Doing your bit for the environment doesn't have to be complicated. Steph from Expert Home Tips is here to share 10 easy ways to be more eco-friendly that you can start putting into action today.
Shop more sustainably
One of the biggest problems when it comes to waste is food packaging. Packaging accounts for up to, a monumental third, of waste in the UK (most of which is food-related) You can help reduce this amount every time you shop by making a conscious effort to choose produce with little-to-no packaging. This includes opting for loose fruit and veg over that which is pre-bagged, shopping at your local market and taking your own shopper, and buying fresh cuts of meat wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
Discover the charm of charity shops
Charity shops serve three brilliant purposes: they provide a second life for your preloved clothes and homewares, raise money for great causes and offer a budget shopping option that actually helps the environment. Fashion - and fast fashion in particular - is incredibly taxing on resources. By choosing to buy second-hand, you're helping to get the most out of garments already in circulation, rather than encouraging the production of new ones, therefore decreasing your environmental footprint!
Bring your own coffee cup
Did you know that coffee cups actually contain plastic? Although they seem to be made of paper alone, the inside is coated in a thin layer of plastic to make them waterproof. We get through an astonishing 7 million of these cups. Every. Single. Day. You can help reduce this amount by investing in a reusable cup and getting your fellow coffee drinkers to do so too.
Save gift bags and wrapping paper
Some wrapping paper can't be recycled due to being glittery or metallic (meaning it's made from mixed materials and not just paper), and the same goes for gift bags. When it comes to receiving gifts, always try to unwrap your presents, and open bags, carefully. You'll be able to re-use them for crafts, or even when gifting future presents. This is eco-friendly at its best!
Go meat-free on Mondays
Joining in with Meat Free Mondays is an excellent way to be a little more eco-friendly every week. Just as the name suggests, participants avoid eating meat entirely on Mondays. This small gesture benefits your health, budget, and the environment too. It's an excellent way to get the whole office/household involved in doing their bit, and educate them on some of the consequences of excessive meat consumption.
One bin is rubbish - get a second for recycling
Recycle for London have recently launched their One Bin Is Rubbish campaign, to encourage fellow Londoners to make recycling a priority in their homes. Finding room for a recycling bin is no easy task in compact housing, but it's certainly not impossible. Consider using a laundry bag tied to a hook, a box in an IKEA Kallax unit, or even putting up a new, wide shelf to house a recycling box in your home
Reduce food waste
We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK. A bit of savvy shopping and planning could reduce your contribution to this devastating figure, as well as save you around £60 a month (for an average family of four) For a start, it's always a good idea to make a plan for the week. Before you go food shopping, see how much you really need by checking your calendar for the week. If your plans change often, pick up ingredients for meals that can be frozen, such as stews and curries. Another way to avoid food waste is to meal prep (batch cooking on the weekend). This not only involves making a plan - preventing you from getting carried away in the supermarket - but also uses up all the food in one go for the week, ensuring nothing is left over. It may seem daunting at first, but it's an easy way to be more eco-friendly that you'll soon get the hang of.
Slash your shower time
Being more eco-friendly doesn't just help the environment, but often your budget too. This is definitely the case when it comes to reducing your shower time. Challenge yourself to cut yours down by a minute today (the average time is 9 minutes), and watch your water bill fall each month.
Always use a Bag for Life
Plastic bag usage has dropped by 85% since the introduction of the 5p charge - pretty impressive huh? The problem is, many of us are still forgetting our Bags For Life at home, and buying a new one when we shop. Whilst you may not be throwing them away, this will, eventually, still contribute to the UK's plastic problem. To make sure you're always prepared, keep a foldable reusable bag in your coat pocket or handbag, a couple in your car, and one in your office drawer.
Switch to paperless bills
Are you still getting bills through the letterbox? If so, it's time to stop! All utilities, banks and even shops offer online bills, statements and receipts nowadays. This really helps to reduce paper usage, whilst also keeping your home free of clutter. Online bills not only help the environment, but are also easier to refer back to. Make the switch online today to be effortlessly eco-friendly every month.
Follow Expert Home Tips on Twitter:@experthometips