3 Simple, Actionable Tips For A More Sustainable Home

As we embrace the summer, which has already delivered the hottest June day in 40 years, it’s becoming blazingly obvious that the temperature in the UK is rising year on year. Whilst we enjoy the weather, though, it’s still a worry (especially when Donald Trump walks out of the G20…) that we are heading towards irreversible damage to the planet. Many people will say “well, what can I do? I’m just a drop in the ocean”, but we don’t have time for negativity like that.

It’s easy to empower yourself and your family to do your bit and live a more sustainable life. Through very little more than just being thoughtful about how you go about your day, as well as a few simple actions, you really can make a difference. With these three helpful tips, you’ll be having less impact on the Earth in no time at all.

Understanding the Cost of Water
This is the most important part of having a more sustainable home (that’s why I’ve listed it first!). Understanding the cost of water isn’t as much about its financial impact, but more about the total amount of water required to use or produce things.

For example, taking a bath uses on average 80 litres of water, an eight-minute shower 62, or the washing machine at around 50 litres. It’s easy to become out of touch with the wastewater or sewage treatment process here in the UK. All we have to do is turn the tap on and voila! But there is a lot of work involved in returning our ‘waste water’ to a reusable standard. An effluent plant is capable of achieving this, but only if the sewage treatment is of a high enough quality.

Of course, this process costs energy, too. It doesn’t just happen. So even if the water can be reused, it still has a growing carbon footprint, meaning next time you use it, it’ll require more energy again. The moral of the story is to use water more sparingly. Put a timer in the shower so you get out sooner, buy a smaller washing up bowl, or collect rainwater to use in the garden.

Think Local, Think Low-Carbon Footprint
Reducing your carbon footprint can be achieved in a great number of ways, one of which is so easy to do, there’s no excuse not to do it! Try as much as possible in your home to shop local, or even better, buy locally produced products. This means that your fruit and veg hasn’t travelled hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach your local supermarket. Reduce your ‘food miles’ and you reduce your carbon footprint. More often than not, local food tastes better, too…

Asparagus from Mexico travels over 5,000 miles, whilst blueberries from Chile and Peru will rack up over 6,000 miles before they even reach the UK. We all remember the great courgette famine earlier this year; that was partly due to our demand for out-of season vegetables, which need extra attention and energy to grow. So use your common sense; you don’t need to eat a pineapple at Christmas, or strawberries in November. They don’t taste as good and they rack up the food miles.

Throw Away the Throwaway
We’ve developed quite a throwaway culture here in the UK. If something’s not quite working properly or is damaged, we often just bin it rather than taking the time to find someone to fix it (or even fixing it ourselves). We also buy a great number of disposable objects, most of which come in thin, non-recyclable plastic. Once we’ve used it, it goes in the bin. Why not try a more permanent solution? For example, buy a razor that you can replace the blades on, bin bags that are made from recycled plastic, and stop with the plastic bags at supermarkets!

You don’t have to rule the home in a militant fashion. Following these pieces of helpful advice should only be done because people want to. However, we do have a social responsibility, regardless of what people say, and it will only be so long before the sceptics will be eating humble pie!

*This is a collaborative post*

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