This week, we have a double sustainability whammy, as it’s both Water Saving Week and Food Waste Action Week. On top of this, on Sunday, the whole country received the news that, while restrictions are slowly easing, lockdown is set to continue for a long while yet. With the latter in mind, the two awareness weeks couldn’t come at a better time. Being at home more, we are all using more water, electricity and gas, and, according to price comparison website Compare The Market, energy bills are 37% higher than usual thanks to the coronavirus lockdown. This isn’t good for our pockets and it’s equally bad for the environment. Even before lockdown, homes accounted for around 15% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, and, since the pandemic hit, across Europe, household emissions have risen by almost a third. So, it’s more important than ever that we all try and make our homes eco-friendly. To help you do this, we have put together 25 quick and easy tips you can put into practice straight away. Check them out below…
Reduce your food waste
- Before heading to the shops, check what food you still have in the fridge and plan meals around these items (to help you remember, take a “shelfie”).
- Research how best to store different foods – this will make them last longer.
- Get inventive with fruit and veg that’s gone slightly mushy and use them to make smoothies, soups or even breads (mushy bananas are perfect for banana bread!)
- Learn to love your freezer – batch cook meals and pop anything you don’t have the time to eat into the freezer for another time.
- If you still have leftovers, check if you can use these to make a compost for your garden (fruits, vegetables and eggshells are great for this).
Make simple swaps around the home
- Swap paper towels for reusable cloths and napkins, and your usual toilet roll for a recycled or tree-free option.
- Instead of buying clingfilm and foil, opt for beeswax wraps and, while you’re at it, switch parchment paper for reusable silicone mats.
- Go for products made from glass rather than plastic (e.g. make-up in glass containers or honeys and jams in glass jars).
- Invest in strong, reusable bags to take with you to the shops instead of paying 5p for a plastic one.
- Swap your usual tea bags for compostable ones or, even better, opt for loose leaf tea and a strainer.
Reduce the amount of water you use
- Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth.
- Take shorter showers and fewer baths.
- Fill a jug of water to keep in the fridge, rather than running the tap for a drink every time (this will also mean your drink is nice and chilled!).
- Always wash full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher.
- Collect rainwater in a butt and use this to water your garden and clean the car.
Have a more energy efficient home
- Unplug or shut down devices when not in use and avoid using standby mode.
- Switch off the lights when you leave a room and use natural light where possible.
- Opt for LED lightbulbs (these are 80% more efficient than traditional lightbulbs!).
- Turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees.
- Fill the kettle with what you need or invest in an eco kettle.
Be savvy with your waste
- For anything you no longer want (such as clothes, books and toys), but that are still in a usable condition, donate to a charity shop or advertise on Freecycle or local community Facebook pages.
- Before replacing something, try and repair what you’ve already got (with a bit of stitching, it might feel as good as new!).
- Learn what you can and can’t recycle in your local area and stick to these rules.
- Rinse out recyclable items before putting them in the bin and flatten any cardboard.
- Put a recycling bin in your bathroom as well as your kitchen/utility room.
On the subject of waste, if you’re finding you’ve got a lot of waste and nowhere for it to go at the moment, we can help. Via our home collections service, we are now collecting garden waste, recycling, confidential documents (for shredding) and clear out items, such as old technology and furniture, from households around Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury. All you have to do is get in touch – we’ll then arrange a suitable time with you and come and collect your items quickly and adhering to all social distancing requirements. Give us a ring on 01242 588600 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.
In the meantime, let us know how you get on with our swaps and tips for a more eco-friendly home – we’d love to hear!