This week is National Recycling Week, and we’re thinking about all the ways in which we can help the environment and promote zero waste within our homes. So we thought, what better way than to ask our own team about their green habits and any useful tips they had on being more eco-friendly.
1. Cut Down On Plastic Packaging
Plastic packaging in the UK accounts for nearly 70% of our plastic waste1, which is a huge cause for concern. But with a few simple steps, you can cut down on your use of single-use plastics and help do your bit for the planet.
‘As part of your weekly shop, visit your local grocery stores, butchers or markets to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging’ (and of course remember to take your bag for life with you).
‘Check for zero waste shops in your area, to reduce single-use plastic’. Visit the Zero Waste Network here to find out where your nearest shops are’.
‘Don’t buy your milk from the supermarket. Instead get it delivered in glass bottles to your home and taken away, to avoid buying plastic bottles’. Websites like ‘Milk and More’ simply offer an online weekly subscription.
‘Switch to an eco-friendly toilet roll (such as the brand Who Gives a Crap). You’ll also be donating towards charity, as they contribute 50% of their profits to help those who need access to clean water and a toilet’.
2. Get a Smart Meter
Be in the know, when it comes to your home energy. A smart meter allows you to see what your current usage is and where you can improve. Our team recommend having one installed, as it’s helped them to make small changes and big savings. Including switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, less tumble drying (and more hang drying) and even turning standby appliances off. It’s the little things that can make a big difference to the planet– plus you’ll save money in the long run. Winning!
3. Think Reusable Every Time
Our homes are often filled with single use items or products that perish after so long including washing up sponges, wet wipes, kitchen roll (…and many more). However to do our bit and reduce our waste, we must look for more reusable products that we can wash and use time and time again.
‘Use cotton handkerchiefs and serviettes as an alternative to tissue or kitchen roll’.
‘Use machine washable cleaning cloths and kitchen scrubbers rather than throwaway ones’
‘Swap single use cotton pads and makeup wipes for a reusable face cloth’.
Useful sites for eco-friendly items include:
4) Choose Eco Cleaning Products
There are many eco-friendly brands for cleaning your dishes, clothes and home with. Brands like Smol deliver refillable, returnable and recyclable packs whilst reducing plastic, chemicals and carbon. At Smol, you can order dishwasher tablets, laundry capsules and non-toxic surface sprays (plus a free trial if you’re not convinced).
Another great tip from the team:
‘Invest in an Eco Egg Laundry Egg, it lasts for 70 washes and replaces both washing detergent and fabric softener’
The Eco Egg Laundry Egg helps to remove up to 40 single-use plastic bottles per household each year and works by using mineral pellets. See here.
5) Grow Your Own Herbs
Do you like cooking with herbs? Have a go at planting your own either in your garden, a planter, or even a window box. Many of the UK’s shop bought herbs arrive via aeroplanes, so to cut down on emissions and plastic packaging from shops, this could be a great alternative. Simply cut off what you need at home with zero waste. You can find many affordable herb starter kits from local stores (or online like this one from ‘The Stem’ here).
6) Upcycle or Sell Your Old Furniture
You’ve heard the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Well that saying could be true when it comes to your old furniture.
Tips from the team:
‘Sell your old furniture on sites like Facebook Market, you can list it as collection only too so that someone in your local area can collect straight from your door’.
‘If you’re looking to buy new furniture without the cost, look at websites such as Freecycle where you can pick up things for free near you’
Upcycling is quite the trend these days, so why not try your hand at a bit of painting or re-upholstering and freshen up those old chairs and sideboards. You could even fall back in love with your own furniture from a little makeover.
7) Sustainable Clothing
Less than 1% of the materials used to make clothes get recycled each year. This means that thousands of tonnes of textiles end up in landfills3. Which is why it’s so important to invest in fewer more expensive items that last longer and choose sustainably made clothing when possible.
The retailer H&M are strongly committed to this and have even launched a ‘conscious collection’ made from 100% recycled, organic or other sustainable materials. Check out their garment collecting programme too, where you can drop off your unused clothes and receive a voucher to spend in store.
More tips from the team:
‘Sell your old clothes on Facebook market or eBay. Or download selling apps like Shpock or Vinted’. It’s always good to give back to your community too, so don’t forget to visit your local charity shop to donate your clothes to a good cause.
‘Organise a clothes swap event either locally or just with your family and friends’. Prefer doing things online? Websites like Swopped might work for you, where you send in your unwanted clothes, in return for credits to browse in store.
8) Tap Inserts / Eco Showerheads
Tap inserts are easy to fit and reduce the flow of your water every time you use the tap (helping the planet and saving you money!). You could even pick these up for free with your own water company. Eco-friendly shower heads are also becoming popular, which release water at a more eco-friendly rate. There are many brands to choose from, but here’s one affordable option on Amazon here.
Team tip: ‘Don’t run the shower before you get in. Turn the shower off in between washing / shampooing to save on water and buy a shower egg timer that sticks to the wall’
We found a handy egg shower timer here.
9) Look Out For Compostable Products
If it can’t be recycled, check to see if products are compostable. In other words, they break down over time into non-toxic natural matter.
Team Tip: ‘Switch your normal bin liners to compostable bin liners. Bower Collective are one brand who sell these.’ They even sell compostable dog-waste bags as well as many other eco goods.
10) Last But Not Least – Check Your Own Carbon Footprint
Hopefully you’ve picked up lots of tips in this blog as part of national recycle week. But before you start making your own changes, check out your current carbon footprint by filling out the WWF questionnaire here. Remember, even the littlest things can make a big difference when it comes to the environment, we just all need to do our bit!