Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t have to involve major renovations. Here are five easily actionable changes to set you on the road to a greener living space…
We all know that sustainability starts at home, but how hard is yours working in the battle to save the planet?
Sure, you religiously separate the recycling and (usually) remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room, but is there more you could be doing to make things a little greener around the house?
The answer is probably yes, but happily, it only takes a little extra effort to create a more sustainable domestic situation.
From easy upcycling to simple product swaps, here’s how to make sure your home is living its most eco-friendly life…
1. Clean up your act
Ever considered making your own cleaning products? No, us neither, but it’s actually a lot easier than you might think…
For a simple surface cleaner, try mixing vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio, add some lemon rind and leave in an empty spray bottle for a week to infuse.
It’s great on hard water stains and, obviously, is totally chemical free, so much easier on the planet than commercial cleaners.
Need something a bit more heavy duty? Try mixing baking soda with water until you have a paste.
Use a damp cloth to rub it into fixtures and fittings, and then rinse off again to get them sparkling.
2. Shower smarter
You already know to try and keep a handle on your shower time, but what about the products you’re using while you’re in there?
Lots of bathroom cosmetics are riddled with environment-damaging chemicals like parabens and sulfates, so take a close look at the label before you buy.
Instead, choose a biodegradable product like Sanex Zero% shower gel.
Formulated without harmful chemicals like phthalates, sulfates and parabens, you can feel confident that you’re not flushing a host of eco-nasties down the drain while you wash.
Not only that, but it’s the only shower gel to be accredited by the British Skin Foundation, so it’s kind to your skin as well as the planet.
3. Revive old furniture
If upcycling sounds like a lot of work, there are some handy shortcuts you can take to breathe new life into your old furniture without clearing your diary for a week of DIY.
The easiest solution? A new paint job.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint applies to basically any surface without the need for priming or sanding, so it’s great for the time-poor.
Plus, as it’s water-based, it produces fewer greenhouse gases than solvent-based alternatives.
Feeling a bit more adventurous? Interiors upcycling expert Nicky Massey from Margot & Mya recommends experimenting with old fabrics.
“Curtains, scarves or even sweaters can be used to make cushion covers, or trims on existing cushions,” she says.
“Get creative and look on Pinterest for some inspiration.”
However you do it, upcycling cuts your carbon footprint from the manufacturing and transportation processes of new furniture, and saves perfectly good stuff from ending up in landfill. Win-win.
4. Turn down the heat
Making sure your loft, walls and ceilings are properly insulated is key to running an eco-friendly home, as it means you’ll need a lot less energy to keep yourself warm in the colder months.
According to Checkatrade, cellulose is the greenest option you can go for as it’s made from around 85% recycled newspaper.
Failing that, straw bales are a good alternative due to their minimal environmental impact and high-efficiency ratings.
Once you’ve got your insulation sorted, you’ll be able to ease up on the thermostat, which will make a bigger difference than you might expect.
According to Steve Buckley, head of data science at home energy-saving assistant, Loop, turning the temperature down on the thermostat by just 1 degree could save you up to £80 per year, and reduce your home’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to 320kg.
5. Make your water work
You’re probably well aware of the benefits of putting a BRITA filter on your taps, and yes, it’s true that they yield an excellent solution to bottled water.
But what if you’re feeling a bit fancy, and want to treat yourself to some sparkling? Is it back to the plastic?
No. Step away from the single-usage, invest in a SodaStream unit and start making your own.
One gas cylinder will convert 60 litres of tap water into sparkling, and when it’s done, you don’t throw it away - you simply exchange it for a new one.
The company has pledged to save the use of 67bn single-use plastic bottles by 2025, so if you’re a fan of sparkling water, this is definitely the way to go.
Care for the planet and your body with Sanex Zero%, the skin-friendly shower gel with a 99% biodegradable formula, moisturisers of natural origin and fewer chemical ingredients. Shop the collection below.