While a new home can help you reduce your fossil-fuel emissions, there are still plenty of ways you can reduce your carbon footprint!
If you’re hoping to reduce the amount of plastic used in your home (but aren’t yet sold on shampoo bars!), these helpful cleaning and décor tips will help you on your journey from harmful plastic to eco-fantastic.
1. Use natural cleaning cloths and scrubbers
If your old plastic washing up sponges and cleaning cloths are on their way out, replace them with tools made from natural materials! Natural sponge, bamboo, linen, cotton, and coconut husk are all commonly used to make plastic-free cleaning tools. You can even use a bathroom loofah for all your eco-friendly scouring needs!
2. Try boxed washing powder instead of capsules or gel
Feel like you’re always doing laundry? You’re not alone! Make this chore a little less taxing on the environment by switching out plastic-wrapped laundry and dishwasher gel for powder in cardboard boxes. The ocean will thank you!
3. Buy natural rubber gloves
While rubber gloves do tend to last longer than many cleaning tools, they still need to be discarded once they deteriorate from wear and tear. Keep an eye out for a good sturdy pair of gloves made of natural latex rather than synthetic nitrile gloves.
If you’d rather reuse existing products than buy new, cut up old towels and clothes to use as cleaning cloths around your home. One old tea towel can make be cut in half to make two cleaning cloths, and there are plenty to be found in charity shops and car boot sales - you can even ask friends and family for their old tea towels too!
1. Opt for natural textiles
Always try and buy textiles made from natural materials if your budget allows, particularly when it comes to towels, sheets and cushion covers which can shed fibers into waterways when washed. Not only are linen, cotton, bamboo, and hemp generally kinder to the environment in their production, they are typically longer lasting than synthetic fabrics and they are also biodegradable!
2. Bring nature in
We have been adorning our homes with greenery since before the pandemic even began, but the demand for furnishings made from natural materials has sky-rocketed in the years since lockdown first began.
Japandi-style rattan pieces, ceramic accessories and metal accents are dominating interior designers’ mood boards, and traditional farmhouse-style wooden furniture is making a comeback thanks the rise of cottagecore. Complement these materials by swapping out worn plastic items such as wastepaper bins, pen holders and pet bowls for more sustainable alternatives.
Thinking of redecorating on a larger scale? Say no to plastic decor and opt for mirrors with metal or wooden frames, plant pots made from clay, and ceramic or metal drawer handles.
There’s no need to throw away perfectly good pieces of furniture, or even sell them! Our 4 top upcycling tips will help you repurpose your existing household items or turn someone else’s trash into your new treasure.
Changes around the home
1. Cook sustainably
While plastic cooking utensils certainly aren’t single use, they are still bad for the planet – and your wallet! They aren’t as heat resistant and need to be replaced more regularly than metal equivalents, meaning costs can add up in the long run. The next time your plastic utensils need to be replaced, invest in good quality metal alternatives that will last a lifetime and help the environment.
2. Phase out plastic toys
Some toys are unashamedly plastic (looking at you, Lego!) and there’s no way to argue against a child who really wants the same Barbie as everyone else in their class, but there are lots of ways to cut down on the amount of plastic used in your child’s playtime.
Coloured pencils are an easy swap for felt-tip pens, and wooden toys such as racetracks, play kitchens, and rocking horses will never go out of style. For older kids, let their imaginations go wild with colour-in cardboard playhouses!
Good-quality secondhand items can be found on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, often at a bargain price, and charity shops can be a treasure trove for all your child’s imaginative dress-up needs.
Why not ask friends and family members if they are open to the idea of having a toy swap? You never know, they may even feel extra generous and give you hand-me-downs just to save themselves a trip to the charity shop!
While replacing perfectly good plastic storage baskets with naturally made alternatives isn’t sustainable, there are still ways to make responsible decisions when it comes to storage solutions in your home. Avoid the temptation of cheap plastic drawers, paper trays and cupboard organisers, and instead invest in wire storage racks and baskets.
Larger baskets made from natural woven materials such as jute, seagrass and wood are perfect for storing kids’ toys, blankets and towels, and they look fantastic too!
Swap out old, discoloured, or broken plastic Tupperware for used glass jars and sealable tins! These alternatives are great for soup and stews, and they are even suitable for freezing dishes – just leave an inch at the top of the jar for food to expand into and prevent the glass from breaking.
1. Beware of green-washing
Unfortunately, just because a plastic product is 100% recyclable doesn’t mean it will be recycled, and in the age of greenwashing it can be hard to know which products are the best for both the planet and our wallets.
Beware of products which offer vague statements like ‘made from recycled plastic’ or ‘now contains 50% more recycled plastic’ – products such as these could contain as little as 2% recycled plastic and cost you almost double the price!
2. Take it slow
Reducing plastic in your home is a marathon, not a sprint! Take time to discover what products work for you and invest in long-term, sustainable solutions rather than short-term fixes.
3. Buy in person
In the age of Amazon Prime and next-day delivery, it’s easy to fall into the trap of ordering home décor online – but how often have you been left disappointed with the quality of a cushion cover or lampshade once it’s arrived? Even worse, how often have you been dismayed at how much plastic these items come wrapped inside?
By waiting a little longer and purchasing items in person, you can assess a product’s quality before you buy, meaning you don’t need to return poor-quality items and condemn more plastic packaging to landfill!
Hoping to reduce your carbon footprint and be kinder to the planet? A new home can be 57% more energy efficient than a Victorian home which has undergone modern improvements!
These savings are thanks to modern building practices and technology used by new home builders like Erris Homes, including combination boilers, well-insulated cavity walls, and water-saving facilities.
Find your nearest Erris Homes development and start your journey into a new energy-efficient home today!