It’s thought that at the current rate, we are using the world’s natural resources 1.7 times faster than the planet can regenerate them.
Although many of us realise the importance of making better choices, it’s sometimes a case of having no idea where to start when trying to make our homes eco-friendlier.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some eco-friendly swaps you can consider at home to lessen your personal burden on the planet.
1. Loose Produce
One of the easiest ways of bringing far less plastic into your home is to purchase loose fruits and vegetables, rather than produce that is packaged in plastic.
This idea has been adopted by numerous supermarkets, with both Morrisons and Waitrose committing to using paper bags for customers to put their produce in rather than plastic.
While it’s true to say that loose produce can work out to be more expensive in certain supermarkets, greengrocers, markets and farm shops will often have produce at a far better price to quality ratio.
2. Reusable Shopping Bags
A single plastic bag takes about 500 years to break down. As it does so, it releases particles of plastic, which contaminate our soil and watercourses, which eventually enter the food chain.
By swapping to tote bags or bags for life, you can save yourself a little money and help protect the environment from the breakdown of harmful plastics. You could even go one step further and opt for canvas, linen or jute bags that contain no plastic at all.
3. Invest in a Cafetière
Around a third of coffee drinkers in the UK own a coffee pod machine. While these convenient machines are great for that quick caffeine hit, the pods themselves are tough to recycle.
In fact, in 2016 the German city of Hamburg banned them in all state-run buildings in an attempt to reduce the waste they produce.
By swapping to a cafetière, you can significantly reduce the waste produced by coffee pods, and you can throw your coffee grounds onto the compost heap.
4. Bamboo Toothbrushes
It’s thought that a staggering 3.6 billion toothbrushes are thrown away annually around the world, and up to 80% of them end up in our oceans.
Swapping your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one may not feel like you’re making a massive difference. However, when you consider the average person will make their way through around 300 in their lifetime, it really does begin to add up.
5. Ditch Kitchen Roll
It’s a common misconception that kitchen roll is recyclable when it actually isn’t at all. Swap out traditional kitchen roll and opt for reusable bamboo towels instead.
Brands such as ecoegg make their products from organic, sustainably sourced bamboo which can be washed and reused up to 85 times. Each pack comes with 20 sheets each, which means that one pack will serve you well for 1,700 uses.
6. Swap Liquid Soap for Bars
Liquid soap itself poses little danger to the environment, however, the plastic packaging does, and it’s actually far from necessary.
These days it’s easier than ever to buy a nice bar of organic soap completely free of packaging. Not only does this clean your hands and reduce your carbon footprint, but if you buy from an independent retailer, you can help small, local businesses too.
7. Buy Real Plants Rather Than Cut Flowers
The UK spends over £2 billion on cut flowers every year. And, while they may seem like a sweet romantic gesture, they actually place an incredible strain on the environment.
Firstly, they must be grown and watered, then transported to Britain (90% come from overseas) and preserved in a refrigerated environment, before they are wrapped in cellophane.
By choosing to purchase a British grown plant instead, you’ll not only be doing your part for the planet but enjoying cleaner and pollutant-free air too.
If you often cook from scratch or eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, it’s certainly worth considering investing in a compost bin or starting a compost heap in your garden.
All you need to do is throw fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, garden cuttings or fallen leaves into the heap instead of your regular bin. This way, you’ll reduce waste, and you’ll have rich, healthy compost to distribute onto your garden as well.
9. Steel Straws
In recent years, we’ve come to realise just how damaging single-use straws can be for our marine life. It’s thought that almost 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away in the UK every single year, which is why many fast-food chains are now opting for paper straws.
However, if yourself or your children frequently use straws, we’d recommend a steel straw which can be washed and used for many years since used paper straws are not recyclable due to being contaminated with food.
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