In the UK, around two-thirds of Millenials claim to choose eco-friendly products over non-sustainable ones where possible.
As more people grow up aware of their environmental impact, the more they want to live a greener lifestyle. And living green always starts with having an eco-friendly home.
But there is so much information out there on how to be eco-friendly, it can be difficult to know where to start. Everything from your windows to your soap could be more sustainable, so it can get overwhelming.
Read these eco-friendly tips to find out how to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly home.
Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances
The worst thing you could do is to throw out your working microwave, hairdryer, and toaster straight away only to replace them with eco-friendly models.
You will be creating more unnecessary waste in pursuit of a more eco-friendly home. Some of your appliances are less energy-efficient than others, so it is better to start with them:
- Tumble dryers
- Washing machines
Then, as your appliances stop working or become out-of-date, replace them with smart, energy-saving models. Invest in air conditioning and heating units that have motion sensors and timers so they do not stay on all day.
Switch To Renewable Energy Sources
As well as ensuring you are using energy in a sustainable way, you also need to be using the right energy. Switch to an energy company that uses 100% renewable energy sources, such as the following:
Or, you could take it one step further and install solar panels on your roof. This is a great idea if you live in a sunny climate with a sloped roof and plan on staying in your house for 20+ years.
The upfront costs of solar panels (the kit, installation, etc.) have fallen 20% in the last five years. The average cost nowadays is around $20,000 but it could cut your energy bills in half. So not only are you using renewable energy sources, but you are saving money as well!
Make Mindful Renovations
If you need to renovate your home, be mindful of your choices. An eco-friendly home design includes a lot of natural light and high-quality insulation.
When painting or regrouting, choose eco-friendly paint with no damaging chemicals like VOC. Choose furniture made from natural resources like reclaimed wood or second-hand pieces. Avoid varnish, lacquer, and plastic where possible.
But the most mindful renovations are the ones that create the least waste. Always ensure any decorating or renovating work is necessary before starting. And if it is, upcycle and recycle as much as possible.
Buy Local Produce and Grow Your Own
Growing your own produce or buying from a local farmer’s market is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
This sustainable living guide covers food-based eco-friendly home ideas. But if you would like to start growing your own food, start with plant pots of herbs on your kitchen window ledge. They are easy to care for and will come in handy when you cook dinner.
Then, progress to other easy-to-grow vegetables like potatoes, peas, and tomatoes. Even if you have little outdoor space, you can buy a small greenhouse or make a plant pot out of a wooden crate.
If you live close to a sustainable food store, make sure you use it! Buy mason jars and reusable food containers so you can measure out the produce you need. And opt for independent fruit and vegetable stalls over grocery stores where possible.
The most important thing is to not buy more food than you consume. The United Nations has said that food waste accounts for around one-third of all food production. If this is a problem in your households, plan your meals in advance and stick to your shopping list when you buy food.
Start a Compost Pile
No matter how hard you try, you cannot escape food waste like vegetable peelings and eggshells. Instead of throwing it in the trash, build a compost pile in your backyard.
It is not complicated and you do not even need to build your own. There are many compost bins you can invest in that will turn your food waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer. This type of compost is a fantastic organic alternative to chemical or animal waste fertilizer.
You can either use the compost to fertilize your own garden or donate it to a community project if you do not need it.
Reduce Single-Use and Recycle What’s Left
One of the easiest ways to create an eco-friendly home is to swap your non-sustainable and non-recyclable products for eco-friendly home products.
Here are some ideas of the changes you can make:
- Liquid soap and hair care in plastic containers = solid soap
- Tin Foil and plastic containers = beeswax wraps and bento boxes
- Cleaning products with harsh chemicals = homemade products
- Plastic hairbrushes, cleaning tools, etc. = wooden tools
- Plastic grocery bags = reusable canvas tote bags
- Disposable straws and cutlery = reusable bamboo and metal ones
The next time you are about to throw something in the trash, ask yourself if you could have gotten a more sustainable product. This will help you make better consumer decisions in the future.
Though reducing your waste is better than recycling, it is inevitable you will need to recycle sometimes. These are the most common recyclable materials:
Research what your local authority recycles and split your household waste according to their guidelines. You might find recycling easier if all your trash cans have sections for each recyclable material.
Not all local governments recycle the same materials so you may need to go the extra mile to live a more sustainable lifestyle. If your local government does not collect glass but your local grocery store has a collection point, it is worth making the effort to help the planet.
Design Your Own Eco-Friendly Home
Creating an eco-friendly home takes time and dedication. Start small, and replace your non-sustainable products and belongings as you go. You will create a snowball effect and one day you will wake up with an almost zero waste, low-impact household.
Want to read more home tips? Check out our other articles for lots more expert home advice.