Many people see climate change as a colossal environmental issue that we can't do anything about. But nothing can be further from the truth. Even the smallest positive habit changes we do can create a ripple effect toward a more sustainable future.
Interestingly, all of this can start at home. Believe it or not, it's possible to be kinder to our environment just by being more mindful and intentional with how you manage various aspects of your domestic life. From shopping, cooking, maintaining your household, and keeping your family comfortable no matter the season, these simple shifts can make a massive difference. And contrary to the common misconception, it's not rocket science; it's super easy to kickstart and follow through with it. In this article, we share some practical ideas that center on the three R's—reduce, reuse, and recycle—to inspire you to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle at home.
The principle of reduction means cutting back on the unnecessary and excessive consumption of available resources, whether it's food, plastic, or energy. Here's how you can do it at home without compromising your family's quality of life.
To conserve energy:
- Keep your home well insulated and address cold draughts.
- Create cozy spaces at home with thick blankets and a hot beverage on hand to keep you warm instead of turning the heating up.
- Turn lights during the daytime or when no one is in the room.
- Don't leave appliances on standby. Turn them off and unplug them when not in use.
- Reduce excess packaging by choosing bulk buys or refill options.
- Opt to shop in-store, where you can bring reusable cloth bags or paper packages instead of having them delivered.
- Shop at local farmer's markets where fresh produce is not covered in plastic packaging.
- Always take reusable bags with you wherever you go to reduce reliance on single-use carrier bags.
- Learn how to make eco-friendly cleaning solutions, so you don't have to buy chemical-based cleaning products that contain toxic ingredients.
Sustainability encourages us to think many times before tossing something in the bin. It can get us thinking creatively about how our so-called "rubbish" can be repurposed and used again in some way. Reusing in the home allows plenty of opportunities for creativity and thinking outside the box.
- Reuse glass jars as containers to store dried ingredients.
- Reuse broken crockery as a drainage material for the bottom of garden planters.
- Inner cardboard tubes from kitchen rolls can be reused as biodegradable planting containers for seeds. Plant the whole tube containing the seedling direct into the garden.
- Reuse worn fabrics as cleaning clothes. If you're feeling crafty, check out online tutorials for turning T-shirt material into yarn that can be crocheted into rugs and flexi storage baskets.
- Turn kitchen scraps into compost. Brown paper wrapping, corn-based packing peanuts, and compostable coffee capsules can all be added to your compost pile. Please read our 5 Composting Tips for Beginners article to learn everything you know.
Being a home eco-hero means playing your part in cleaning, sorting, and saving anything that can be recycled – rather than mindlessly putting it in our overflowing landfills.
Check out these tips to stay on top of recycling at home.
- Know your local authority's system for recycling. What can and can't be recycled? How are items to be sorted and collected? Take responsibility for following local guidance to avoid contaminated recycling being rejected and ending up in a landfill.
- Have a system for each zone of the home. Many recycle kitchen and food packaging without bother but overlook toiletries packaging from the bathroom, for example.
- Include younger family members in recycling, cleaning, and sorting to encourage eco-habits from an early age.
- Don't forget about electronic waste. There's more to recycling than glass bottles, tins, and cardboard. In some areas, you'll find facilities to recycle fluorescent light bulbs, printer cartridges, batteries, and mobile phones.
- Lastly, as everything you do on this planet has an impact (even your cup of morning coffee has a carbon footprint), it’s also essential to continuously educate yourself about your carbon footprint, climate change, and what you can do about it.
Guest Author: Jade Piper is an experienced writer and a keen environmentalist