Taking steps to be more sustainable can seem daunting. Social media can be full of people living off grid and getting all their rubbish into one small jar. However, this isn't a practical way of being more sustainable for most families.
At Kidamajig, we are big believers that everyone doing something is better than a few people going all out. These small steps can be a foundation to build on, to take bigger steps in the future. Or they might inspire someone close to you to do the same.
Here are our top 15 tips to starting to be more sustainable at home.
1. Turn it off
TVs, phone chargers, toasters, in fact anything with a plug! Once you are done with it, turn it off. At the plug. If you can see the red bit on the switch then it is using energy. Yup, only a tadge, but it is still using it.
2. Cook on residual heat
So you are cooking a bit of pasta, tasty stuff. That burner doesn't need to be on full whack the whole time. Once the water is boiling you can turn it right down (or off!), it's not going to go stone cold the moment you turn the heat off.
3. Turn off the taps
Brushing your teeth? Then make sure the taps are off whilst you are brushing. Water is a vital resource and we need to take more care of it.
4. Do you need to get in the car? Walk. Cycle. Get the bus. Get the train. Lift Share. Get your shopping delivered.
No matter what we think, cars are absolute luxuries. However, we treat them like an essential. Fuel costs, MOTs, insurance, road tax, servicing - the costs of running a car just keep coming. Question every journey - could I get the bus? Could I walk? Is someone else going that way that could take you? Every full 52 seater bus can take away a mile of traffic off the roads. Every supermarket delivery van can take 20 cars off the road. Small changes - big impacts.
5. Air Dry Clothes
Wind and sunshine - completely free. That tumble dryer. Not so much.
6. Switch to green energy
Look at your energy providers. How do they produce their energy? Why not look at companies like Bulb or Octopus who provide green energy. (If you do want to switch to bulb, let me know! We can give you a referral code where we both get £50 for free! Not an AD, just helping each other out!)
7. Switch out your bulbs
Replace your dead bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs like LED ones.
8. Shop Local
Before you order it online or buy it from a massive chain - have you tried your local high street. A small independent trader might have one sat right there waiting for you. Jeff Bezos has enough money, maybe share some of your hard earned pennies with someone who actually pays tax in the UK?
Same for stuff like fruit and veg and meat. Less food miles, fresh and seasonal. Lovely stuff.
9. Eat less meat
I'm not saying go Vegan, or even vegetarian. But reducing your meat intake will help in reducing your carbon footprint.
10. Bring Your Own
Cups, water bottles, cutlery, straws, bags. If there is a single use version of it then you bet there is a reusable version as well.
11. Meal Plan
Knowing what you are eating for the week means you generally buy less and therefore reduce your food waste.
12. DIY cleaning products.
Mrs Hinch and her hinchers may all be busy rearranging their under sink cupboards with the millions of special cleaning products - but realistically all you need is a bit of lemon, some white vinegar, some bicarb and a nice smelling essential oil.
Libraries aren't just for books. The modern library is full of all sorts including DVDs, CDs and newspapers. As well as PCs, printers and photocopiers - all for you to use. (Also, libraries are at a use them or lose them crisis point! Once they are lost, they are gone forever, so let's keep them, yeah?!)
Equally, you don't always NEED to buy something to complete a job. Maybe someone you know has one you could borrow? Don't ask, don't get!
14. Mend it or re-purpose it.
I've had a pair of brown boots for 14 years. I love them. Like really love them. When the sole started to wear out I had a minor panic that I would never be able to replace these amazing perfect boots. But £15 later at the cobbler and they were as good as new. Hopefully for another 14 years, when I can have them repaired again, and again, and again. Holes can be patched, items that are too big can be altered, shoes can be re-heeled.
Similarly, if it can't be repaired, can it be used in another way. Old t-shirts make great cleaning rags, newspapers make great wrapping paper, broken crockery is really useful when potting plants up. I can't part with my children's first wellies (sentimental you know?!) but they do make amazing planters for my herbs in my kitchen window :)
Obviously, we are massive advocates of buying preloved! Clothes, shoes, books, garden tools, toys, bikes, furniture - you name it, we buy it preloved. Then, when we are done with it we sell it on. When you stop loving something or don't have the house space for it anymore, be sure someone else will :)
Jumble sales, car-boot sales, online, the post office window or even the tip - there is always some way of passing on your goods to a new home.
We have a million more (maybe a slight exaggeration) of these tips, but we would love to hear yours as well! Why not head over to our Instagram or Facebook and share them with us?!