We’ve all spent more time at home this year than usual. It’s a great opportunity to think about your lifestyle and how you can make it more sustainable. Living green at home is much easier than you’d think. Start making positive changes today with these top 10 tips for green living at home.
Every year, 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK. This means that greenhouse gas emissions are being produced in the food supply chain that could be avoided. When food goes to landfill, it releases methane as it decomposes, which is a harmful greenhouse gas. This can be avoided by simply thinking about what’s in your fridge and what you’re buying. Making meal plans and shopping lists can help you make sure you use everything and don’t make spontaneous purchases that won’t get eaten. If you do have food waste, why not use it to make compost? This is a great natural fertilizer for your garden.
It’s not just food that we send to landfill. Tonnes and tonnes of single use plastics such as packaging and bags are thrown away every day. It requires more energy to make new products than recycling from old. This increases emissions and contributes to global warming. There are two steps to reducing your home waste. First try to avoid excess packaging in your shopping – look for companies that send deliveries in recyclable or reusable packaging, and buy your produce loose in shops as much as possible. The second step is to recycle everything you can. Check with your local council what recycling collection they offer and make sure you have all the right bins to do so.
The average person in the UK uses 150 litres of water every day. Cleaning waste water is an energy-intensive process, as is heating the hot water that comes out of your taps. If the energy in your local grid is generated by burning fossil fuels, then the more you use at home, the more greenhouse gas emissions will be produced. To reduce your water consumption, take shorter showers and consider switching to a water efficient shower head. These use 40% less water than normal shower heads.
Turning down your central heating by a couple of degrees in winter and avoiding air conditioning in summer will save energy and money.
Walking and cycling are the only two entirely emissions-free modes of transport. Wherever you can, think about if your journey can be made by foot or by bike instead of getting in the car. If you do have to drive, make sure your tyres are properly inflated, keep your speed down, and avoid accelerating and breaking rapidly. These actions will help keep your emissions down when you drive. Also, if you require a car, invest in an electric or hybrid car which produces less pollution than a traditional petrol or diesel car.
Traditional light bulbs only use about 10% of the energy supplied as light. The rest is lost as heat. LED light bulbs (light-emitting diodes) convert 90% of the energy to light and emit very little heat. That makes them much more energy efficient, using less energy to produce the same amount of light. They also have a much longer lifespan than traditional light bulbs, so you won’t have to replace them as often. This saves on waste and money.
Every month, we receive bills and statements in the post which often go straight in the (recycling) bin. These days, most of these statements can be sent to you electronically, saving paper and the emissions associated with delivery. It takes very little effort to make the switch to receiving digital statements, and will mean you cut your waste and emissions. Bonus: you’ll never lose a statement again!
Electronic devices like computers and TVs often sit on standby in our houses. This makes it look like they’re off, but actually they’re still using energy on standby. When you’re not using a device, make sure you turn it off at the wall to conserve energy.
Meat and dairy products are huge contributors to climate change. The combined effect of production, transportation, and consumption is one of the biggest contributors to climate change around the world. Red meat in particular has 100 times the impact of plant based foods on the environment. Switching meat and dairy products out of your diet can have a huge positive impact on the planet. If everyone in the world followed a ‘flexitarian’ diet (reducing meat and dairy consumption by three quarters), we’d save 5 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions every year by 2050. Why not start with one meat free day a week, or trying the Veganuary challenge to kickstart your greener living.
Even the greenest lifestyles still have unavoidable carbon emissions associated with them. This comes from the infrastructure in our lives, the goods and produce we consume, and our homes. The average UK resident is responsible for 5.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Carbon offsetting offers a way to become net carbon neutral. This means reducing carbon emissions elsewhere to compensate for the emissions from your lifestyle. You can do this by donating to carbon reduction projects such as clean energy projects and reforestation initiatives. Services such as Treepoints simplify the process for you and make it easy for you to reach net carbon neutral.
So now you know ten simple ways to start being greener at home. What are you waiting for? And don’t forget to sign up to Treepoints to make your life completely net carbon neutral and receive more green living advice.
Georgia is content manager at Treepoints. She is passionate about environmental sustainability and promoting green living. She also loves baking and walking her labradoodle.