If your aim for the year was to start being more environmentally friendly, you might be struggling to think of new ways to be greener at home, whilst we’re in lockdown. In fact, this time at home may be the perfect opportunity to think about our environmental efforts by giving us time to break some of our habits.
Here are just a few ways you can start being more environmentally friendly from the comfort of your own home:
1. Buy/wear re-usable masks
11 months into the pandemic, most of us will have already bought our own re-usable masks; they’ve actually become a great accessory to an outfit! However, if you haven’t got around to it, this is a great place to start. Single use masks can do as much damage to the environment as any other single-use plastic item and they’re no more effective than re-usable ones to stop the spread.
2. Turn off the lights you’re not using in the house
We’ve all been guilty of this at some point! Sometimes, you just forget that you’ve left your bedroom light on upstairs. However, that might be a mistake because turning off lights saves energy and even though the energy used by a light left on isn’t huge, when you add leaving on random lights with other energy-wasting behaviours, it can all add up to increase your carbon footprint.
3. Think about your food waste
The initial rush to stockpile seems to have subsided but there’s still a temptation to buy more than you need at the supermarket, whether it’s out of boredom, or just wanting a treat in lockdown. Unfortunately, this can inevitably lead to food waste. Around a quarter of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are created by food waste, plus with around 1.6 million people reliant on food banks in 2020, this is not a habit you want to continue!
4. Add more plants to your diet
Now, we know food is a huge comfort for some – especially in times like this, so we’re not suggesting you make any major changes to your diet (unless you want too!). However, now that we have more time, this might be the perfect opportunity to start getting creative in the kitchen, trying out vegan or plant-based recipes. Even just having one meat-free day a week can make a big difference.
5. Limit your internet shopping
It’s so tempting to just order… everything, at the moment. Unfortunately, internet shopping can come at a big environmental cost. A lot of packaging used to ship products is excessive and a lot of it can’t be recycled. Also, the fast fashion industry is just as bad for the environment. Creating these garments dries up water sources and pollutes rivers and streams, while 85% of all textiles go to landfill each year. Why not try using apps such as Vinted to sell your second-hand items if you need a good wardrobe clear-out, or spending this extra time to create your own garments!
6. Nurture your green thumb
No matter the size of your house, there will always be a way to turn it into a hub for wildlife. In small spaces like balconies or window sills, you could re-grow shop-bought vegetables from their seeds or plant small flowers in pots. If you have a bigger garden, why not try out bird feeders or planting bee-friendly flowers.
7. Learn more about climate change
Acquiring knowledge or learning a new skill is just one way you can help out in the battle against climate change! You could enrol onto a free online sustainability course, read books, listen to podcasts or watch environmental documentaries. The more you know, the more can help!
8. Undertake an up-cycling or DIY project
This is the time to make that worm bin or compost heap (and avoid throwing food scraps in the bin), knit that scarf, paint that set of drawers, start an embroidery project or turn that old t-shirt into a reusable tote bag. There are so many creative projects out there. Consider your hobbies and interests, do some online searching for how-to articles or YouTube videos and voila, you’ll create something in no time.
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