How to easily reduce your footprint at home.
Change your interior. Detox your house. Buy differently. This article is not about new DIY decoration or new trends for colouring your walls. This is about how you can improve your quality of life. And guess what? The following tips will also save you money!
According to recent surveys, consumers are changing their consumption habits as a consequence of the unethical and unsustainable conduct of certain companies. Scandals related to the toxicity of specific components in consumer goods further incentivise people to shift towards a more responsible behaviour. Some companies are actively participating in this change by reducing their environmental impact. REWE for example, Germany’s second largest food retailer, recently announced that they will stop selling plastic bags.
Now, if you’re thinking that environmental issues can only be addressed at a governmental level, you’ll be surprised to hear that our daily actions have a huge impact. We can start reducing our footprint at home, by performing simple tasks on a daily basis. Check out our tips to be environmentally friendly and reduce your expenses!
1. Reduce packaging waste
Have you ever thought about the amount of trash you produce every time you go shopping ? Being aware of that will help you make more responsible choices when choosing products. Adopt an eco-friendly attitude to minimise packaging waste. In particular, when purchasing your products:
- Use reusable bags instead of plastic or paper bags (both have a huge footprint).
- Buy in bulks and avoid individual packed items: small packs generate more waste.
- Choose unwrapped fruit and vegetables: pre-packaged products are generally more expensive. Buy loose products where available.
- Look for items like laundry detergent in concentrated formulas: the container size is often smaller and requires less energy to be produced and transported.
- Opt for brands which prefer using recycled materials for packaging products.
- Choose glass or paper packaging over plastic.
- Avoid buying bottled water. There are 2.5 million plastic bottles thrown away each hour.
No doubt that avoiding to purchase plastic at all sounds a little too challenging for most people. However, everyone can play a big role in changing the quantity of packaging and waste we put out every day.
2. Prevent food waste and compost organic
Each year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is thrown away. According to the United Nations, this waste harms not only the economy, but also the environment. Here are a few suggestions to help you prevent this from happening:
- Buy only what you need. Making a shopping/menu list before going to the supermarket will help you avoid purchasing unnecessary stuff.
- Wait two hours before storing the remains of a hot dish in the refrigerator.
- Organise your food supplies efficiently in your fridge.
- Remember that most of your food remains are freezable.
- Freeze your leftovers or be creative and use them to make new meals.
In case you really need to get rid of certain food remains, why don’t you start composting ? This is an awesome solution to nurture plants and flowers and create a cool little garden in your apartment or on a terrace.
3. Use natural cleaning products
Nevertheless, nature provides some great cheap and ecological substances which can satisfy housekeeping needs.
- Baking soda: it shines glasses and silverware, cleans pots, neutralises unpleasant smells, removes traces of limestone from any surface.
- White vinegar: it can clean, disinfect, descale every surface, maintain specific materials like silverware and stainless steel. It can soften clothes and remove garden weeds.
- Lemon: with its high amount of critic acid, it is a great disinfectant. Mixed with salt, it forms an abrasive paste that cleans and whitens enamel contaminated seals.
- Essential oils: they have disinfectant, antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They can also be used as deodorant or insects repellent.
Simple to prepare, cheap and eco-friendly. These products only have one flaw: they won’t clean the house for you!
4. Reduce, reuse and recycle
Why would you throw away something if you can recycle it? Find out creative ways to give a new task to old stuff!
- Buy normal towels instead of paper towels.
- Avoid using plastic cutlery.
- Give second-hand shops a try! They’re cheaper and have cool stuff!
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of normal ones.
- Keep coffee grounds: use them as a peeling base, for organic composting or to absorb unpleasant smells in the fridge.
- Make a French toast with stale bread.
- Become a composting ninja! Eggs and cooking water boost plant growth. Powdered, egg shells serve as fertiliser to some plants lacking in vitality.
- Keep your old newspapers and use them to clean your windows and mirrors and to wrap gifts.
Be selective and avoid buying things you don’t need. Try to take responsible purchasing decisions, limit waste and be aware of your environmental impact.