June 10th, 2021
5 easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly
In recent years, many ordinary Brits have taken an interest in what they can do to help reduce their carbon footprint.
According to a recent survey by YouGov, more Brits were worried about climate change than the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering how you can do your bit. Read on for five easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Choose a good mixture of houseplants
During the national lockdowns, there was a spike in the sales of houseplants as many Brits sought to beautify their homes due to the rise of remote working.
Not only are they beautiful, but these plants can also help to make your home more eco-friendly. All plants absorb carbon dioxide, but many others can also remove other harmful molecules from the air.
For example, snake plants are able to absorb toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and xylene from the air. Similarly, spider plants are known to be effective at scrubbing glue particles out of the air, which can potentially cause breathing problems for people with disorders such as asthma.
2. Grow your own vegetables
Not only is gardening a fun and rewarding activity, but it can also be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
This is because many fruits and vegetables travel a significant distance from the farm to your local supermarket. Green beans from China and apples from South Africa might be good for you, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for the planet.
These “food miles” all add up, which is why growing your own vegetables can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. You may want to prioritise fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, and peas as they tend to need to be transported further.
Growing your own food also has the added benefit of reducing your amount of plastic waste.
3. Choose natural furnishings for your home
One major environmental problem that scientists have highlighted in recent years has been the prevalence of plastic microfibres in the ocean. While natural fibres, such as wool and cotton, are biodegradable, experts believe these microplastics could linger in the environment for hundreds of years.
According to reports published by the BBC, one of the biggest causes for the release of these microfibres is when you wash synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester. When you replace your synthetic furnishings with natural ones, you can reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment.
Furthermore, there may also be health risks associated with breathing in these microfibres.
According to a report, published in the Guardian, inhalation of these plastics can lead to serious breathing difficulties in the long term. More worryingly, a 1998 study raised the possibility that it could also increase your risk of lung cancer.
If you have synthetic fabrics on surfaces with heavy wear and tear, such as carpets and furniture, then you may be unknowingly releasing these particles into the air. Opting for more natural materials in your home, such as wool and cotton, you can reduce the risk to your health and help the environment at the same time.
4. Make your garden more wildlife-friendly
Another great way you can do your bit for the environment is by making your garden more friendly to wildlife.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to plant flowers that encourage pollinators in your garden. Plants such as lavender, buddleia, and foxgloves are all useful for attracting bees, as the bright colours help them to find the flowers.
If you want more information about which plants are best for pollinators, check out the Royal Horticultural Society’s free guide, which can tell you what to plant and when.
Installing things like bird baths and hedgehog homes can also be a great way of encouraging biodiversity in your garden and can have a variety of useful benefits, such as controlling pests. Birds such as great tits, robins, and sparrows all love to snack on insects, while hedgehogs can keep slugs away from your plants.
If you want to know more about the birds which visit your garden, you can download the app Warblr, which can identify British birds by their song. This data is used to monitor their populations and aid conservation efforts.
5. Reduce your energy consumption when working from home
Even now that the lockdowns are over, many people want to continue working remotely, either flexibly or full time. If you’re still working from home, it’s important to be aware of your increased energy usage.
With the need to be online throughout the day, it makes sense why you would need to use more electricity. However, trying to reduce your consumption can not only save you money but also reduce your carbon footprint.
Even small acts such as turning off devices that you don’t use and using more energy-efficient equipment can all have sizeable impacts in the long term.
Another useful way to reduce your environmental impact is to switch to Ecosia as your main search engine. This company runs on renewable energy and uses its profits to plant trees to help fight climate change.