5 Eco friendly tips you can use at home that will make the most impact
Many people throughout the world (hopefully including you) are now starting to see the real impact that our consumer lifestyle is having on the planet. Oceans and rivers are overflowing with plastic waste and animals are losing their homes in barrier reefs or in forests. We know we're doing damage to our environment but how can we undo it?
Undoing that damage would be quite a task but we can all certainly try to become more environmentally friendly and slow down the damage to reverse climate change. Hopefully you know that every little thing you do during your daily routine can help that progress.
Here are the 5 most impactful but fairly small eco friendly changes that you could make in your day to day lives to help reverse the pollution and plastic levels.
Our top 5 eco friendly tips
This is a basic one but recycling properly can have a huge part to play in helping wildlife and oceans. Disposable waste that isn’t recycled is now reaching 18.3 million tonnes per year in the UK so we need to reuse as much as possible to stop it ending in the mouths and bodies of innocent animals like the poor overfilled whale here.
Sorry to gross you out but you took notice right?
First of all you MUST get yourself more than one bin. There is no excuse for having one rubbish bin anymore. You need to have at least one general waste bin and one recycling bin especially for plastic recycling. In that recycling bin you can dispose of paper, card, bottles, cans and recyclable plastic trays. DO NOT put these items in your general waste as they go into landfills and oceans when they could be reused instead for other packaging later. Councils will collect recycle bins and general waste bins separately so ensure your bins are emptied into the right collection bins.
Tip: Get yourself a separate recycling container or use a recycling sack from your local council to collect and empty your rubbish into the larger bins
2. Recycle food waste
As a base you need a recyclables bin and a regular waste bin but a food waste bin is another you should have. 3 bins are ideal, 2 bins are better than one.
Did you know: The average waste bin in the UK is 30% food?
If we stopped throwing usable food away it would save the equivalent of 17m tonnes of carbon dioxide hitting the air. That's like taking one in five cars off UK roads.
That my friend is why you need a food bin.
When food waste is collected separately, it can be put into compost heaps to grow other plants. If this waste is collected by the council it gets put into an anaerobic digester - a tank in which the food breaks down into sludge, carbon dioxide (CO₂) and methane. These are used for generating energy or running a vehicle... So your takeaway pizza could help to run a car!
Tip: Get yourself a small food waste tub in the kitchen with a lid to keep any smells contained. Take it to a compost or garden as plant food or out to the food waste collection bins.
3. Save on household energy usage
Yes you’ve probably heard this one a lot. It’s not rocket science just try not to leave things switched on basically e.g. water, lights, electric appliances that aren’t being used.
Did you know: Appliances left on standby are likely to be costing you £80 per year in energy usage.
Using energy means burning more coal. This is what is causing those harmful greenhouses gases. If everyone used 10% less energy that is equal to 56 million tonnes of carbon dioxide saved each year.
- Turn all items on standby off at the wall while they are not used
- Buy energy efficient light bulbs
- Insulate doors and windows to reduce central heating costs (or wear a comfy, thick indoor hoodie/jumper)
- Check the energy star rating of new appliance purchases, efficiency is best
4. Reuse plastic and please reuse it again
Everyone is guilty of disposing plastic. Have you ever taken your lunch to work and thrown away the carrier bag that came with it? Yes?
You are going to hell my friend.
We can all make a better effort here. Plastic is now one of the biggest killers of marine life. It’s also making its way into the fish you eat too. Every time you ask for a plastic bag anywhere I want you to think of this poor long beaked fellow. He’s not going very far in his new unwanted coat is he?
What about your daily coffee? Do you really need to use a disposable cup every time? These contain a plastic film inside and will end up in your fish one day. Get a reusable cup. Every little helps.
Did you know: In the UK we use 2.5 billion disposable take away coffee cups per year. That’s an insane amount of cups in landfill!
- Take reusable shopping bags to the supermarket each week for your food shop.
- Try bringing reusable coffee cups for your takeaway coffee, tea or hot chocolate. It will save tons of plastic waste and also save YOU money. Cafes will take up to 50p off the cost of a cup of coffee if you bring a reusable coffee cup.
- Use refill shops. More and more shops are now popping up with refillable groceries. E.g. shampoo, conditioner, porridge, coffee and more. Simply bring your containers along and refill your produce in store saving the need to buy more plastic packaging.
- Use a water filter for still water or a soda stream for sparkling water instead of buying new bottles of water all of the time
- Use reusable beeswax wraps instead of cling film
5. Choose your food more carefully
It’s a difficult ask for everyone to go vegan. I know, I love meat too and although meat production is bad for the environment it’s a tough one to avoid for many. However some of your food choices can rub off on others too.
A lot of the emissions in countries worldwide come from food production especially in meat. Try to cut down on meat where possible but if you have a choice then choose chicken over beef.
Did you know: Beef requires 28 times more land to produce than chicken and it produces 11 times more greenhouse gases than chicken does.
- Try to have 1 or 2 more ‘meatless meals’ per week
- Choose chicken over beef if you have to choose one
- Stop food wastage by storing leftovers for other meals, snacks or even save them for pets
- Reduce fish intake as our oceans are drying up
- Try to eat more fruits, vegetables and grains
- Try to avoid food with lots of plastic packaging
- Reduce dairy intake
We hope the list is useful. Even if you could pick 2 things to adopt from the above (go ahead pick 2 right now I’m waiting) then every little helps to allow our grandchildren to be able to swim in the sea in future.
The most impactful change is spreading the word so remember to keep everyone else in the loop on small changes that make the most difference.