The world is moving more and more towards being eco-friendly and sustainable. Businesses are moving away from single-use plastic and encouraging customers to do the same but how can we be more environmentally conscious at home? There are actually several small things that you can do to lower your environmental footprint through what you buy and what you do in your home.
You don’t need to be growing all your own food or even have a big garden to start making a difference to your environment and wellbeing. Start out by planting a few herbs that you regularly cook with instead of buying them already packaged in plastic.
If you’re already growing some herbs, another thing that you can do is to plant some flowers with them. If you have the right plants in your garden, certain insects like bees can begin to flourish there. These plants (in the case of bees) include poppies, sunflowers, roses, lavender, chives and fennel.
Many people think that you need chemicals in order to clean something properly. This is not the case at all as there are many natural cleaning agents that work just as well, if not better. One such ingredient is lemon! Just as you would clean your Coppa bottle, you can also use salty lemon water to sanitize surfaces.
Other tricks include using a spoonful of vinegar and a drop of your favourite essential oil in a bit of water when mopping the floors. You can also use bicarbonate of soda to shine cutlery or remove stains from crockery.
Additionally, you can make an impact on the environment and your family’s health by buying more organic produce from your local farmer’s market. This includes anything that is seasonal as importing food produces 11% of the world’s greenhouse gasses. For example, importing kiwis from Italy to South Africa takes as long as 28 days and by the time the fruit arrives the process will have produced around 470kg of carbon.
You can make your bathroom sparkly with natural ingredients too! Simply use ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar as a formula for toilet cleaner or mix together 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of salt to scrub tiles in and around your shower or bath.
Water consumption is also a big concern worldwide as the global population increases. You can help curb over-usage by showering instead of bathing and placing a bucket in the shower to collect excess water. This can be used in your garden (even more so if you use earth-friendly bath products) and to flush your toilet.
A last useful tip is instead of using toilet spray, you can make your own diffuser or buy one that is natural and doesn’t have the harsh chemical aerosol base that regular sprays do.
Diffuser Oil Recipe
¼ cup of non-scented oil (jojoba or almond work nicely)
20-25 drops of essential oil (rose geranium or lavender are good ones)
3 Tbsp rubbing alcohol
6 wooden skewers
A glass jar
*Add the unscented oil and the rubbing alcohol together
*Drop in the essential oils
*Pour carefully into your jar
*Place the wooden skewers inside
There are several aspects of your bedroom that you can target to become more eco-friendly. The first is your wardrobe. As we’ve discussed in another blog of ours about the dangers of fast fashion, it isn’t necessary to shop solely second-hand but it is important to buy ethically and shop only when an item of clothing needs to be replaced.
Another area where a lot of resources are wasted is your bed linen. There are certain fabrics that are less sustainable than others. That’s why it’s important to choose your bedding carefully, opting for organic hemp or recycled cotton over nylon and polyester – both of which are made from petrochemicals.
There are many other things that you can do but half the fun of curating an environmentally-friendly home is discovering your own sustainable solutions. Let us know if you have any wonderful eco-hacks that you can’t live without.
Cover Image: Micky Hoyle for Condé Nast House & Garden