Sustainability… it’s the buzz word of the moment! We all know we should be trying our best to be kind to the earth, so it can continue to support our children and our children’s children…. but, sometimes, it all just seems a bit too hard! After reading Healthy Planet, Healthy People, Healthy Home – Create a Sustainable Home You Love by Helen from Recycled Interiors, and also chatting to Ilona from Otti Made, I’ve been super motivated to start making more of a difference. I’m not about to become an off-the-grid vegan hippy… because as Ilona said in her interview…
“…all any of us can do is our best. Our locations, our financial circumstances, our support systems and our emotional state all have an impact on just how far we can go to being sustainable custodians of the patch of earth we find ourselves on. So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t catch public transport to work. Or grow your own veges, or use cloth nappies. Just do the best you can with what you have.”
And Ilona is absolutely right… no I can’t catch public transport, and sorry but cloth nappies just aren’t going to happen! But there are the things that I CAN do, and maybe you can too… Here’s 8 totally achievable and actionable steps that you can take today to make your home more sustainable! And most of them cost you nothing!!
Yes we’ve all got that yellow lid bin, and we’re putting a bit of stuff in it, but are you using it to its full potential? I know I am definitely guilty of not making the most of recycling, so I am making a real effort to check my rubbish for recycling logos and recycle a lot more. If your plastic has a 1-6 in the recycling symbol it’s suitable for kerbside recycling. Here’s a handy website reference on what the numbers mean! I think I’m aceing this one… the recycling bins are overflowing now, and the general rubbish bins are not!
A huge proportion of our ‘eco footprint’ comes from the food we buy, so there is heaps of potential for improving in this area! I’m trying to be really mindful of what I’m buying at the shops to cut down on food wastage. I’ve found that menu planning really helps me with this, (read more about menu planning here). It means I only buy what we will actually eat for the week. Of course, we all still have food wastes, but what are you doing with it? We are lucky to have chooks, so our scraps go to them. A compost bin or worm farm might work perfectly at your home. Helen has a great blog post here about considering your food.
Re-think your shop
I’m not talking about changing every single item in your household over to a more sustainable option today…just start small. I chose a few products (washing detergent and dishwashing detergent), and rather than reaching for my go-to-brand, I had a good look at the supermarket and tried to choose the best option. Next week I’ll check out some more things… baby steps!
Grow your own
If you have a blank patch in your garden, why not turn it into a vegie patch! Growing your own vegetables is great for the environment, but is also a great way for kids to learn about where food really comes from. We’re lucky to have lots of room for a vegie patch, but if you don’t perhaps try some pots with some herbs or a fruit tree. Anything is better than nothing! Herbs are easy to grow, and it’s lovely to have fresh herbs at your finger tips. (For info on propagating your own herbs go here). I hated that the ‘fresh’ herbs from the supermarket were packaged in so much plastic, and were also so pricey. I’ve got my favs in some pots, so I can move them around the garden depending on the season, and I never buy herbs from the supermarket anymore!
Change your light bulbs, and then turn them off!
Surely we’ve all done this already… but if you haven’t, make sure you switch your light bulbs over to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). Yes they are more expensive to buy, but they are reported to use ¼ of the energy and last years longer than traditional globes. Switching your light bulbs goes a long way to cut down on your energy consumption… which of course also saves you money! CFLs are another thing you should definitely be recycling too, because they do contain mercury. And what’s even better than switching your light bulbs over…turning them off! Open the curtains and let the natural light in during the day.
Find the cracks…
A lot of the heat loss and gain occurring in your house is probably through cracks and gaps in your home, especially if you have an old home like me! Making your home as airtight as possible helps to cut down on the energy and expense of heating and cooling. I’ve invested in some good quality curtains and blinds and we shut off the air conditioner vents when they’re not in use. Door draft stoppers are a good idea if your doors are a little wonky.
I’m trying my best to be mindful of when I’m consuming and really don’t need to be.
Some of the things that I’m doing (in the middle of winter) are:
-turning off lights and letting the natural light and warmth in during the day
-closing blinds and curtains as soon as it gets cooler at night
-hanging clothes on the line as much as possible, and avoiding using the dryer
-shutting of sections of the house that don’t really need to be kept warm (bathroom, laundry, office etc)
It’s no secret I love a little DIY project! Lately I’ve used old soup tins instead of buying new planters (here), revived an old farmhouse stool from my grandparents (here), chalk painted an old table and tall boy (here and here) and also made a coat rack (post to come soon!). Anytime I’m using old things and not buying new ones, I’m cutting down on my footprint.
What changes can you make in your home today? I’d love to hear about what you’re doing to make your home more sustainable…. just do your best!
See you next time…Keep Chasing…