Do you want to live a greener life? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people are starting to actively seek ways to minimise their carbon footprint and conserve resources. Living a greener lifestyle helps everyone, from your family right through to the wider world. Individual actions may be small but together they combine to create real impact. So if you’re looking for inspiration on living a greener lifestyle, here are some tips.
Households throw away millions of tons of rubbish each year, most of which heads straight to landfills. Taking the time to separate recyclable materials, such as paper and cans, from everyday household waste will significantly reduce the amount of rubbish you produce.
Making your own compost is a really easy way to make use of food waste such as vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and eggshells. Compost will help the plants in your garden to thrive and it is completely natural. Unlike commercial fertilizers, compost contains no petroleum-based compounds, so isn’t harmful to the environment.
Grow Your Own
With all that compost for your garden, why not try growing your own food? The process of growing your own fruit and vegetables is not only a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s also incredibly satisfying. There’s nothing better than tucking into a freshly picked salad that you’ve grown yourself! Even a small patio can accommodate grow bags of peppers and courgettes, trailing hanging baskets of cherry tomatoes and window boxes of herbs. You’ll vastly cut your carbon footprint, as supermarket freighted foods often clock up thousands of food miles, adding to global warming.
When you do need to buy food, shop locally at farmer’s markets. This supports your local economy and reduces fuel costs and carbon emissions. It also makes food shopping fun. Think about the open-air markets of mainland Europe and you’ll get a sense of how enjoyable seasonal food shopping can be. Local markets also use far less packaging than supermarkets, so you’ll pay less and produce less waste.
Plastic carrier bags are often discarded as soon as we unpack our shopping, but they can take over 100 hundred years to break down. Instead, aim to reuse these carrier bags you already have, or alternatively, invest in a couple of stronger canvas shopping bags, which can accommodate a lot of groceries and won’t break after a few uses.
There are plenty of organisations desperately seeking help and support from volunteers. The number of jobs in the green sector is growing, with alternative energy and wind jobs on offer, as well as roles in education, organic farming and biofuels. Volunteering in the green sector can also line you up for a future career. Being green involves more than simply reducing carbon outputs and becoming more environmentally conscious. It means embracing community and playing an active part in the place that you live. Volunteering can be a powerful way to achieve this.
Reducing your water waste is one of the biggest ways you can live a greener lifestyle and there are so many ways you can do this. Simply boiling just the amount of water you need when making tea or cooking vegetables, rather than filling the whole kettle, can make a huge difference to the amount of water and energy you waste on a daily basis.
Another very simple way of saving water is making sure that the top is off while brushing your teeth. If every household in England and Wales did this every day, it could save enough water to supply nearly half a million homes.
A lot of cleaning products contain toxic chemicals and bleaching agents which, once rinsed away down the plughole, can be extremely harmful to plants and aquatic life. Instead, try using environmentally friendly Ecover products, or even make your own cleaning substances from bicarbonate of soda and lemon.
Home Furniture and Appliances
When you need to replace an appliance, opt for an A-rated model. These are the most energy-efficient appliances as they are designed to use less electricity. Some old appliances, such as fridges, contain CFCs, which are a major contributor to the hole in the ozone layer. When purchasing wooden furniture, such as tables and chairs, look out for items which feature the Forest Stewardship Council logo, which shows that wood has been sourced through sustainable forestry.
There are so many ways to be green and these are just a few. Even the smallest of changes, such as using less water and recycling, can make a big impact in the long run; if we all made these changes, think how much of a difference it would make!
This guest post was written by Francesca, a freelance writer and blogger who enjoys sharing her knowledge about a variety of subjects, from green living and environmental issues, to travel and food. She currently writes on behalf of En-spiral.