Living More Sustainably
One of the focuses for me over the next few months is going to be increasing the ways in which we can live a more sustainable family lifestyle.
I’m very conscious of the ongoing damage to our planet, climate and Eco-system and understand that my lifestyle choices contribute to that. Some people ‘go-green’ solely for the environment but living a more sustainable life can save you money too.
I’ll be sharing simple ways to live more sustainably here on the blog – and keeping you updated about how we are doing as a family too. You might already be doing some of them, which is great, but I think that every small step we take as individuals will go some way to helping the World.
Around the House
There are lots of really simple ways in which you can live more sustainably – just by making a few changes around your home.
You can see my post of the 5 R’s of Zero-Waste here – where I talk about a few of the changes we have made in the past.
Invest in Eco-friendly appliances
By buying the most energy efficient appliance that you can afford you will not only be helping the environment but will also be saving yourself money in the long term. These appliances use much less energy so reduce your energy output and the cost of running them – double whammy! Also if you’ve only got a few bits to wash why not try hand-washing? When the weather gets warmer I have plans to sit outside in the garden and do a few washes the way that my nan did for years.
Ditch the Tumble-Dryer
Tumble-dryers are huge energy-wasters. Yes it’s convenient but powered dryers are costly to run and can damage clothes over time. It’s much better for the environment and your pocket to hang or line dry clothes wherever possible. I’ve tried investing in functional and pretty traditional laundry items so that doing the laundry this way becomes a more enjoyable experience rather than an onerous chore.
Maintain your appliances
Whilst on the subject of appliances – simple maintenance of them will help them to be more energy efficient. For example ensuring that your freezer is defrosted regularly will not only help it to last longer but will also make it more efficient. Also the longer an appliance lasts – the less you are having to send to landfill.
Turn on the lights in here baby
Well ‘off’ actually – use natural daylight as much as possible and when you do have to switch on the lights switch to LED bulbs – they last longer and use less energy. I love nothing more than a chilled evening at home with just candlelight – it’s romantic and cozy. Candles aren’t always the most eco-friendly choice in themselves but I try to stick to beeswax or soy candles with wooden wicks and I buy from local makers whenever I can afford it.
Switch off Devices
Switch off your devices whenever they aren’t being used. Energy conservation is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Even leaving devices on standby uses up energy unnecessarily so make sure you are hitting the off-switch.
Brr it’s Cold in here!
Instead of reaching for the heating add some extra layers. Wear slippers around the house to keep your feet warm and keep a selection of cozy blankets in the house. Personally when it’s miserable outside I love nothing more than snuggling on the sofa under a blanket, reading a good book!
Also look into insulating your home – the right insulation helps your home to retain heat and so reduces your heating bill and energy consumption! We’ve put foil at the backs of our radiators, got draft excluders and put curtains up at the windows.
Simply increasing your soft furnishings – such as having rugs, blankets and curtains in a room will help keep it warm too. If we owned our house I would get the attic insulated but our landlord doesn’t want that sadly.
Save Water (drink beer?!)
Water is a valuable resource and can be saved in a variety of ways. You can save water by getting a shower-head that reduces the amount of water you use per shower, flush the toilet less, water your garden with a watering can instead of a hose or sprinkler, use waste water to water your plants and more.
Reduce, Recycle and Re-use
I wrote before about reducing waste, recycling and re-using where possible – over here.
One of the biggest and simplest ways we have become more sustainable and reduced waste is to say no to single-use plastics. We no longer have straws, use glass water bottles that we can refill and Scott and I have switched over to reusable coffee cups.
We have done a lot of up-cycling projects around the house – from painting an antique wardrobe to make it fit in with Theo’s nursery, to creating pieces out of discarded pallet wood. And we recycle anything that is recyclable when we do have to throw rubbish out.
One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is thrift shopping – I love that preloved items come with their own story. A lot of pieces in our home have been found in charity shops, at vintage fairs or on good old eBay.
This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and be more sustainable – you are preventing something going to landfill, saving money and giving new life to unwanted items. For me there’s something so charming about mismatched pieces that give you joy.
You can make some really simple swaps around the house which will help you to live more sustainably. For example when your toothbrush needs replacing go for a bamboo one instead of a plastic one. Or choose a bar of soap instead of liquid soap in a plastic container.
Eat Less Meat
If you follow a Keto diet like me this one can be quite difficult but it really does make such a big impact on the environment. I’ve cut down on meat – choosing to have vegetarian options a couple of nights a week. I no longer have milk (although I do have cheese and butter!) and we don’t have chocolate any more either. Not everybody can or wants to be vegan but simply having one meat-free dinner a week is a good change to make.
According to worldwildlife.org, it takes about 750 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of wheat, and it takes 100,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef. That’s a huge difference.
If you don’t want to cut down then try making more sustainable choices – organic, grass-fed beef and free range eggs for example – even better if you can buy from an independent butcher or market stall holder.
Grow your own
You don’t need a garden to be able to grow some of your own herbs, fruit and vegetables – there are plenty of herbs and produce such as tomatoes that can be grown on your windowsills indoors. Some fruits such as citrus fruits actually grow much better indoors here in the UK.
I’ve got rosemary, chives, basil, mint, oregano and parsley growing in small pots at my front door at the moment. I’m planning to add some lemongrass and dill too. And we are working on establishing a little veggie bed in our small urban garden.
Buying food from local farmer’s markets or delis can be pretty expensive compared to standard grocery shopping. I can’t afford to feed my family organic, local produce all of the time but I’m trying once a month to do a food shop from local suppliers.
I’ve also found some lovely little independent boutiques where I purchase gifts for friends and families – the products are handmade locally so aren’t shipped across the World and also it’s nice to support local crafters.
Make your own cleaning supplies
Not only does this help the environment but I’d much rather utilise non-toxic products around my home.
Myself, Theo and Lily all suffer from asthma and various skin complaints like eczema and I’ve done a lot of reading around the idea that these are effected by the cleaning products used in our environments.
So there you have some simple ideas to become more sustainable around your home. There are so many ways you can make little changes but hopefully these ones are a good starting point. Let me know what you do already or plan to change in order to be more sustainable.