15 Cheap & Easy Ways to Make Your Home Eco Friendly

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eco friendly home tips

Image credit: Julio GTZ

The festive season is slowly approaching and blustery, easterly winds will soon be making their arrival to welcome us into another year. We think the New Year is a great time to start thinking about how to make our homes more eco-friendly (in this day and age, it should be on everyone’s New Year’s resolutions list every year). Unfortunately, not all of us have the money to spend on installing solar panels, extra insulation and A-rated appliances in a bid to go green.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do our bit. There are a variety of very inexpensive ways you can make your home more eco friendly and most of them are dead easy too! Here are a few ideas you may wish to add to your New Year’s Resolutions list…

make your home more eco friendly Image credit: Stephen Dun

1. Go paperless

Everything is electronic these days. There is no need to crowd your dining room table with paper bills – not only is it bad for the environment, it’s also depressing! Each time you receive a bill, find the provider online, log in to their website and change your settings to opt for online bills only. If you receive lots of junk mail, you can try and reduce the amount by signing up to the Mailing Preference Service. More tips for reducing your junk mail can be found here.

2. DIY Toilet Freshener

We have some exciting news. We’ve come across a magical formula that eases those pungent smells that come from your toilet bowl, without damaging the environment! Simply mix together a decent amount of bicarbonate of soda with some white vinegar and pour it in the bowl, making sure to reach the sides too. Try to leave it for a couple of hours without flushing and your toilet should self-deodorise itself for the next week or so. Amazing, eh?

3. Multi Socket Plugs

Using Multi Socket plugs is a great way of turning off multiple switches with just one flick. By switching things off at the wall, you can save an enormous amount of electricity over time. And if all it takes is one flick, you’ll be much more inclined to actually do it!

4. Get the Tupperware Out

Be healthy and make yourself packed lunches for work using Tupperware containers and steel cutlery. This way you’re reducing the amount of packaging and plastic cutlery you’re using by purchasing your lunch every day. It’s cheaper too!

making your lunch in a tupperware  will cut down on packagingImage credit: Sweeteneddtyle

5. Stop buying bottled water

It may be convenient to buy bottled water on the go instead of carrying around your own. But plastic is no good for you and it harms the environment. Save money and your health by buying a BPA-free plastic bottle. Bobble bottles are great.  You can also install a water filter under your sink to filter your tap water.

6. Upcycle

Improve those glad rags, don’t ditch them. There’s plenty you can do to save yourself from buying new clothes every season. If you’re bored with your existing clothing, then modify it so it feels like a new piece. This can be as simple as changing the buttons on an old cardigan. If something no longer fits, you can get it taken in or add an extra panel of fabric. You don’t need to get rid of that sentimental cardigan that your Nan once gave you after all!

You can also easily spruce up your existing home décor with a spark of creativity. Paint up that old wooden chest. Or why not make your own wall art out of those old vinyl records that you were going to dump?  The possibilities are endless.

upcycling old items into new ones can be an eco-friendly touchImage credit: Glandis

7. Get in the habit of using a bag-for-life

There are too many plastic bags. Most of us have a cupboard or draw stuffed with spares. Take out a bag-for-life instead. See some stylish ones here.

8. DIY Air Fresheners

It’s time to ditch those nasty aerosol cans. This tip is so unbelievably easy and you’ll no longer even have to push your finger on a nozzle every time you need a burst of fresh, nice-smelling air. Fill a glass jar or pot with some bicarbonate of soda and put in around 10 drops of your favourite smelling essential oil. Place some tin foil over the top and poke some holes in it. If you’re really feeling creative, you could collect together some ribbon and pretty fabrics and give these away for Christmas presents.

create your own own fresheners to be more eco and planet friendlyImage credit: Sweetenedstyle

9. Grow houseplants

Eco-decorative features. Plants are inexpensive, pretty little things that can also help purify the air in your home – air that is often polluted with the numerous chemicals we all now use. Not only is cleaner air better for your health, it has even been correlated with human efficiency. Some of the top eco-friendly indoor plants are Boston Fern, Dwarf Date Palm and Bamboo Palm.

growing houseplants is an inexpensive way to help purify the airImage credit: Creatocrat

10. Body heat

The more people there are in your home, the warmer it will be. In fact, for every person in your home you will have the equivalent of a 100-watt heater! Take this as an excuse to hold the book club at your house, host a poker night, or to hell with it, throw a party!

11. Water & vinegar - your #1 cleaning product

There are lots of products that claim to be green and eco-friendly, and they usually tend to be a lot more expensive than everything else that’s out there. Instead, mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water and vinegar, to create an ideal and efficient cleaning product. Tip: if you need a more abrasive cleaner, then add some bicarbonate of soda.

Other DIY cleaning tips include using old toothbrushes and old rags to do your dirty work!

make your own diy cleaning productsImage credit: Chiotsrun

12. Meatless Mondays, Turnip Tuesdays...

There’s no way we’d advise you to miss your Christmas turkey, but most of us could do with a little less meat in our diets. Say what you like about vegetarians, but they have a great carbon footprint! According to the Food Climate Research Network, the meat and dairy industries in the UK contribute to 8% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. Again, we’re not saying never eat a burger ever again, but reducing meat consumption is clearly good for the planet.

Also, if you have the facilities to grow your own vegetables, then do! Not only does it save you money but tending to your vegetables is good exercise. You’ll be reducing the amount of fossil fuel used to transport vegetables to the supermarkets - and home grown veggies taste better too!

13. Light, light, light

We’re talking au naturel. Reduce the amount of lights-on time, AND use natural light as an additional heat source.

We won’t be getting as much light over the next few months, so that’s even more of a reason to maximise the amount of natural light in your home. Open your blinds and curtains in every room. Remember, light is heat and allowing natural light to shine in through your windows can actually save 10% of energy used on heating. Go that extra bit further and paint your window sills white. This will reflect the light into your room even more.

14. Save water, share showers

Ok, ok this one’s a bit cheeky. But you’d be reducing the amount of water you use by a half! We’d advise sharing a shower with your other half, rather than the postman though!

15. Buy Green

Of course Christmas is a time of present buying and sprucing up the house in readiness for the big family get together. So whether you’re buying a new jumper or a new sofa, keep a close eye on where it’s made.  Look out for retailers with proven green credentials wherever possible and remember the further the product has had to travel, the bigger the carbon footprint. Try to buy locally sourced products from UK manufacturers. After all buying British is not only environmentally efficient it helps our economy grow too!

Posted in Interior Design on 21st Nov 2014

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