The plight of the environment and rising concerns about climate change feature increasingly in the public conscience today. On first consideration, it may seem there is little any individual can do to affect change for the better. In truth, everyone can make a difference. By actively considering the eco-friendly credentials of products in and around the home, it is possible to effectively contribute to the future wellbeing of the environment, reducing air and water pollution and reversing the damage done by greenhouse gasses. Eco-friendly home choices often lead to improved health and a lower proportion of the household budget being spent on fuel. There are some simple ways to start living a greener lifestyle outlined below.
Bamboo is increasingly being used to fashion all sorts of products, from furniture and flooring to kitchen implements. Bamboo has far greater sustainability than most materials, either synthetic or natural. Wood from bamboo plants can be harvested every three to five years, and patches of bamboo produce 35% more oxygen than the same area of trees. Bamboo is also typically grown without the use of fertilisers or pesticides.
Using electricity produced from solar energy sources will help avert an energy crisis and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Contrary to what many believe – solar technology is effective even given the UK’s notoriously disastrous summers. All that is required to generate power is ordinary daylight, though much more power is produced on sunny days.
A good idea is a solar oven. These devices are for outside use and they use the sun’s direct energy to cook or heat up food and drink. Heat settings can be adjusted so food cooks quickly or so that the solar oven operates as a slow cooker. It is possible to purchase myriad shelves and attachments enabling roasting, stewing, grilling or frying of food. Using these in the UK will be confined to the summer months.
Home-grown food is bursting with freshness and health giving properties. For storage, Abeego wrap is a superb eco alternative to cling-film or Tupperware. Made from natural products known for their preservative properties, Abeego wrap allows food to be kept incredibly fresh. Made from hemp, jojoba oil, organic cotton and covered with a beeswax coating – Abeego is both fluid and air resistant. The wrap is reusable – easily washed with cool soapy water – and can be composted when it is no longer effective.
Rainwater harvesting is the collection of rainwater in large butts, which can then be utilised for exterior or non-drinking purposes. With an approved water filtration system, harmful bacteria and chemicals can be removed making rainwater safe to drink.
Chemical cleaning products can be extremely harmful both to human health and the environment. Natural products are the best way to ensure safety when using cleaning products. White vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda can be used to clean a multitude of substances or stains from surfaces and materials. If the convenience and extra power of commercial cleaners is essential – products made from natural plant based ingredients that carry no toxic or corrosive markings are the best to use.
When furnishing a home, reclaimed wood and bamboo are stunning natural materials with fantastic eco credentials. An eco range of contemporary furniture is available, giving a charming rustic-chic feel to any room. For those with a creative bent – upcycling seems a fad that is set to stay. Wooden pallets can be used to form bases for beds or sofas, and old crates or barrels make fantastic coffee tables. Sheets and clothing can be turned into furniture covers. With a little creativity – so many disused items can be turned to beautiful or practical new uses.
This article features a small sample of eco-friendly ideas for the home. Preserving the environment is everyone’s responsibility and taking action to do so can also improve health and be good for the family budget.