Seven steps to living in a more eco-friendly way

If you’re looking to live more sustainably but finding it quite daunting – or you’re unsure where to start – this article is for you.

Even small changes can make a big impact and there are so many little tweaks you can make around your home to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Here are seven easy steps you can take to get started.

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1. Less disposable, more reusable

Reusable products do exactly what they say on the tin and being able to use things again and again goes a long way to eliminating everyday waste. On top of this, you’ll also cut back on the energy and materials used in the creation of single-use products.

There are lots of disposable products we tend to use in the day-to-day running of our lives, like plastic food bags, paper towels and wipes. You could switch out single-use versions for something more reusable, like napkins instead of kitchen roll or reusable face cloths instead of single-use cotton pads and makeup wipes.

If you’re a big water drinker and tend to find yourself ordering large amounts of plastic bottles on a regular basis, there’s an easy (and refreshing) alternative: water filter jugs. They’re refillable, keep tap water fresher and can be stored in the fridge. The perfect solution for swigging more sustainably.

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2. Switch it off

Is it really as simple as flicking a switch? Yes! This small change can save a great deal of unnecessary energy consumption, and, on top of that, could also lower your energy bills. According to Energy Savings Trust, if you switch off standby appliances like your TV, you could save £40 a year. Even just switching off your lights when they’re not in use could save you £14 a year.

If you live in a naturally well-lit home, having lights off in the day is an easy win. For those that don’t, or if you want to have an even bigger impact on your energy consumption (as well as your bank balance), you could opt for energy-saving LED bulbs.

3. Switch to environmentally-friendly products

With sustainability mattering more and more, there are now lots of green alternatives for everyday products. From carpet cleaner to conditioner and everything in between, there are plenty of environmentally friendly options available these days.

Take shampoo for instance. Like most cleaning products, regular shampoo and conditioner contain toxic chemicals which, when washed down the drain, end up in rivers and oceans. Look for shampoo and conditioners with non-synthetic ingredients. These are much better for the environment (as well as the overall health of your hair!).

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4. The 4-minute shower challenge

We all love a long shower. The problem is they use a lot of energy. It might be time to throw in the towel on your shower singing career and cut down the time you spend under the shower head. According to Energy Saving Trust, four is the magic number.

By reducing your shower time to four minutes you will save energy – in fact, a typical household could save £45 a year on their energy bills.

5. Skip the dryer

This is the perfect solution in the summer months but, depending on your home, could be applied throughout the year. Tumble dryers use a lot of energy and can be quite a wasteful way to go – especially if you only have a small wash on.

Where possible, putting your washing out to dry naturally can save using energy unnecessarily. Drying racks can be put on a balcony or in a spacious room and it’s fairly straightforward to hang a washing line in the garden as an easy alternative to an energy-eating tumble dryer.

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6. Your curtain call

From a design perspective, we all know the wonderful impact the right set of curtains or blinds can have on a room; they can be the last piece of the puzzle to really pull the space together. This is not all though.

With the right curtains and blinds you’ll be able to naturally regulate the temperature of your house. They keep the warm in and the cold out, meaning there’s less time spent fiddling with the thermostat and upsetting your energy consumption and energy bill!

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7. Go local

Looking beyond the home, the more you’re able to shop locally for fresh produce, the better it is for the environment. Firstly, flying fruit and veg halfway around the world to get to your table leaves a serious carbon footprint, so the less distance it has to travel the better.

Fresh foods also require a lot less packaging (like plastic) and any way we can reduce waste is a positive step forward.

As well as the environmental benefits of shopping local, there are big benefits for your health too. The nutritional value of fruit and veg only lasts for a short time, so the sooner it gets to you, the healthier it is (and better it will taste).

If you want to live more sustainably, we hope these seven steps can set you off on the right track. But if you want to go even further, there’s a lot you can do with design too – especially if you’re moving into a new home.

Take a look at our 5 favourite design ideas for more sustainable living blog to find out how you can go eco – without compromising on style.

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