Businesses and communities are doing all they can to raise awareness on conservation of the earth’s natural resources. However this makes individuals ask themselves what difference they can make to the planet themselves – the truth is, a lot!
We’ve compiled a list of 40 ways you can single-handedly become more eco-friendly on the cheap, and take action straight away to conserve our resources. Our tips are also perfect for helping you save some cash on the side and increase your physical and mental health for an even better quality of life!
1. Cook from scratch
a. Cooking at home saves a lot of cash – that’s a no brainer! But it’s good to know that is uses way less resources than ordering out or buying a ready-meal. What you eat is far more important than how is cooked, but processed food that has been wrapped in more plastic and cardboard packaging is damaging to the environment and uses up even more energy. Get cooking and appreciate the food the make!
2. Change your light bulbs
a. Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs can save more energy than a conventional light bulb. Even one light in your home that makes use of a LED bulb can make a difference to your energy bills.
3. Cook with residual heat
a. By turning off your oven a few minutes before your meal is ready still allows your food to continue cooking whilst also saving energy in the process. You can also apply this to food your cooking on the hob by turning it off and covering your pot with a lid to keep the heat in.
4. Opt for reusable water bottles
a. Tap water is drinkable, ladies and gentlemen! Instead of buying fresh new bottles of water, keep a BPA-free, reusable bottle water at hand and refill it when you need to hydrate throughout the day. BPA is a resin commonly used in plastic production and has been known to seep into our food and liquids, and has been linked to neurological health concerns
5. Install a low-flow shower head
a. Low-flow shower heads use anywhere between 25%-60% less water than a conventional shower head – not only does this mean less water wastage, but also less to pay for your water bill!
6. Turn off your faucet
a. It’s a bad habit leaving the faucet on whilst brushing your teeth. If you’re not using the faucet whilst washing dishes, brushing your teeth or washing your face – close it, tight! It’s akin to turning off a light when you’re not using it.
7. Wash produce and save the water
a. By saving water used whilst washing dishes, vegetables or boiling pasta or rice – you can make use of it to water your plants (just ensure any boiled water is cooled down first!).
8. Get your home insulated
a. Uninsulated homes not only make your house colder and more unbearable – but they also cost more to heat up and use more energy. Whilst home insulation can be on the costly side, overtime this will more than make up for the wasted energy and money you’d spend in an uninsulated home – so it’s highly worth the investment.
a. Carpooling is not only a life saving alternative to skipping the public transport rush, but it also means less cars on the road and less carbon emissions.
10. Keep your windows shut when you’ve got air con on
a. If you’ve got air-conditioning on it can be easy to leave cracks in your windows open. This causes all the air to escape out of your room, which means your air-con has to work even harder to regulate your room’s temperature (which means more energy wasted!). Shut your windows tight before using any air regulator.
11. Unplug everything by fighting vampire power
a. ‘Vampire appliances’ are a modern term that basically means appliances are using power even if they’re ‘switched off’. Set-top boxes and computers are just some of the worst culprits as they’re still using power to ‘sleep’ or display the time. Turn off your plugs at the source to ensure no energy goes to waste.
12. Line dry your clothes
a. If you’ve got the space in your garden, add a clothes drying line so you can hang up your laundry. If not, space saving clothes racks and an open window can be just as effective for drying (and you don’t have to worry about the weather conditions). This way you’ll save money on your electricity bill as opposed to using a dryer after every laundry load.
13. Turn your lights off
a. You don’t need the lights on in your hallway 24/7. Make a habit of turning off your lights when you leave a room so no energy goes to waste (you’ll also save money on your electric bill this way too).
14. Buy vintage
a. Vintage clothing and ‘thrifting’ is all the hype lately. There’s absolutely no end to where you can buy second-hand clothing and furniture such as eBay, Depop and Amazon. You may even find that new top you wanted pre-owned! This way you reduce how much you ‘consume’ and potentially find a hidden gem in someone else’s wardrobe.
15. Empty your car out
a. Driving a lighter car around uses far less fuel – saving you more money when you fill up. Remove the bike rack and the unnecessary stuff in your boot (but keep the spare tyre, just in case).
16. Borrow before you buy
a. Sites like Borroclub and even your social media pages are perfect for borrowing big items like a lawn-mower or ladder. Big purchases like those items contributes to their mass production, so ask yourself how often you’d really be using these items. If it’s seldom – borrow them!
17. Switch to paperless billing
a. Paperless billing means reducing the likelihood of losing your bill letters through the post. By switching to e-billing you may even save money from your energy providers! Not to mention that’s less trees being processed into paper and machinery used to print your bills.
18. Don’t heat an empty house
a. Much like keeping your faucets shut and light bulbs off – keep your heating off if you’re not in the house, or schedule them on a timer to turn on a little before you come home and turn off when you arrive so your house is warm upon arrival.
