With the majority of us forced to spend more time at home this year, there’s never been a better time to slow down and reflect on the way we live. However when it comes to creating a more eco-friendly home, it can be hard to know where to begin.
Your home is your sanctuary. It’s here you can trial eco-minded habits, and make mindful choices that will not only benefit the planet but also transform the way you approach living.
So why not create your very own urban eco-retreat? From the simple to the hardcore, here’s our list of eco-friendly home hacks you can implement to live a little more sustainably.
The kitchen is probably the room where most people feel like they’re doing pretty well, from recycling to buying organic produce, but there’s lots of opportunities to make your eco-friendly home even greener.
- Own a coffee machine : Australians love their coffee but they often don’t know that takeaway coffee cups cannot be recycled (they are lined with a plastic membrane that makes them waterproof). The use of keep-cups is thankfully on the rise (up 292% according to the Square Australian Coffee Report) but why not start making coffee yourself at home? Not only is it much better for the planet, it’s also a blessing for your wallet. Don’t worry about buying an expensive barista machine, Italian mocha machines and French presses are a great way to hop on the DIY coffee train.
- Keep coffee ground : once you’ve started making your own cuppa, don’t throw away the precious coffee ground, it can work wonders to capture bad smells in your fridge or as an exfoliant (more on this when we move on to the bathroom).
- Start a compost bin: if your fridge always smells amazing and you prefer raw sugar for your DIY exfoliants, you can dispose of your coffee ground in a compost bin. Don’t have a backyard or a green thumb ? Not to worry, plenty of community gardens will gladly receive your compost. Find the closest to you on your local council’s website.
- Keep your soft plastics aside : 8 out of 10 councils consider soft plastics to be the biggest problem in the recycling process as they jam the machinery. The good news is that you can take your soft plastics to most supermarkets where you’ll find soft plastics collection points.
- Buy in bulk : Lots of your pantry essentials can be purchased in bulk and stored in glass or metal containers (flour, pasta, rice, nuts, sugar, spices etc).
- Switch to soap: washing our hands is now more important than ever and here’s to hope people will keep up the good work. But we don’t have to keep buying plastic bottles in order to keep our hands clean, a bar of soap is just as effective. And for those who fear soap will be too harsh on their skin, goat’s milk soap is a great alternative.
- Cook smart : There’s another pandemic at play in Australia and it’s the rise of the Takeaway Nation. According to the latest Eating Out report by Future Food, there were 4.5 millions takeaway transactions every DAY in Australia in FY 2019. The best way to avoid hitting the delivery apps after a hard day of work is to be smart when you shop for groceries. Buy things that you know you’ll cook multiple times and always ask yourself what you can make with what’s in your fride before buying more.
- Ditch plastic : Fruits and vegetables are already naturally wrapped, so avoid purchasing fresh produce wrapped in plastic. Even better, head to your local growers’ market with your reusable produce bags on the weekend, to buy straight from the producers. If you do need to wrap or store something, try using re-usable silicone ziplock containers, or beewswax wraps as they come in gorgeous patterns.
Nothing beats that fresh feeling after a good shower but there’s ways you can avoid trashing the planet as you clean your body.
- Switch to soap (again): If soap is good for your hands, it’s good for the rest of your body. There’s lots of enchanting soap scents you can shop for, so go ahead and find your favourites.
- Give a crap: Recycled toilet paper is probably the one item that everybody should be able to switch to without any concerns. The whole purpose of toilet paper is to end up down the drain. How, in 2020, businesses are still chopping down trees to make toilet paper is a mind boggling mystery. Supermarkets don’t always have recycled toilet paper on offer so order online. It will also save you the trouble of having to carry one of those massive packs next time you go to the shops.
- Make coffee scrub: Just take a handful of coffee ground (from your newly purchased coffee machine) and rub it on your skin in circular motions, staying away from your face. Rinse then wash with a bar of soap and marvel at how smooth your skin feels.
- Go bamboo: Every year, Australia throws away over 30 million plastic toothbrushes, that are not recycled, which means they end up in our landfill or the ocean. Thinc Eco have designed a bamboo toothbrush perfect for keeping your teeth squeaky clean, while also being eco-friendly. The bristles are made from a combination of nylon, bamboo and charcoal.
- Wash cooler: set your washing machine to eco-wash and choose cold water, except for delicate garments that have specific care instructions.
If you’ve made your way through the kitchen and bathroom, your eco-friendly home makeover is almost complete. Here are some more changes you can make to your sleeping nook.
- Good threads: As the French Proverb says “There’s no better pillow than a clear conscience”, so double up on those sweet dreams with these bed sheets made from 100% hemp linen. Hemp can produce 250% more fibre than cotton and 600% more fibre than flax using the same amount of land. Moreover, hemp does not exhaust the soil meaning better land utilisation. Plus, for every online purchase, a percentage of proceeds goes toward planting a native tree in Australia on the customer’s behalf.
- Get on top of your closet: With the rise of fast fashion and re-targeting ads, chances are you bought clothes online that you didn’t love but weren’t bad enough to warrant a return. Go through your closet with a fine tooth comb and really ask yourself whether you wear everything that’s in there. When the answer is no, put it aside and organise a clothes swap with your friends. Everybody brings what they no longer wear and someone else claims it. Fun, refreshing and free.
- Switch off: Slapping your laptop shut is quick, but actually turning it off will not only save energy but also improve its performance in the long run. Go even further by switching off all home appliances for a few hours each day to save energy, or going without air-con for one day less each week.
Transforming your space to create a more eco-friendly home will take some testing and tweaking but as long as you’re willing to try new things, you’re on the right path. And conveniently, living sustainably often means saving money so chances are you’ll want to stick to your new habits, for the sake of your future as well as the planet.
Need more inspiration?
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