Home and life hacks: more environmentally friendly, more money in your bank

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More than ever, modern homeowners are looking for a smarter life, and home hacks to limit their drain on natural resources and the environment. Indeed, it seems with increasing popularity, more and more new appliances and home decor trends are focused on being environmentally friendly, sustainable or energy-responsible. However, for some individuals, these smart devices and home reorganizations come with too high a price tag or require more work than they are able to take on. If you can sympathize with that, then help is at hand — we’ve collated the neatest tricks, and subtle changes you can introduce in your household to become more environmentally friendly. Even better, it might save you some money along the way!

Make recycling part of your natural routine

As with many green initiatives, recycling is easily adopted into everyday life but can make a huge positive difference. Goods and packaging that can be recycled, but aren’t, end up in a big waste dump either in-land or at sea. It has a truly detrimental impact on the environment and wildlife, causing suffering and loss of life.

Introducing a recycling behavior into the home is simple and straightforward. Firstly, find out who collects waste in your local area and ask what materials you can recycle where you live — you may find this changes depending on your local jurisdiction. Then, create yourself a recycling point right next to your normal trash can. Consider keeping a note of what products and materials can be recycled, and put this on display next to recycling can — that way, you’ll have a handy cheat sheet to remind you of what to throw out where. Before you know it, you won’t even be thinking twice about separating your trash into recycling and normal waste. An easy change for you, but a massive benefit for the environment. Remember, however, that in order to be recycled food containers must be clean of any food residue, so give cans a quick wash under the tap first.


Explore going packaging-free


Once you’ve got your recycling habit flowing, you may soon start noticing exactly how much packaging your household goes through. From plastic bottles to cellophane-wrapped food goods, to toothpaste tubes – it starts to look overwhelming! It might feel like the trash can fills up more quickly than it ever has done before.


Unlike recycling, it’s not easy to go entirely packaging free. This kind of dramatic change can’t be achieved without the support of food stores and food brands: until they stop wrapping paper boxes in thin plastic, there’s not much a household or family can do to limit this! However, you can look for other ways to reduce the amount of packaging you bring home. Ask around to see if there are any stores nearby that allow you to buy by weight, rather than by packet. Then do your food shop there; taking your own paper bag or glass jar to buy commodities such as rice and cereal. You may find your weekly food bill gets a little smaller shopping this way too; a lot of the time branded food goods are priced higher, as you’re also paying for the packaging. True, some people do manage to go almost entirely packaging and waste-free, but it’s a big ask — do what you can, in your surroundings.


Reduce your water waste


It won’t be the first time you’ve heard someone say that taking long showers isn’t particularly good for the environment, but dragging yourself out of a steaming hot shower first thing on a Monday morning isn’t an easy task either. Here’s hoping that the designers are working to create a truly environmentally friendly shower find a solution soon! In the meantime, by simply installing a new shower head you could be saving water and money. Investigate at your local hardware store and get their advice on which would be best for your needs


Another super simple way to reduce your water waste is ensuring you turning off at the faucet when brushing your teeth. Give your toothbrush a splash before you start, and then only turn the faucet back on when you need more water, rather than letting it flow while you brush. The best bit? Less water used, lower water bill: you save money!


Go solar


How homes, and other buildings, are powered has been under intense scrutiny of late, with many people claiming that the nation’s power grids need to be put on green energy. Thanks to a great deal of development work in this realm, alternative power sources, such as solar power, are more of a commonplace option than ever before.


You’d be forgiven for still being somewhat confused by solar energy — how does it work? Doesn’t it cost a lot to set up? What if it rains all winter, will I still get energy? While moving to solar energy in your home does require some setup, the positive payback can be significant. Plus, there are often great rebates and discounts in place to help homeowners make the shift. If you think solar power could be a great addition to your home, you should inform yourself of the facts to know before going solar and then inquire. When it comes to saving money further down the line, you may be surprised how much difference solar panels could make to your home energy payouts.


Buy secondhand first


Finding a cute vintage dresser or an old-school armchair is a great way to add some character to your home, especially if the property you live in was built in that certain era too. Did you know, however, that buying secondhand can be an ideal way to reduce your environmental impact? Saving someone’s unwanted furniture or homeware from landfill brings obvious benefits (vis-a-vis the argument for recycling), but have you ever thought about how buying secondhand inadvertently saves natural resources, by making use of something that already has been constructed?


Now, not all vintage or secondhand pieces come at a bargain price, but you can pick up some real deals if you know where to look. Try spending your weekend mornings scouring thrift stores, flea markets or yard sales, and see what you stumble across. Sellers at events like this also tend to be open to cost negotiation so you can have a bit of fun haggling with them to reach a final price you’re both happy with. Try to look past the current condition, especially when it comes to buying used and secondhand furniture. If you like the shape of something, but dislike the color or certain aspects of the design, these can be adapted. You’ll find plenty of tutorials online for distressing, upcycling and breathing new life into old furniture.


Meat-free Mondays


The movement to reduce meat intake in the home hasn’t been without controversy; some foodies simply don’t want to give up their favorite meals. Supporters of the meat-free movement would argue that diets heavy in meat, and other animal products, are unsustainable from an environmental point of view.


To try and strike a happy balance, many people are now looking to Meat-free Mondays in the household. They are now taking one time in the week to avoid meat in any meal of the day completely. Some people may find this new behavior fits their personal preferences easily, and in fact may be more enjoyable than reverting to their usual favorite meals. Others may find the suggestion too limiting or inconvenient. Regardless, there is a variety of easy, tasty and quick meat-free recipes to try out and you’re sure to find one the whole family will love.


Bring your garden inside


No one can deny that flowers and houseplants look beautiful and add a splash of color to a room. On top of their aesthetic qualities, having plants in the house can bring a myriad of environmental benefits such as improving air quality and removing excess moisture from the air. Sure, buying a new bouquet of flowers every week is hardly going to save you money but if you can buy a sturdy plant, and remember to water it, you’ll have all the advantages of sharing your space with nature, while only having to splurge once. Furthermore, when you’re out looking for secondhand furniture keep your eyes peeled for someone selling plants, you’ll find that prices are far lower than you’d expect to see at your local florist or garden center.


In conclusion


Every day seems to bring new warnings of how modern society is risking damage to the environment, and how the Western way of living is unsustainable. If you can introduce any small changes in your household towards greener energy, to using fewer plastics and producing less waste you may find that new routines are easily developed, and you’ve got a little more money in your bank account at the end of every month. Keep checking back on the blog too, as new household products are launching every day to help make environmentally friendly living a reasonable reality for everyone.

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