Want your home to be green? Here's how
It has never been more important to go green than now. Although a huge amount of the pollution comes from businesses and commercial buildings, there is still so much that we can do at home. The good news is that with just a few little changes here and there we can all have a large and positive impact on environment. I thought I would share with you some of my personal favourite ways of going green.
I’m going to talk about things like Plastic free Fridays, recycled materials and eco paints as you can still be eco-friendly even if you are re-designing your home. Interior design is focusing more and more on how to implement eco-friendly design aspects in all types of styles. From vintage and retro to modern and contemporary, going green is fast becoming the new hot trend.
But in reality, it's more than a trend. It's a necessity. The good news? It may not be as hard to do as you think!
Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash
Plastic Free Fridays
Let’s start with Plastic Free Fridays. You may have seen this hashtag trending on Twitter and Instagram. It’s a way for us all to come together and join a growing society of people who want to actively help our environment. There are many ways to do this at home, some of the most popular are:
Non-plastic lunch boxes – There are loads of great alternatives out there which are perfect for schools and offices.
John Lewis currently stocks a fantastic Bamboo Lunch Pot. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world – it only takes a year to grow back after it’s been harvested. It is a hardy plant, that doesn’t need much water or any fertiliser to make it grow and thrive. And it is naturally anti-microbial, which makes it perfect for holding your food and ensuring that you've got the lunch you need to see you through. The lunch pot is biodegradable.
Another great choice is the PuTwo Lunch Box Leakproof Bento Box 2 Tier which also contains its own cutlery set (and we love it in black!)
No cling film – You can still ensure your food is fresh without using cling film. Try this natural beeswax food wrap instead.
Use a reusable water bottle – A little more expensive, I know, but by purchasing a new non-plastic water bottle means you are investing in something that should last for years and years. Check out this great article from The Independent that lists all of the best ones.
Klean Kanteen has a range of reusable water bottles that are all BPA-free. And Infruition Sport Fruit Infuser Water Bottles allow you to add your favourite fruit to infuse the water with a little taste - I do this often as I am not a big fan of plain water!
Buy your food from market stalls and not supermarkets as you can then avoid plastic packaging. Then only use eco-friendly reusable bags – I’m sure many of us already do this, but it really is a quick and easy way of making a positive impact on the environment.
Eco-living may sound like a brand new and daunting way of life but you’ll be surprised to know how easy this actually is. By this I’m talking more about small changes in the home that create a more eco-friendly environment, not that we should all rebuild our homes using only natural materials...
Let’s start with recycled materials. This new and exciting way of designing a room has become so popular that now commercial designers are even doing it. You might be thinking that recycled materials only really work with the vintage style, and although this does lend itself seamlessly to this style, you can still have a modern theme using old materials.
You can inject bright colours, rustic features and eye-catching furniture with recycled materials, just as easily as if you were using new materials, plus this choice is often much cheaper.
By buying local, pre-owned items you can add character, charm and a little bit of history into your home. Check out your local markets and talk to the owners, they are normally more than happy to chat about the items they have and will usually lower the price if you haggle.
If you are currently looking to re-decorate your home and would like to do it more eco-friendly then this isn’t a problem as there are many ways you can do this. One of them is through buying Eco Paints. There is a vast selection of colours and styles out there for you to choose from, all of which are made from Environmentally Friendly ingredients.
Although most paint that are eco will provide the high quality coverage you would expect from normal paints, some come in powder form and need to be mixed beforehand. Personally, I have not worked with eco-friendly paints before so cannot confirm their coverage ability. When buying eco paints, give the brand the dimensions of your room so they can accurately calculate how much of it you will need.
Below: Earthborn Paint is the brand of choice if you want to go eco.
Look at how energy efficient your home is currently, while decorating should you take this opportunity to invest in some thermal curtains or more efficient windows? There are many ways to check if your home needs this, to find out how more about energy efficient homes click here.
Avoiding carpet is a great way of going green when decorating your home. Carpet is full of chemicals and pollutants (and a source of volatile organic compounds - or VOC - that we used to find in high concentration in paint). It not only harms the planet when it's manufactured, but also releases all kinds of toxins into your home during its lifespan (and can increase the risk of asthma).
In this article, ethical and green living expert Lucy Siegle mentions that "a typical nylon-based carpet for a small two-bedroomed house demands the equivalent energy of 80 gallons of petrol." While buying 100% wool might seem like the obvious option, this still may be dyed with chemicals to alter its colour, so if you want to be sure, research carpets that have a good eco-friendly rating.
Composure Edge by Interface, eco-friendly carpets
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Some extra little touches
There are a few smaller ways in which you can go green that are quick and easy to do:
Candles - A lot of cheap candles contain the same harmful VOCs as standard paints. So always pick candles made from natural materials like soy or beeswax.
Plants - Houseplants breathe in carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen whilst also soaking up a lot of harmful toxins and pollutants, purifying the air. They look wonderful and keep your home healthy.
Compost - Try creating your own compost bin with this guide.
Pets – Invest in a hemp or canvas leash instead of nylon.
Go paperless – Opt out of paper bank statements and fill as many forms in online as possible.
Lightbulbs - Switch to energy saving light bulbs as they save you money and help the environment.
Power off - Try to make sure everything is switched off at night at the main plug. Leaving your TV or PC on standby mode will still use energy and waste you money.
Washing - Try washing your clothes and pots and pans in colder water instead of hot.Reuse paper – Print on both sides or let your kids colour on the blank side.
Repurpose glass jars - This is something that many of us do now, even bars and restaurants, but by repurposing your jars you can create stylish and eco-friendly containers that can also be used as drinking cups.
Repurpose in general! Old baskets can make a great home for your planters!
By going green you will feel better about where you and your family live and at the same time save some money. Remember, when in doubt just follow the 5 R's of sustainable living - Refuse (anything you do not really need), reduce (reduce what waste you create), reuse, recycle and rot (compost your food and garden waste) and you can make a positive impact on the environment.