Saving the planet just got easier! Here are some simple swaps to help you live a greener life and become an eco-hero, all from the comfort of your own home.
Sorry to put a dampener on things, but it makes sense to start with this soggy acronym.
Dr. Damp presents general queries to address when making any new household purchases. Applying these questions to your usual shopping list might highlight where to start making your changes.
- Do you really need it? This is a good one to start with. Need is subjective! A sure way to be more eco-friendly is to buy less stuff. Easier said than done.
- Re-use or recycle first: can you re-purpose or re-vamp something you already own to fulfill the same purpose? Consider the reusability and recyclability of any new items too. Swap single-use items for more durable reusable alternatives where you can.
- Distance: how far has the item traveled to get to you? Cutting down on those carbon hungry air miles will help.
- Alternatives: is there a more eco-friendly alternative?
- Materials. What is it made from? Where does it come from? How is it made? What is the carbon footprint? What are the socio-environmental and ecological impacts?
- Packaging: the hidden impact. Even eco branded goods often shockingly arrive in very non-eco plastic packaging. This all adds up when we are talking about regularly consumed household goods.
Food and Drink
There is potential for a high turnover of waste here. Think about shopping locally, taking your shopping bags, minimizing packaging and single-use items, and storing food in reusable containers. There is also the bigger question of what types of food to buy – going vegan is arguably the single biggest thing you can do to lessen your environmental impact, but even just reducing your meat and dairy consumption will help.
- Shop locally and buy locally sourced, seasonal produce.
- Swap store bags for personal reusable shopping and grocery bags.
- Buy loose and unpackaged items where possible.
- Take your own takeout containers, or wash and reuse the ones you get.
- Always carry your own cup for coffee on the go.
- Swap plastic and foil wrap for reusable containers and wraps.
Cleaning, Health ; Hygiene
Market-leading products often contain an array of nasties that mother nature doesn’t take too kindly to. Try looking into eco-friendly alternatives or even looking into making homemade products using natural ingredients – it’s amazing what simple things like citrus juice, vinegar and baking soda can do!
Keeping a stock of versatile multi-purpose products bought in bulk can help reduce packaging, especially if you can mix up what you need in re-usable bowls or spray bottles. Castile soap is a great example. Swapping highly manufactured niceties for your own unique creations using basic ingredients and essential oils is fun, and they make great gifts too!
Single-use has a big impact in this category – laundry tablets, toothbrushes, tampons, wipes. Luckily, there are eco-friendly alternatives for them all.
These are some simple swaps which will make a big difference:
- Swap laundry detergent for a reusable laundry egg.
- Swap your plastic toothbrush for a sustainably sourced wooden one.
- Swap toothpaste for tooth tabs.
- Swap disposable wipes and sponges for reusable plant-based cloths (bamboo or cotton ones are great).
- Swap disposable sanitary pads and tampons for washable sanitary pads and menstrual cups.
- Buy large-sized refillable products to minimize packaging.
- Keep a stock of multi-purpose ingredients to create homemade cleaning, health and hygiene solutions.
- Minimize disposable products, but where necessary go for plant-based biodegradable options, for example, try swapping your regular kitchen paper towels for bamboo paper towels.
All that re-using and bulk buying should have minimized your waste, but think about how you could reduce this even more…
- Make recycling easier by organizing your garbage. Implement an easy and accessible kitchen and home waste separation system.
- Compost. Make a backyard compost pile or compost inside using a special compost bin.
- Re-use wastewater. You don’t need a complicated greywater collection system; simple options include collecting rainwater to water your plants or using bath water to clean the car!
Now you have some ideas to get eco-friendly at home! Try making just one swap to start your journey to making your home a little greener. A green home is a happy home!