15 Small Ways To Be More Eco-Friendly In Your Home Today
While a lot of us can’t afford eco-conscious homes built from the ground up with sustainable, energy-saving materials and amenities such as solar panels and fully integrated smart home systems, there are still a lot of ways in which we can make small, budget-friendly changes to our homes in the name of making them more eco-friendly. While they might seem small, collectively, they can have a significant impact on the planet. Here are our top 15…
Use Cold Water for Washing Your Clothes
Most of the energy used by your washing machine goes into heating the water. Cold water does an equally good job of getting your clothes clean and also helps to keep your clothes in better condition for longer. Consider only opting for a warm setting if dealing with stubborn stains that cold water has not been able to address and keep in mind hot water can actually set stains as well.
Skip the Dryer and Invest in Dryer Balls
Your clothes will last a lot longer if you line-dry them, though if you simply must use your dryer, invest in a set of 100% natural wool dryer balls, which will help to separate laundry items, allowing heat and air to circulate more efficiently and in turn, speeding up the dry-time while helping to smooth wrinkles out naturally.
Switch to Rechargeable Batteries
Disposable batteries might be convenient but they are wasteful and toxic to the environment. Opting for rechargeable batteries is far more eco-friendly and will also save you money in the long run. Remember to recycle your rechargeables when they reach end of life instead of putting them in the rubbish bin.
Switch Regular Light Bulbs with LED Bulbs
Energy-efficient LED light bulbs are more environmentally friendly in using less electricity – 25 to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescents. They can also last longer – up to 25 times – and will help you save your pennies for the longer run.
Get Recycling and Compost Bins
While most of us will have a recycling system in place, adding a compost bin to the mix will also help to reduce household waste in a responsible way. It will also yield you free fertiliser for your plants and garden. You can keep food scraps in a bag in the freezer or collect them in a counter top bin. Composting can also be a neat and tidy affair these days with the range of bin designs that are now available.
You can use the fertiliser from your compost bin to grow herbs indoors. There’s no point in buying a plastic-wrapped and potted herb plant that’s been transported all the way from a farm to your supermarket when you can just grab a few homegrown sprigs from your kitchen window sill.
Introduce House Plants and Water With Recycled Water
Pot plants are not only great natural air filters for absorbing pollutants and increasing oxygen flow indoors, but they also contribute to creating a cozy, welcoming vibe in your home. Some of the most popular plants with great air-purifying abilities include Ficuses, Spider Plants, English Ivy and Dracaena. Aim for one potted plant per ten square metres and better still, use recycled water from your home to water them such as water collected by your dehumidifier.
Get Window Treatments
Upgrade your curtains and blinds with ones made from quality materials that will work hard to keep heat and cool air outside. This, in turn, will help to reduce your air-conditioning and heat pump usage and save on your power bills.
A whole range of home appliances – from smartphone chargers, game consoles, televisions and coffee makers – can act as energy vampires while plugged in but left in standby mode, sapping energy that adds up over time. These can add more than ten percent to your monthly power bill.
Be sure to turn them off whenever those things that are plugged in are not in use. Invest in powerboards, which will make it easier to manage the power flow for multiple devices with a single flick of a switch.
Be Kitchen Smart
Use alternative smaller appliances over your oven wherever possible such as toasters and even mini countertop ovens. Also check the door seals on your main oven to ensure it is shutting properly when in use and replace if necessary to help keep the heat inside and save on power.
When it comes to having your daily coffee fix, opt for a basic French press over a machine that uses coffee pods to cut back on single-serve plastic that remains for the most part too small to recycle. It will also save on picking up cafe-bought coffees in paper cups and more plastic in the lids.
Clean Your Fridge Coils and Adjust Your Refrigerator and Freezer Temperatures
Your fridge and freezer can be the two biggest energy-sappin appliances in your home. Keep your freezer between -15 to -18 degrees Celsius and your fridge between two to four degrees Celsius. Avoid filling them to the brim and make sure the doors aren’t left open for more than a few seconds. Cleaning your refrigerator coils at the back will also help to minimise the energy it uses; if they are covered in dirt or dust, your refrigerator will require more energy to cool its contents and can eventually break down.
Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat
Heating and cooling in your home makes up the bulk of your power bill. The installation of a handy energy-conserving smart thermostat will help to cut down on wasted heating and cooling to make your home more energy-efficient.
Shop Vintage or DIY
Consider going vintage the next time you want to upgrade on a piece of furniture. Not only can the right vintage or upcycled furniture piece add a tonne of character to your home, it can also mean one less item that potentially ends up going to landfill.
Check for Water Leaks
Check all of your water points including the toilet tank, washing machine, dish washer, hot water cylinder, hose connection points and water sprinkler systems, all of your faucets and shower heads for sneaky leaks to prevent waste and water damage. Keep an eye out for a drop in water pressure and monitor your water bill for any significant changes that might indicate a pesky leak somewhere.
Use All-Natural Cleaning Products
Opt for 100% natural cleaning products over ones formulated with harsh chemicals that are bad for your health and the environment. You can easily make your own natural cleaner using ingredients such as white vinegar, baking soda or castile soap, which are better at breaking down safely in the environment.