A Guide for Eco-Conscious Homeowners in 2021
Guest Post By Rebecca Clarke
As climate change continues to have an adverse effect on the natural world around us, as well as having a big impact on our way of thinking politically, more and more of us are making significant changes to our lifestyles in order to live more sustainably. Green living undoubtedly starts at home, and there are many ways in which you can adopt an eco-conscious lifestyle as a homeowner, whether it’s choosing to buy eco-friendly products, being more energy efficient at home or making your garden more accessible to wildlife.
Communities, both at home and abroad, need to come together if we are to slow climate change to a level where we can prevent widespread disaster, and limiting the impact your household has on the environment will not only ensure that you’re doing your bit, it will also go towards setting a good example to your neighbours, family and friends. This guide will explore some of the ways in which you can do your bit for the environment as a homeowner in 2021.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reducing the amount of waste your household produces is a great first step in becoming environmentally responsible at home. Our shopping habits have changed considerably in the last few years, with so many of us now opting to buy products made from reusable, recyclable or compostable materials to minimise the impact we have on the environment.
Consider the amount of waste that is likely to be produced when deciding which products to buy, as well as how that waste will be disposed of. Ensure that your recyclable materials are sorted correctly at home, so you aren’t sending waste to landfill unnecessarily. Also, think about reducing the amount of packaging you use altogether by purchasing groceries from zero waste shops and storing them in reusable containers.
Rather than throwing away your unwanted or seldom-used goods, consider how you can share them with those in your community. Websites such as Vinted and Regain encourage clothing swaps, while The Good Neighbour provides a platform for community tool rental, offering environmentally friendly alternatives to buying brand new or sending your undesirables to the landfill.
Home storage is also important when it comes to producing less waste at home. Being able to store tools, materials and other utilities at your property – for use at home or at work – will allow you to keep a handle on the recycling of reusable materials such as plastic and cardboard packaging. Having appropriate storage space at home will also negate the need to travel as often to hire or collect goods, providing you with the opportunity to buy in bulk, which will ultimately lead to less carbon emissions. It’s worth looking into options like renting or buying used shipping containers if you’re looking for extra storage space (which is another example of recycling and reusing!).
Support Eco-friendly Companies and Charities
Shopping for sustainable, eco-friendly products is a great way to do your bit for the environment from home. Buying goods such as clothing, furniture and other household items made from recycled, sustainable materials will not only allow you to save on waste when you’re finished with them, but you will also be supporting companies that take care to limit their own environmental impact, as opposed to those that are more convenience-driven.
Donating to local and national climate charities is also a great way to support the crucial work being carried out by others to protect the environment. By taking part in national campaigns such as Big Garden Birdwatch from the RSPB, you’ll be providing crucial information for the conservation of British wildlife, as well as reaping the benefits of your own hard work.
Be Energy Efficient at Home
Another key factor of being eco-conscious is remembering to keep an eye on the amount of energy your household uses. Getting into good habits in terms of switching off lighting, heating and appliances when it isn’t essential to have them running is a great first step, but it’s also important to be aware of exactly how much energy you’re using, as well as highlighting the areas in which you might be able to make cutbacks.
Having an up-to-date EPC inspection of your property will provide you with a detailed breakdown of its energy efficiency. You can also use your smart meter, which are provided by most UK energy providers, to keep track of your household energy usage on a daily basis, allowing you to compare your recent consumption with previous weeks and make a conscious effort to use less.
You might also consider opting for green energy tariff for your home when choosing an energy provider. Green tariffs promote sustainable energy consumption by donating the equivalent of your household’s usage back to the national grid in the form of renewable energy. To go a step further, you could consider installing solar panels to power your home. Solar is one the most sustainable forms of renewable energy and while the panels themselves can be expensive, opting for solar power can actually save you money in the long term.
Make the Most of Your Garden
Most of us take a huge amount of pride in our gardens and how they look, but as well as keeping up appearances, they also have a key role to play in the conservation of wildlife. There is plenty you can do to transform your garden into much-needed habitat for birds, insects and small mammals, including adding wildlife-friendly plants and taking good care of your green spaces.
Consider allowing easy access to your garden for small mammals by creating a clear runway, including entrances and exits through a gap in your fence or hedgerow. When looking after your lawn or grassed areas, think about keeping some sections longer for the benefit of wildlife such as birds and insects. Creating mown paths through your lawn or mowing areas of grass to different lengths will allow you to maintain a neat look while ensuring wildlife can survive and thrive.
Water sources are vital for birds and small mammals of all kinds. In your garden, consider placing them at a variety of heights, such as in a raised birdbath as well as having a bowl on the ground for hedgehogs and other small mammals. Adding the right plants to your garden is a great way to attract pollinators as well as other insects and birds and having a small pond in your garden will provide ideal habitat for amphibians and insects.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to reduce the emissions produced from processing and transporting the food we eat, not to mention providing a healthy, organic alternative to shop-bought, convenience foods. When growing your own produce, make the most of the spaces in your garden, on your patio or even on your windowsill or balcony that get the most sunlight.
Making just a few small but significant changes to our everyday routines could soon add up, especially if others are inspired to do the same. If we all contribute to doing our small bit for the planet, then it will be even easier to adapt to a more eco-conscious lifestyle. You don’t have to be Mother Earth, but starting from home will certainly help!
- Homepage, S Jones Containers, https://www.sjonescontainers.co.uk/
- ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’, RSPB, https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/
- ‘Solar panels, Energy Saving Trust, https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/solar-panels/
- ‘Starting a vegetable garden from scratch’, Sarah Raven, https://www.sarahraven.com/articles/starting-a-vegetable-garden-from-scratch.htm
- ‘6 Trends in Sustainable Living’, Journey to Going Green, https://journeytogoinggreen.com/education/6-trends-in-sustainable-living/
- ‘Sustainable lifestyle – A trend to adopt eco & healthy lifestyle’, Green Clean Guide, https://greencleanguide.com/sustainable-lifestyle-a-trend-to-adopt-eco-healthy-lifestyle/