Sustainability matters: How to be more eco-friendly at home
- Credit: PA
Going green and making eco-friendly living a lifestyle choice for yourself and future generations is not only hugely important for the planet, but it can also save on household bills.
There's lots of ways we can make more sustainable switches at home, and it all adds up. To point you in the right direction, here, MoneyExpert.com CEO Jason Smith shares 10 top tips for living more sustainably...
1. Switch to a green energy provider
'One of the simplest and quickest ways to make a difference to the way you live is to switch to a green energy provider. All of the electricity you use through a 100% renewable tariff is effectively zero carbon.
'Shockingly, Moneyexpert.com's research revealed that three-quarters of Brits do not currently use a green energy provider. It's so simple and easy to switch, and you can do so at any time - there really isn't any excuse.'
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2. Switch off!
'Leaving the TV on standby should be a thing of the past. It wastes needless energy and really increases your bills. It's simple: if it's not being used, switch it off! The same applies to lights, heating and any appliance.
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'Over the past 12 months, our research reveals 39 per cent of UK adults have started to turn off stand-by appliances at the mains, so it's encouraging to see people changing their habits.
'Having a smart meter in the house, in clear view, is also a clever way to track which electricity sources using the most energy. Noting this down can be an easy way to reduce consumption and your bills.'
'Recycling couldn't be easier nowadays, so it's a mystery as to why more people aren't taking the time to do so. If you're confused, your local authority website will be able to share detail of local recycling policies and what's being done in your area.
'Over half (51 per cent) of Brits say their own children are putting pressure on them to recycle, so it's great to see that future generations are so aware of the importance of recycling. It's never too late to consider what happens to packaging when it's been used, so we should all be making this change.'
4. Eliminate plastic
Encouragingly, Smith says Moneyexpert.com's research shows 57 per cent of Brits have used less plastic and fewer plastic bags in the last 12 months.
'What a huge shift in just a year alone. Eliminating plastic can be extremely tough, however with more places offering paper bags and household products being more widely available in unpackaged form (everything from cleaning products to pulses and pasta), things are getting easier. And 39 per cent of Brits revealed their children have asked them about their use of plastic, so again this is a topic we need to face head-on.'
5. Get walking
'There's no longer any justification for jumping in the car for short journeys. If you can walk to your destination in 20 minutes or less, then take some fresh air. Consider the impact of these short car journeys on the environment, and being more active can benefit our health too.'
6. Cut down as much as possible
'Ask yourself this simple question: how long do I spend in the shower? If you're shocked at your answer then it's time to rethink. Whether it's the time spent showering, how long the heating is on full whack, or how much time you spend re-boiling the kettle for that cup of tea you still haven't got round to making - all this time, and energy, adds up. So, if you can shave a few minutes off your morning shower, then consider making that small change.
'We can also look to cut-down on our meat and dairy consumption, and buy fresh produce from the UK, as this has a huge impact on the environment (increases pollution and fuels climate change). It's not too much of a challenge to introduce 'Meat-free Mondays' to your household as a starting point.'
7. Turn down the thermo
'Moneyexpert.com recently revealed a number of heating hacks that Brits use to keep their heating switched off for as long as possible. It's cold outside, there's no denying that, but our bodies are capable of surviving more traumatic things than the weather. Wear an extra jumper, wrap up in a blanket, put your coat on when you're outside so you can feel the benefit.
'All tips we've heard time and time again, but they work. And you'll thank yourself when your next electricity bill comes through.'
8. Light up with LED
'Using LED light-bulbs is a no-brainer. Not only do they last longer, but they're far more energy efficient than conventional bulbs. And there're so many different designs around now, you can achieve whatever effect you want for your home. You'll be replacing the bulbs far less frequently too, so lots of savings in the long-run.'
9. Switch to reuseable cups for morning coffee
'So many of us need a barista-made morning coffee to begin our day, and it's so encouraging to see the amount of coffee shops who reduce the cost if you bring your own reusable coffee cup. This is such a simple change that anybody can make, and is also an effective way to live more sustainably.'
10. Spread the word
'Speaking about environmental issues frequently will help other people to develop more of a green conscience. Setting an example is such a powerful thing, so we really shouldn't forget how influential we can be.'