We can all make a few simple changes in our lives that can make big differences – especially if we all do them.
Whether it’s energy saving, changing how you eat, using eco energy or being more aware of unnecessary consumption every household can probably improve somehow.
Simple changes can be made in all areas of your home life:
Clothing can effect the environment in many ways.
Producing clothes uses up a lot of energy. Growing the cotton, machinery to make them, transportation around the world to the shops etc etc.
Buy less. We often think we need new clothes when we don’t. We are just bored with the ones we have and make excuses to buy more when we don’t actually need to.
Buy second hand – Ebay is amazing for buying second hand clothes. Charity shops are great for a bargain. Use them instead of buying new.
Wash your clothes less – just because you have worn something once doesn’t mean it needs washing. Give it a sniff. If it’s dirty wash it if not then wear it again.
I’ve recently found filters that can be attached to the outlet pipe that will filter out the plastic fibres before they enter your waste water which would then eventually end up in the sea.
- less energy being used
- less micro plastic going into the water (most clothes have plastic in them and washing them puts plastic into the sea).
Eco Energy Providers
(See Energy page)
It is incredibly easy to switch your energy provider in the UK. Less than 5 minutes I seem to remember it took me. There are several renewable energy providers to choose from. Have a look at the ‘Energy‘ page and make the switch.
(See Food page)
Food is clearly essential in our lives but food production is huge.
- Reduce / stop eating meat (particularly Lamb and Beef).
- AVOID PALM OIL (see palm oil page). It is in virtually everything. So check before you buy
- Waste less. Food is precious and a HUGE amount gets wasted. Too much. Try and collect the waste for a week. Everything that’s wasted put in a bucket then see how much you have wasted at the end of the week.
- Buy local – many foods get shipped around the world. Look for local labels.
- Get a veg box delivery. Not only does it all come from locally sourced places, it uses much less plastic too. Dinner Winner
Buy Organic – We are facing a huge and generally ignored Insect Armageddon. Insects are disappearing fast. I noticed it this summer (see insects page). We need to stop with the bug killing insecticides. We need to encourage insects.
You don’t have to live in a specifically built and labeled ‘eco’ home to turn your house into an eco friendly home.
- Install Solar Panels and or Solar Hot Water Heating to your roof. Often schemes are available to help pay some of the costs. Find out if your roof is suitable and see if you can get these installed. We have Solar for our Hot water. We turn our hot water off from June and have free hot water all the way through till about the end of September.
- Grey water recycling – This is something on my ‘to do’ list. Essentially in the UK (and all developed countries) we use drinking water for everything. Cleaning the car, flushing poo down the toilet, washing the floor and for taking a bath. Clean drinkable water is something that takes a lot of energy to produce. It is expensive. Why do we use it to flush our poo down the toilet? It doesn’t make sense. Grey water recycling uses water from showers, washing machines and sinks and reuses it to flush the toilet instead of using drinking water. You can also harvest rain water not just to water the garden but it can also be connected up to the toilets to flush them. Check out this link for more in depth info on Grey Water Recycling
- Simple things like maintaining your boiler help make heating your house more energy efficient. Boilers do die painfully often it seems and cost loads to replace. We have got a great deal with a company who, for a monthly charge, will always fix the boiler. It gets fixed twice every year and that more than covers the monthly costs we pay. Repairing is nearly always better than replacing.
(See Plastic page)
We all consume way too much plastic and the stuff doesn’t just go away when we are finished with it.
It is made from oil, it takes a lot of energy to produce it, it doesn’t go away and it is choking our planet.
Cut down on it, reuse and cut it out where ever possible.
Also be aware that EVERYTHING we flush down the toilet or pour down the sink will probably end up in the sea. So think before you flush. Don’t put dental floss, ear buds or anything else down the toilet.
Glitter – It’s only little I know but it is made of plastic (non – plastic alternatives do exist though). You wouldn’t go and pour it directly into the sea but if you are covering your body in the stuff then washing it off after a night out then that is what you are doing….
Reuse and Recycling
Reuse is much more important than Recycle.
- Buy from second hand shops / wood stores / eBay / local groups. (search for “Wood Recycling Centres” and make use of local groups like Freecycle / Freegle which can find new homes for your unwanted things.
- Try to repair it before you just chuck it out. I’ve been at our local tip before and someone was chucking a BMX bike. I asked him what was wrong with it. He said it had a puncture….! I was pretty speechless. A puncture. A little puncture and he was throwing the bike away!?!?!?! I took the bike and gave it to a neighbour. Another time I was there and someone was throwing out a CD / radio. I asked what was wrong and they said nothing was wrong with it they just didn’t want it any more… That’s been in my son’s room for about 3 years now. I hate going to the tip. I can really show just how unconnected some people are with their own actions.
- There are repair cafe’s around the world that help you to repair you items. have a look : repair Cafes Uk
Recycling is the end point. Try and get more use out of the item before it is recycled.
- Find out exactly what your local recycling curbside collection folk will and will not take.
- Have a pot to collect up small bits of metal (bottle tops, foil, old nails, lids etc etc). Once you have enough take it to a metal recycling centre.
But please remember – just because you recycle it doesn’t make you ‘green’. You can’t just start recycling more and think you have done your part. We can not recycle our way out of this mess
Buy with caution – think what those products do once they go down the drain
- Harsh chemical get into the water system and kill animals i.e. washing up liquid kills frogs as it effects their skin.
- Make your own solutions (you can reuse the same plastic bottles and avoid harsh chemicals).