In order for us to maintain and improve our eco-friendly status throughout society, we need to be doing our bit at home as well as in the workplace to make them more sustainable. Whilst one home is unlikely to produce as much waste as a business does collectively, domestic waste still adds up to a huge amount. Alongside proper waste disposal, there are several other ways that we can improve our eco-friendly status domestically, and here are just a few.
It seems obvious, but one of the most important things that you can do in your home to make it more sustainable is to recycle what you can. You should try to separate out any re-usable plastic, glass, metal, paper, fabric, batteries and green waste if you can. In fact, there is not much that cannot be recycled today. It is worth checking in your local area which recycled items will be collected and which won’t. If they are not collected as a matter of course, then you should find out how you can recycle these items.
Recycling equipment company, QCR, say that ‘the regulations governing the separation of waste streams to prevent cross-contamination of recyclates are becoming increasingly stricter.’ As long as this government information is adhered to, packaging labels are read correctly, and you are separating recyclable materials properly – and not putting them in the general waste bin – you are recycling in the best way that you can.
We have all been guilty of wasting food at some point. Whether that is overloading our plate or letting food go off in the fridge, it is not only a waste of money, it is also detrimental to the environment. Common sense is really all that is required when it comes to buying food that can easily perish.
In some countries, many retailers have now scrapped the handing out of free of charge single-use plastic bags and have replaced them with durable reusable plastic bags, at a cost per bag. These are designed to be brought back to the supermarket time and time again. Some supermarkets also offer strong paper bags and compostable or biodegradable bags as alternatives as well.
According to the Earth Policy Institute nearly 2 million plastic bags are used and disposed of every minute . A combination of bag charges and more awareness of the consequences of the use of single-use plastics will help with forcing this number to drop.
Another way to avoid single-use plastics is to buy food that comes in recyclable packaging or food with no packaging. In the current climate, this can be difficult as many big supermarkets are still using single-use plastics to package items like fruit, vegetables and raw meats.
Most supermarkets have announced plans to change their packaging methods over the next few years, but for now, if you wanted to buy a pack of raw chicken, for example, the film covering the tray cannot be recycled. This leaves us, the consumer with little choice but to dispose of this plastic in the general waste.
Unless you want to make big lifestyle changes in order to improve your eco-friendly status, such as going plastic-free, not many people are going to be hard on you for buying foods protected by single-use plastic at this current time.
Solar PV – Powering your home from your own roof with a solar PV installation is a far more eco-friendly method of energy consumption than relying solely on an energy supplier. Despite the fairly expensive initial outlay, it will also save you a terrific amount of money in the long term. Solar panels can be used for just heating your water or to power your whole house and can be especially effective if you live somewhere that gets a good amount of sun!
LED Lightbulbs – LED Lightbulbs are up to 80% more efficient than standard lightbulbs and are widely available to purchase. Only 5% of energy is wasted on heat whereas traditional bulbs waste 95%! Again, this will not only reduce the amount of energy that you are using, but it will also cut down your energy bills – without sacrificing the amount of light that you are getting!
Walking – You can easily lower emissions by walking to destinations as much as possible – instead of driving. If you can’t walk, try using public transport more regularly. There are a number of benefits to using your car less – it is better for the environment, better for your health and better for your wallet!
Society is now far more switched on to being eco-friendly than 10 years ago. We now understand more about how we are damaging the environment – and what we can do to try and improve the situation. With a bit more help from our biggest retailers with packaging, local government, and making small changes to our daily lives, we will have then taken another big step towards improved eco-friendliness.
Sarah Anderson is an emerging freelance writer with a passion for spreading awareness of the environmental issues at hand. When she’s not writing, she can be found either out in the garden or curled up with a book and a mug of earl grey.
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