter’.
‘Organise a clothes swap event either locally or just with your family and friends’. Prefer doing things online? Websites like Swopped might work for you, where you simply send in your unwanted clothes, in return for credits to browse their store.
8) Regulate Your Water Flow / Usage
You can get tap inserts for free with many water companies. With easy to fit attachments, you can limit the flow and ultimately reduce your water usage each time you turn on the tap. You can also pick up one of the many eco-friendly shower heads, which also releases water at a more eco-friendly rate. This water-saving shower head from Amazon also filters your water with the use of mineral balls.
Top tip: ‘Don’t run the shower before you get in, try turning it off in between shampooing /washing and buy a shower egg timer that sticks to the wall’
Why not pick up a shower timer also.
9) Look Out For Compostable Products
Where things can’t always be recycled, check your labels to see if any of your household products are compostable. In other words, they disintegrate over time into non-toxic natural elements.
Team Tip: ‘Switch your normal bin liners to compostable bin liners. The brand Bower Collective are great for these.’ They even sell compostable dog-waste bags as well as many other eco goods.
10) Last But Not Least – Check Your Own Carbon Footprint
We hope you found this blog useful, with lots of tips you can take away from the team. But, before you do, why not check out your own carbon footprint by filling out the WWF questionnaire to understand your own impact on the environment. A little change can go a long way when the planet is concerned.