As we mentioned last month, we’re on a mission to make 2019 our greenest year yet! And, like most things, change starts in the home.
While the thought of running a fully sustainable household might be daunting — as in, complicated, time-consuming, and expensive! — we’re focusing on a few simple changes we can put in place that will make a noticeable reduction in our impact while being realistic to maintain day to day.
Want to join us? Here are the first five changes we’ll be making to create a more eco-friendly home this year:
If you’re still washing with hot water every time you launder, stop. Seriously. It’s unnecessary, hugely energy sapping, and actually creates more wear on your clothing. If certain items do require a warm or hot wash, try to minimise it to one load per week, or wash by hand (even better!) Collect your machine water and recycle it for use in your garden — just make sure that the laundry liquid you’re using is garden safe! A few of our favourite eco-friendly laundry liquids include Ecostore, Earthwise (NZ only for now, sorry!), and Kin Kin naturals.
Smarter heating (and cooling):
Use less energy by getting a little more clever with how you heat and cool your home. Make sure any drafts in your home are plugged and remember that it’s more energy efficient to maintain the temperature than to change it drastically. Translation: get ahead of the heat in summer by closing curtains and windows at the start of a heatwave, and use your air conditioner on a low setting to keep your home in a comfortable temperature. Oscillating fans are also a great way to make the most of your heating and cooling efforts, helping to circulate air throughout your home.
Contrary to popular assumptions, compost doesn’t have to be stinky and gross. All it takes is a little careful forethought and you could be making a sizable dent in your weekly rubbish collection while enjoying the benefits of free garden fertilizer (win-win!) Use a countertop or under sink bin (just make sure it has a good lid) to capture all those food scraps, and transfer them to a compost bin in your garden. You can compost fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, grass clippings, dry leaves, finely chopped wood, and shredded paper. Just remember to avoid putting any diseased plants, treated wood, or anything containing meat, oil, fat, dairy, or grease into your bin. Still not convinced composting is right for you? Get inspired by these chic compost bin ideas from our friends at Home and Garden.
Home-made cleaning products:
We all love that clean, sterile feeling from using heavy duty cleaners in the kitchen and bathroom. But, those harsh chemical cleaners all end up in our water supply and can wreak havoc on our environment. Make the pledge to go bleach-free this year! Most day-to-day cleaning can be tackled by homemade cleaning products using natural ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, like vinegar, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda. For an easy all-purpose cleaner, try a simple mix of white vinegar and water (half-n-half works for us!) and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Or, take a look at these seven great natural cleaning recipes.
DIY herb garden:
Save money, plastic packaging, grocery transport miles, and wasted plants (cause seriously, how often do you actually use all of that giant bunch of basil before it goes bad?) by growing your own herbs. Parsley, basil, mint, rosemary and coriander are all easy to grow and require very little maintenance. If you have room, set up a herb garden in the corner of your backyard, or simply use a few plant pots on your deck, or even a sunny windowsill in your kitchen!