Was one of your New Year resolutions to cut down on waste and to live more sustainably? These quick tips should help.
1. Make your own household cleaners using natural ingredients. Not only does this mean that you will be less exposed to some of the most common sources of household pollutants and toxins, you will also cut down on the amount of waste your household produces (you won’t have to buy and dispose of one product for cleaning windows, one for cleaning floors, one for cleaning the bathroom, one for cleaning kitchens, etc, etc. ad nauseam) and you will also be easier on the environment, as producing cleaners like vinegar, baking soda and soap is less polluting and often uses by-products of other industries.
2. Dry your clothes naturally using the sun and the air. A good washing line or clothes horse gets clothes beautifully dry, whether you dry clothes outside or just stand the clothes horse near a home heating source. This not only means that you’re using less electricity to power a dryer, but you will also cut down on the need for anti-static products and you may even be able to get away with doing less ironing.
3. Learn how to mend and make do. It’s silly to throw away a shirt or pair of jeans just because it’s got a falling hem or a split seam – or even a hole worn in the knees. These are easy mending jobs, and sewing by hand is a soothing task that’s good to do while watching TV or sitting down to talk – and it can help keep your hands busy so you don’t go reaching for a snack or a cigarette.
4. Consider switching to more environmentally friendly brands, such as E-cover, for home cleaning products that you can’t or don’t want to make yourself. For me, this would be laundry and dishwashing detergent.
5. Start a recycling system. It’s good to have a portable container for putting recyclables because then you can go around your house as you clean up and put things straight where they’re supposed to go.
6. Switch to reusable shopping bags as much as you can. This means that you won’t have half a million cluttering your drawers up. However, you may still need a few, as you will need to make sure meat doesn’t drip all over everything else – and old shopping bags are great for corralling rubbish and recyclable paper (and many shopping bags are themselves recyclable).
7. Find an alternative to retail therapy. Not only will you save money, you will also save on packaging and then filling your house with things that you have to clean and care for. Take up another soothing hobby instead.
8. Get some pot plants for your home. Not only will these help clean the air in your home (especially if you buy plants that absorb and eliminate toxins such as spider plants and peace lilies) but you will also help –albeit a little bit – reduce the overall CO2 in the atmosphere. Every little bit counts!
9. Start a garden. It’s good exercise for you, it makes you more aware of the environment, it encourages you to compost food and other organic waste (which includes the bits from your vacuum cleaner bag – beans love these!) and you can eat the results. Composting makes your house smell nicer, as you don’t have food waste sitting around in the bin stinking.
10. Cut down on waste by finding new uses for old items. Old towels, shirts and sheets can be used as cleaning rags. Old toothbrushes can be used for all sorts of cleaning jobs. Old containers can be used to store home-made cleaning products. Thin little soap scraps can be melted down to make soap gel (used for all sorts of cleaning jobs).