Katie Tyndale is the founder and owner of Bee Green Wraps and Let’s Go Plastic Free. She’s on a mission to remove single-use plastics from the planet and replace them with stylish, practical and eco-friendly products for the whole family. Here she shares simple ways in which anyone can make their home more eco-friendly.
You might presume that making your home more eco-friendly means taking on big projects, like solar panels and compostable toilets, but there are plenty of simple things you can do that are effective too.
Take a walk around your house and count how many products you’re using that contain chemicals (cleaners, toiletries, cosmetics etc.). The number of nasty toxins in each one may be small but their accumulative effect on your health and the environment isn’t. An easy change you can make for a greener home is to replace them with natural alternatives. And you don’t have to fork out on expensive shop-bought eco-products to do that, either.
For a hygienic house all you actually need is a few supermarket staples: white vinegar and bicarb of soda clean brilliantly, and a squeeze of lemon or an infused sprig of rosemary ensures it smells fresh too.
Talking of delicious-smelling rooms, swap chemical-ridden air fresheners for essential oils in diffusers, or a few drops added to your duster or vacuum filter. Filling your home with houseplants will also greatly improve your air quality.
And your kitchen is full of things that can be used to make you look and feel good: oils, bicarb, porridge oats, honey, fruit, veg, coffee, tea bags…there are some great natural beauty websites that will show you how!
Firstly, turn your heating down by one degree. It’s a tiny action but has a huge impact. Stop heat escaping from windows and doors by hanging thick curtains and, if you’ve got wooden floors, lay rugs over them to stop warm air escaping through the cracks.
And what can you do to ‘eco-up’ your appliances? Use energy-efficient cookware in your oven, like glass, silicone and ceramic, and don’t keep opening the door to check on your food as it greatly extends the cooking time.
Pick the coolest machine cycle for your clothes, or hand wash in cold water (it will still get them clean!). Use an ecologically-sound laundry liquid or soap nuts, which are natural, hypo-allergenic and compostable.
Hang clothes up where possible, but if you have to use your dryer, use dryer balls to reduce the time needed (these also keep wrinkles at bay). Ensure you clean the filter regularly, as well, to keep it running smoothly.
Make sure your fridge is standing in the shadiest part of your kitchen. If it’s in direct sunlight then it uses more energy to keep food cool. Additionally, keeping its coils (either on the back of the unit, or underneath) free from dust and grime helps it stay efficient.
Opening the fridge door unnecessarily uses a lot of energy. But if you are a fridge-gazer then keep it, and the freezer, full as less cooling is lost when they’re densely packed.
Water, water everywhere
Even small households use a lot of water but by following a few simple guidelines you can make sure you use it responsibly.
Choose showers over baths, but use a timer so you keep them short. Install an aerated showerhead to reduce the amount of water used. Fix dripping taps and keep them turned off while brushing your teeth or shaving. If your toilet isn’t a modern water-saver, put a displacement device in the cistern to reduce the flush.
Save washing water for indoor plants and flowers, and use a water butt for watering the garden rather than a hose.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Purchase loose fruit and veg to avoid unnecessary packaging and why not try eco-bricking to save unrecyclable plastic from landfill?
Buy from – and donate to – charity shops to extend the lives of clothes, books, toys, furniture and other household items.
Choose recycled toilet roll, tissues and paper, cut up old material to use instead of kitchen roll, and get rid of cling film and foil altogether by employing beeswax wraps to cover and keep food fresh.
About the expert
Katie Tyndale is the founder and owner of Bee Green Wraps and Let’s Go Plastic Free. She’s on a mission to remove single-use plastics from the planet and replace them with stylish, practical and eco-friendly products for the whole family.