7 Everyday Ideas to be More Eco-Friendly

July 4, 2018

Being eco-friendly as an individual is one way to live a more rewarding and guilt-free life, knowing that your actions are making positive contributions to the environment. Most of us have cars, consume energy and produce waste, but what most of us don’t realise is that small and simple adjustments can have great results.

 

Here are our 7 everyday ideas to be more eco-friendly

 

  1. Eat less meat

The environmental impact of meat production is enormous. It requires deforestation for cattle grazing, to the amount of one football pitch worth of rainforest every second. Water usage for beef is around 3,100 litres per KG of beef due to growing the grass, and providing water for drinking, cleaning and processing throughout a cow’s lifetime. Greenhouse gas emissions, animal waste, offal, antibiotic resistance and air pollution are also negative side-effects of the meat production industry.

 

We aren’t saying to go vegan overnight, but halving you meat consumption would significantly reduce your carbon footprint, and the more people that do it, the quicker we can reduce the effects. Looking at meat consumption purely from an environmental point of view, reduction is a solid idea.

 

  1. Buy antiques or quality, not ‘Ikea’

Ok, who doesn’t like the affordability, convenience and style of Ikea products? The environment, that’s who. We don’t mean to target Ikea, but they are the symbol of fast-furniture, cheap and easy items that are liable to break quickly and are best used as a quick-fix.

 

By buying antiques, you get to continue the useful life of a functional item, one that was built with quality and durability in mind when we had a greater appreciation for resources. If a chair has lasted for decades, it can last for decades more. Ikea products are not designed for that sort of longevity.

 

Quality works in the same way. If you can afford to pay 5 times the price for a piece of furniture that will last 10 times as long, it’s a worthy investment for you and the environment.

 

  1. Use a canvas or hemp ‘bag for life’

A plastic ‘bag for life’, is still a plastic bag that will go on to live forever. We much prefer the concept of canvas or hemp bags, which may take more energy to make and have a higher carbon footprint of production, but are biodegradable and compostable, and literally grow with natural resources. Plastic bags are here forever.

 

Making the transition to bags for life is good, and remembering to always carry one with you is even better, but looking into the materials they are made from and which ones will best align with your eco-friendly principles is worthwhile research.

 

  1. Start a compost bin

Composting is great for the environment, it spares loads of food and organic waste from going to landfill, and it produces a fertile material that inspires new plants and trees to grow and provide for us. Composting is free, too, all you need is a bin, some green or brown waste, and a willingness to persevere with it. It helps if you have a garden to source the compost materials, and to use the compost. But, even if you don’t you can surely find someone who would like free compost.

 

Read our composting guide.

 

Switch to LED lightbulbs

A standard light bulb uses 60w of energy, whereas an LED light bulb uses just 6w. This is a 90% energy saving on light bulbs, from one simple switch. As far as everyday ideas to be more eco-friendly, this is perhaps the easiest to do, and it could save you over £100 in energy bills each year.

 

Borrow, don’t buy

If you look around your home, you will start to notice things that you don’t really need. There will also be things that you don’t have, but you want. Ask your friends and family if they have those things, such as appliances, and ask if you can borrow them for a while. By borrowing first, you will get to trial something and see whether you really need it, which can save you a lot of money and help the environment by means of not over-purchasing.

 

If you have too much of something, such as 3 irons or 2 kettles, why not see if any of your friends or family need one, and let them borrow it. A ‘borrow don’t buy’ mentality can save you thousands on unnecessary spends, and can show you what is important, or what is a luxury that you don’t need or won’t use.

 

Walk, cycle or take public transport

Driving is so bad for the environment and air pollution, but, needs must. We understand that logistics professionals, road salesmen and many more people have to drive for their job, but we are not talking about them. We are talking about short-distance driving. If you have the time to walk, cycle, or catch the bus to reach your destination, you will be able to keep your carbon footprint lower and contribute less towards carbon emissions. Walking and cycling are great exercise too, plus they will save you money on fuel.