With the devastating daily news of environmental degradation, the ever-expanding soup of plastic in the ocean, and increased carbon dioxide emissions, many of us feel at a loss as to how we can live more environmentally friendly lifestyles, and this paralyses us into inaction. There are however, a multitude of small habits that we can all adopt which will significantly reduce our environmental footprint. 

Renewable Forms of Electricity

With recent advances in renewable energy technologies, alternatives forms of electricity are becoming cheaper by the day. Although it may not yet be a viable option for all households, if you are able to equip your house with renewable alternatives you are likely to save money in the long run while also contributing to a cleaner community. 

Solar panels are a favourite amongst those making the move to eco-friendly households. The most effective use one would be for it to power the heating your geyser as this component typically consumes the most electricity of all household appliances. There are of course other forms of renewable power sources but solar remains the most accessible and practical for household units today. 

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

There is a wide range of eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today that can even be found in your mainstream supermarket. They are just as effective as normal cleaning products without all the harmful chemicals that find their way into your water, clothes, garden, greater community, and ocean. 

If natural cleaning product alternatives are too expensive, there are many DIY recipes that require cheap ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda that you can try out. 

Cold Wash and Air Dry

When you use your washing machine, a shocking 90% of the total energy expenditure goes towards heating the water. Not only does a cold wash cut down on electricity consumption and costs, but it ultimately preserves the integrity of your clothing in the long run while also avoiding the runoff of the pesky micro-plastics that are found in most clothes today. 

When it comes to drying your clothing, let it hang outside in the wind or sun while you check this site, instead of switching on the tumble-dryer. As goes for the cold wash, this option is more environmentally friendly as tumble-dryers are famously taxing on the electricity metre while also damaging your laundry. Invest in a clothes horse so that you can follow the sun in the winter months. 

Recycle and Compost

Purchase two bins – one for recycling and one for composting. If you have no use for compost, see if there is a community garden that you could donate to or perhaps one of your friends has a vegetable patch. 

When it comes to recycling, ensure that items are clean and dry before placing them into the bin and register with a trusted recycling company. It is important to remember that reducing your waste and reusing materials should always precede recycling – do not use it as an excuse to generate more waste. 

Lauren Sanchez - Author

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