Lots of us don’t really take the time to think about the impact our day-to-day living has on the environment. However, with the average person disposing of about 4.4lbs of waste per day, that number soon racks up over the course of a year.
Not to mention the amount of energy used to charge our range of devices, to fuel our appliances, and to regulate the temperature in our homes with heat and air systems constantly running.
Of course, it’s something that we’ve all become accustomed to overtime. Additionally, any efforts we may have made to reduce our waste from single-use products, making the transition to reusable products abruptly came to a close when fears over virus spreading meant that people didn’t want to risk contamination using unsanitary products.
However, it’s not too late to start considering how and what we can do to help to minimize our personal impact on the world around us. Living a sustainable lifestyle or making small efforts to make a change is something that we are all able to play a part in eliminating some of the issues that will face everybody in the future.
The best news is that you don’t have to do everything perfectly and to change your lifestyle completely. Simple small efforts can and will make the world of difference–and they all start within the home.
Want to learn how your small but effective efforts can change your world? Keep reading below to find out more.
Start Simple- change how you shop
You don’t have to go all or nothing when it comes to making certain changes throughout your home. Start simple. Throughout the pandemic lockdown, you may have begun to shop online for essentials such as food, toiletries, and clothing to avoid spending too much time in public.
Lots of people found themselves taking in packages daily. However, with those packages comes a lot of environmental impacts. Think about how many processes the item has been through before it gets to your door- not to mention the fuel used for shipping and local delivery to your door. Nobody is telling you to stop shopping, or indeed, shopping online, but there are a few ways that you can become a more conscious shopper.
When food shopping, did you know that it is cheaper to buy loose products? Not only will this save on unnecessary packaging, but it also means that you’re unlikely to waste money on products beyond what you need. Following a recipe that needs just one carrot? Then buy just one. You can also get your hands on specialist veggie bags for when you’re at the grocery store which means you don’t have to use single-use plastic fruit and veggie bags throughout your shop.
Additionally, when buying snacks, think about how much plastic gets thrown away when you buy snack bags of chips, nuts, pretzels, etc. Buying larger bags is a much cheaper way of buying them, and you can set your own portion sizes by using reusable food storage containers.
You don’t have to be perfect when it comes to shopping smarter, but small changes can make the world of difference.
Nobody says you can’t make a difference while shopping online, or that you have to stop.
If you combine your shipments, you’re not only saving on packaging, but you’re saving your local delivery person’s gas mileage on their vehicle instead of doing multiple shipments. Yes, your premium membership from a leading online shopping retail giant may enable you to get things delivered to you on the same day, but waiting a couple of extra days could decrease your carbon footprint significantly.
Don’t buy new
They say that ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure’, and this is totally the case when it comes to buying certain things. Your local thrift store is a treasure trove of stuff that others no longer want, but that you may need.
Need new glasses and plates for your home? Heading to the store could see you spending several dollars on a single plate or glass whereas you can get several for the same price at your local thrift store– meaning you can save items that would otherwise just be thrown away.
Check out local yard sales and online marketplaces to get your hands on some great items.
Want a unique piece of furniture? Find something to upcycle that nobody else has. It’s a great way of reducing your carbon footprint while giving your home a design lift at the same time.
Invest In Your Home
Of course, there are many ways in which you can improve your carbon footprint from inside your home, too.
There are plenty of things within the home that needs doing- not only for aesthetic purposes but to also help improve the carbon emissions and keep your fuel costs down.
It’s worth taking the time to think about how heat is contained in your home. Heat can escape and cold can enter through cracks and gaps in your windows and doors, making any effort to keep your home warm fruitless.
If that’s the case for your home it is worth contacting a window replacement company and investing in windows that do the job of insulating better. Double or triple-glazed windows are significantly more energy-efficient than single glazed. This is because the glass protects your home from the elements, keeps hot air in, and cold air out.
A house that doesn’t have sufficient insulation will lose a lot of heat through the walls, too. Older houses, in particular, will tend to only have insulated attics. That’s because people tend to believe that ‘heat rises’. While that is the case, it also escapes through insufficiently insulated walls. It’s worth having somebody check that your insulation is working properly so that you don’t have to deal with a whole host of other issues such as damage through excess moisture.
Get your AC unit serviced
AC units that are working insufficiently just eat up money. One of the most common issues with heat and air systems is filters that are either broken or dirty.
Filters should be cleaned or changed every three months. The reason for this is that debris and dirt can become trapped as it passes through your system causing blockages. The blockages will mean that while your AC unit is functionally working, the blocked filter prevents the impact of the unit from being felt. This will commonly lead to people switching their units up higher. The longer and higher you keep your AC units on for the more fuel used which will have an impact on your carbon footprint as well as the amount your bills come to. Get your AC unit fixed so you can enjoy heat and air as and when you need it.
Eat and drink consciously
How we eat and drink can play a part in how much of an environmental impact we have. We looked at shopping habits above, but what about what you eat, too?
Grow your own
Growing some of your own produce may sound like a scary concept-especially if you haven’t been blessed with a green thumb. What about if you haven’t got adequate space to grow things at home?
Start by growing your own herbs such as basil, oregano, and chives in window boxes. They are easy to grow and don’t require much maintenance, with the best thing being that they are available on hand as and when you need them.
For people with access to more garden space, tomatoes and zucchinis are easy to grow at certain times of the year.
Skip your takeout coffee
Getting a takeout coffee before work can be a great occasional treat, but making a habit of it can cost the earth dearly–and not just your wallet.
While using coffee pods in specialized machines is the easy, cheaper option than spending your hard-earned cash on a coffee shop espresso every day- they, too have their negative impact on the environment. They are seldom recyclable, and often end up in the landfill. An old-fashioned coffee pot with ground coffee is just as delicious and brings the joy of sharing back into drinking coffee. Simply fill the pot with water and use the grainy water to feed the plants or your vegetable garden.
Store Your Leftovers
Storing your leftovers is a fantastic, simple way to promote greener living. It’s surprising how much good food is wasted each day simply because of a lack of storage solutions for leftovers. Put them into a tub and store it in the fridge or deep freezer- it’ll keep for a while in there and makes thinking about lunch the next day a lot easier! With so many shapes and sizes on the market, these plastic pots are designed to be used and reused over and over again–so they promote ditching single-use containers once and for all!
Get creative with what’s left from dinner the night before. If you don’t want to simply reheat, then mixing things with salad leaves, or putting them into a wrap creates a diverse meal that can be used for lunch the next day.
Everybody has the potential to make small changes around their homes that will create a bigger impact later down the line.