In recent years, the urgency of the climate crisis has dominated the headlines, prompting more and more people around the world to consider their impact on the planet.
If you’re concerned about environmental issues, then you’re not alone – the Local Government Association found that 63% of Brits are worried about climate change.
Fortunately, there are some changes you can make in your day-to-day life that can contribute to a healthier planet. Continue reading to discover 10 of these simple, yet effective, eco-friendly switches.
1. Install a smart thermostat
A helpful way to reduce your energy consumption and environmental impact is by installing a smart thermostat in your home.
Google’s Nest thermostat, for instance, states that it can save the average user 10% on their heating bills.
This is because you can connect these smart thermometers to your central heating or boiler through Wi-Fi, giving you remote control of your heating system from your mobile phone.
Moreover, they can even employ presence sensing technology to automatically adjust your heating, switch the system on and off when you leave your home, and even remember your home’s heating patterns, all optimising your energy use.
2. Recycle old devices
Instead of letting old phones, smart watches, and other devices around the house gather dust, it may be more eco-friendly to recycle them.
Many companies accept your old devices you no longer use, and may even give you cash in return.
This not only reduces landfill waste, but can also prevent harmful toxins within your devices, such as lead, mercury, or beryllium, from seeping into the earth and causing damage.
3. Install energy-efficient lighting
Another relatively simple method to make your home eco-friendlier is to switch to more energy-efficient LED bulbs.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, if you replace all of the bulbs in your home with LED equivalents, you could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50kg a year. This would be the same as driving your car around for 145 miles.
Considering that the above source states that lighting makes up 11% of the average UK household’s electricity consumption, this simple change can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Push back against “fast fashion”
It may also be worth avoiding purchasing clothing from “fast fashion” brands. This is essentially cheap clothing that retailers rapidly produce to keep up with the latest trends, and it can have a considerable effect on the environment.
Indeed, Oxfam reveals that the world uses an estimated 80 billion pieces of clothing each year, and the necessary textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined.
To fight back against fast fashion, you may want to think about purchasing second-hand clothes from charity shops more often. By doing so, you’re essentially breathing new life into articles of clothing.
It’s also important to consider clothes that are made with sustainable materials, such as recycled and organic cotton, hemp, and wool.
5. Shop for local produce
While you may have a favourite ingredient from Spain or France, it may be prudent to shop exclusively for local produce instead.
This is because the emission output from transport, refrigeration, and other production-heavy processes to keep your food fresh is significant.
Indeed, Better Food reveals that the average fresh food item travels roughly 1,500 miles to arrive at your table.
Meanwhile, local produce reduces these emissions, and even tends to have higher nutritional value since it spends less time from the source, benefiting both your health and the environment.
6. Consider eco-friendly bathroom products
Many bathroom products you use in your day-to-day life tend to be single-use and contribute to excessive plastic waste. As such, you may want to consider switching to reusable and recyclable products.
For instance, some bath products now prioritise using recyclable materials and ingredients free from synthetic fragrances.
Additionally, you could use deodorant with plastic-free packaging, or even toothpaste that contains mineral-rich powders instead of chemicals, all of which could contribute to a more sustainable bathroom routine.
7. Include draft excluders in your home
A straightforward way to reduce your energy consumption and, in turn, help the environment is to place draft excluders at the bottom of your doors.
This can keep warm air in and cold air out, meaning you won’t need to heat your home as much.
While there are permanent draft excluders you fix to the bottom of your doors, you could simply purchase a temporary one, much like a long slender pillow, that you rest at the bottom of your door, meaning no tricky installations are required.
8. Unplug any devices that aren’t in use or switch them off at the wall
While you may think your devices don’t draw power when you aren’t actively using them, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Indeed, data from the smart meter app, Loop, found that the average UK household could be wasting up to £140 annually through “phantom load”.
This is when your devices continue to draw a current even if you aren’t using them. Even though the energy consumption tends to be less significant, it still adds up over time.
As such, it’s wise to switch any of your devices off at the wall, or even unplug them, when they’re not in use.
9. Donate any old clothes to charity
If you have a cupboard full of old clothes you don’t wear anymore, or have children who have outgrown their old threads, it may be worth donating them to charity rather than simply throwing them away.
The environmental benefits of doing so are significant, as Oxfam reveals that UK households throw away an estimated 300,000 tonnes of clothing each year, most destined for landfill.
Instead, donating clothes helps you mitigate the environmental impacts of waste, and your once-favourite piece of fashion could find a new home.
10. Limit food waste wherever possible
Sometimes, your eyes can be bigger than your belly, and you may make too much food. In this instance, you may decide to simply throw the leftovers away.
However, this can be considerably harmful to the environment. Indeed, Waste Managed reveals that the UK wastes around 9.52 million tonnes of food each year, enough to feed upwards of 30 million people a year.
It also found that food waste in the UK generates around 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
To limit food waste, it may be wise to portion your meals reasonably and only buy what you need.
If you do have some food left over after a meal, you may want to invest in a composting bin to transform waste into nourishment for your favourite flowers.
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