6 ways to be more eco-friendly at home in 2020

From installing smart meters and tap aerators to growing your own edible garden, here are 6 ways to go green in 2020.

Climate change, sustainability, saving money, and healthier living - these are just a few of the reasons more people are looking to a greener way of life.

In a nutshell, to ‘go green’ is to make more environmentally-friendly decisions like using less water, avoiding food waste and reducing carbon emissions.

Besides the obvious benefit of saving money from utility bills, going green allows us to live healthier too. Below, we share 6 easy ways to go green in the home for your wellbeing and the greater good.

1. Reduce energy and water consumption

Trailing plants in a light grey kitchen in an eco-friendly home
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Smart meter

If you’ve don't have a smart meter installed, now’s the time to do it as most energy providers are offering free installations. Smart meters allow the setting of energy consumption limits (which are displayed in the form of a colour meter as well as in pounds) so you have up-to-the-minute information on how much power you’re using. Much like tracking your expenses, keeping an eye on power consumption will help you realise the little instances where usage could be reduced.

Becoming water and energy efficient

There are also little things like not letting the tap run when not actively in use, remembering to switch off lights and appliances and timing showers to a maximum of 5 minutes. Need to replace a light bulb or appliance? Choose LED bulbs and appliances with a good energy efficiency rating. There’s also a device called a tap aerator (or flow regulator) that acts as a sieve to separate a single flow of water into many tiny streams. This introduces air into the water flow, resulting in a reduction of overall water used.

2. Switch to non-toxic alternatives

Green home office with plants and a wooden desk
Furniture Choice - Wiltshire Dark Wood Dining Table with Storage

Ah, the smell of fresh paint. The familiar stench comes about when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air from within the paint. Although some people don’t mind it too much, breathing in paint fumes is actually not great for health. Fret not however, as there is a solution to this issue - non-toxic, eco-friendly, high quality paint.

Green and pink children's bedroom with a white wooden bed
Furniture Choice - Rio White Washed Single Bed

For instance, Earthborn is a homegrown paint brand that produces environmentally-friendly designer breathable paints. Both rooms above were painted in Earthborn paints (we used Hobby Wood for the home office, and Rosie Posie and Secret Room for the child’s bedroom) that are non-toxic and eco-friendly - especially great for families with children.

Making the switch to natural products can take some time when it comes to skincare and beauty, but there are other ‘instant fixes’ you could try. The most direct would be to shop and eat organic produce where available and possible. Make sure to read the labels and avoid getting products that contain paraben, artificial fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate; and formaldehyde, to name a few.

3. Add natural greenery

DIY Staghorn fern wall decor in an eco-friendly home
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One of the reasons why temperatures are rising is because there’s too much carbon and not enough trees to convert it to oxygen. Try your hand at growing some greens in the home for fresher and cleaner air - pick varieties like Snake Plant, aloe vera and Broad Lady Palm to help detox the air from airborne toxins, dust and germs.

Besides their purifying properties, live plants also make for wonderful decor additions in the home, evoking a healthy and relaxing vibe. Craft enthusiasts can check out our tutorial on how to DIY a staghorn fern living wall, otherwise here are 10 amazing ideas for your indoor garden for budding gardeners. Eating fruit and vegetables that you’ve grown yourself is immensely satisfying, plus they’ll taste better and are healthier too.

4. Give composting a shot

Dining and kitchen area filled with plants
Furniture Choice - Grange Oak Extending Dining Table

Now that you’ve got all that fresh fruit from your garden, what do you do with their waste? The green answer is to compost it. Composting is a way of turning organic waste into nutrient dense humus, which can then be used to fertilise plants and your fruit-bearing trees. Do some research before selecting a compost method that works best for you - taking into account whether you have an outdoor area with access to sunlight, for instance. Composting reduces the waste that would otherwise head to a landfill.

However, if it doesn’t sound like something you have the time or energy for, look for local farmers or associations who could use your organic waste. Things like fruit and vegetable peelings, seeds or even used coffee grounds are common compost materials.

5. Explore the 5R’s

Green bedroom eco-friendly accessories and decorations
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It’s 2020 and we now have the 5 R’s of waste management instead of 3. The complete list comprises - refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle. Start by learning how to say ‘no, thank you’ for things like plastic bags and plastic straws. And where possible, always reuse or repurpose something before turning to recycling.

For instance, the headboard shown above was reupholstered and given new life to suit this tranquil green room. Above it, dried flowers function as a natural decor piece that looks great and is eco-friendly. Although dry, they still give off a beautiful scent that’s unprocessed and non-toxic. Check out our DIY and Decorating page for more ideas on upcycling furniture and decor.

6. Adopt eco-friendly habits

Eco-friendly DIY Shibori tie-dyed napkins by Furniture Choice
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Level up your go green efforts by embracing a greener lifestyle. Some easy ways to start include bringing your own shopping bag and straws when heading out and shopping local where possible to reduce carbon emissions. And when supplies like tampons and tissue start to run out, explore eco-friendly options like menstrual cups, cloth pads, hankies and table napkins. When it comes to gifting, consumables are a good choice as they leave very little behind (as opposed to that purse you got that doesn’t really suit your style).

Going green is very closely associated to the zero waste movement and minimalism. Look up some of these groups on your preferred social media platform for helpful tips, inspiring ideas or simply some good old support. The community that cares for the planet is one you’ll want to be a part of!

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