When we think about sustainable living, the first thing that comes to mind might be a quaint countryside cottage, with a flourishing garden and a colour-coded line of recycle bins out front. Perhaps a shiny new eco-home, equipped with solar panels and a composting toilet. This is not what living spaces look like for most of us. However, even if our homes don’t fit entirely in the ‘eco’ category, there are still plenty of ways we can still live a little more sustainably, conserve energy (ergo, money) and still make our own impact on the planet a little more positive.
Sustainable living ideas at home
When it comes to home life, there are many easy swaps or ideas we can incorporate to reduce our waste, become more eco-conscious, and live in a more sustainable manner. Even small actions that we take on a daily basis can lead to a greater cumulative change if we all take part. But, where to start? Here are a few ideas:
- Support renewable energy providers: Cuts emissions and stay warm
- Cooking food at home & eating locally: Cuts down on air miles and supports local farmers
- Reduce your food waste: Start a compost bin, get creative with leftovers and don't be put off by a little imperfection!
- Divide that recycling: Did you know, that of the 40 million tons of plastic waste created by the U.S. in 2021, only around 5% to 6% (or about two million tons) was recycled?
Clean up your act - with eco-friendly products
We all want to scrub up well, and it's better not to harm nature while doing so. For ourselves, our kitchen floors, and our shared planet, try to opt for non-toxic cleaning products for our bodies and our homes. Boycotting products that endanger wildlife is often the only way to remove these products from circulation. Gels and liquids we use on our skin or the harsh chemicals we drench our floors with can leach into the surrounding landscape, local rivers or water bodies, decimating local plants and wildlife. Polluted waterways are a serious issue in many areas worldwide, including city sewer systems and coastlines, which are being flooded with polluted waters, wet wipes and plastic trash. By paying attention to labels, disposing of items properly and avoiding certain products, we can do a world of good to our surroundings.
Ideas for living sustainably...on the road
The plasticised, single-use coffee cup you toss in the waste bin in the morning is not often the part you remember most about the life-giving, hot coffee you consume. However, when we are not exhausted and stressed from travel delays, we can plan ahead, give our future selves a break, and pack a reusable travel mug or bottle for those emergency beverages. Meanwhile, saving us from a growing amount of difficult-to-recycle plastic waste. Packing snacks and meals to take with you in reusable tupperware or silicone sandwich bags can save a lot of single-use packaging from ending up as an unwelcome guest during your lunch. Turning down unnecessary cutlery, napkins, drink lids and more can all keep your travel a little more sustainable.
Switch it up to live more sustainably
Looking after the planet is much easier than many think, and can begin with many exciting, easy swaps to your everyday habits. Take a taste of the following:
- Green up your diet: Switching up meat for veg dramatically lowers your carbon footprint.
- Buy less, buy better & try second-hand shopping: Quality items survive the wear and tear of a long, useful lifetime. Try apps like Depop, Vinted, Ebay and many more - switch up your Instagram fix with appealing apps like these to explore vintage shopping, while cutting down on waste and combating harmful fast fashion at the same time.
- Turn down the heat: This is not always feasible, with wintry weather periods coming increasingly frequently, but if possible, find ways to insulate your house with rugs and draft excluders, and remember to put on those extra layers when at home.
For more eco-living ideas to up your sustainable travel game, click here.
Written by Cicely Sinclair