19. Rent a hybrid, plugin hybrid or electric car for your next road trip
a. Hybrid cars work by combining petroleum fuel and electricity to power your car. When traditional fuel runs out it can use its electricity reserves to keep running which in turn reduces the car’s emissions and the need to fill up.
20. Consider eco-friendly products
a. Products made by ingredients that do not harm the environment can significantly reduce pollution. Brands like Lush, The Ordinary and Sister & Co are known to have amazing benefits for your health and beauty – and are organic!
21. Take your own mug to a coffee shop
a. Coffee houses like Starbucks offer a small discount if you bring your own mug for your coffee order – this helps saves on their paper cups (and extra pennies in your pocket)
22. Get e-tickets
a. Much like paperless billing, getting an e-ticket for your travel journeys is a far more economical way of getting around as opposed to a printed ticket – plus you reduce the risk of losing it!
23. Switch to chemical-free cleaning products
a. DIY cleaning products are a massive craze and are even believed to be far more effective than conventional cleaning products in the household aisle. Vinegar, Baking Soda and Lemon Juice are fantastic and organic alternatives to man-made chemicals and can still leave your house smelling fresh!
24. Keep your freezer full
a. A full freezer runs more efficiently than an empty one. Dense cold air spills out far less when you open a full freezer, but opening an empty one makes it all escape – not what you want after it’s worked hard to keep cold!
25. Raise eco-friendly pets
a. Making your own pet food using broccoli stems and other vegetable ends combined with chicken innards can make for a great meal for your pet! This reduces the amount of GMOs and packaging you invest in with shop-bought pet-food. You can check out more ways of raising eco-friendly pets using this guide.
26. Buy plants for your home
a. Buying plants for your home improves air quality – this is especially useful if it’s too cold to open windows in the winter
27. Ditch the coffee stirrer
a. Think about how many coffee stirrers you’ve binned in your lifetime – now imagine the amount of people in the world that drink coffee! That’s a lot of wasted wood – instead of using a stirrer, add your milk+sugar and then pour your coffee. The pouring action will make your coffee naturally well mixed, eliminating the need to stir!
28. Go Veggie once a week
a. It takes 750 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of wheat, and 100,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of beef – shocking right? We’re not saying you have to go vegetarian 24/7, but having a veggie diet once or twice a week can decrease the resources used to produce meat-based products.
29. Re-use plastic food containers as Tupperware
a. So maybe you ordered a takeaway or bought a ready made meal – inspect the container it comes in and see if you can repurpose it for home made food or other storage solutions for other items
30. Recycle as much of your waste as possible
a. Many local authorities provide a variety of different bins designated for different kinds of waste. Generally these are emptied once a week and sorted into different categories depending on the type of recycling bin. This is far better than dumping everything into one bin and potentially risking recyclable items being used for Land fill
31. Upcycle existing furniture
a. Renovating your home can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure what kind of decor style to go for. Instead of throwing away old furniture try to repurpose it by sanding down old drawers into side tables or restoring worn-out chairs to use at your dining table or study.
32. Use a dishwasher over hand-washing
a. Dishwashers actually use less water than hand-washing. We recommend switching on your dishwasher when it’s actually full – as it will use the same amount of water regardless.
33. Get to know your washing machine
a. Many washing machines have eco-options available which generally use less water per cycle. They might even spin at a faster rate making your clothes dry quicker (which reduces the need to use a dryer)
34. Turn your washing machine temperature down
a. Switching to 30 degrees uses far less energy than washing at a higher temperature. The washing detergent you use and the agitation caused by your washing machine is enough to remove any tough stains on your laundry.
35. Invest in reusable shopping bags
a. Reusable shopping bags reduces the need to get more on your next shop (just remember to take them with you). Not to mention supermarkets in the UK now charge per shopping bag you use – so imagine the little pennies you could save!
36. Plan your meals each week and make a shopping list
a. By planning your meals you eliminate any impulse buys and potential food wastage. The same applies for non-edible items – make a list and stick to it when you’re next buying your groceries
37. Choose products that haven’t been tested on animals
a. Not only is this a cruel process, it also increases wastage. Avoid brands that test on animals like MAC and Avon – and instead shop eco-friendly, non-animal testing brands.
38. Grow your own vegetables
a. If you have the resources and the space – growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables reduces the need to keep buying them at the store (and wasting further pots and plastic).
39. Invest in coconut oil
a. Coconut oil has a wide variety of health benefits and is popular for its multiple usages. It can be used as a health/beauty product to moisturise skin and even as a food item for frying and baking – eliminating the need to buy different oils for different uses
40. Shop local
a. Local farmers markets are fantastic for organic produce. Less processes are used on the produce such as packaging and chemicals, and you travel less miles to get there – reducing your overall carbon footprint.
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