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40% of UK emissions come from households, according to the latest Committee On Carbon Change report. Although the percentage has been decreasing for the last decade, there is still a lot of work to be done to make the drastic changes we need to make as a country, to contribute to a necessary worldwide reduction in carbon emissions. With that in mind, there’s a lot more all UK households can do to try and reduce their carbon footprint. This is especially relevant considering that according to NASA, the surface temperature of the earth has risen 2 degrees since the end of the 19th century and was mostly caused by the effects us humans have had on the earth. Most of this warming happened over the last 35 years with all but one of the warmest ever years occurring since 2001. The good news is that each and every person can make a massive difference just by making a few changes in the house they live in:
1. Do Light, The Scandinavian Way
Scandinavian decor has been rising in popularity for years, but there’s more than the way they decorate their homes that we can learn from Scandi-minimalism and its beautiful aesthetics. Primarily we could all cut down on the amount that we use electricity. Leaving bedroom lights on, leaving the TV and games consoles on standby, leaving items on charge when they don’t need to be charged. These are all examples of electricity overuse. Instead, try and be conscious of the electricity you use and utilise natural light as much as possible. In Scandinavia light is capitalised in home decor because there is so little of it in the winter months. So give your windows a good clean, open the curtains and clear those window sills. You could even look at increasing the amount of light you let into your home with additions like roof lights, wall to ceiling windows and beautiful bifold doors.
2. Deal With Drips
According to Watersafe, fixing just one dripping tap can save 5500 litres of water a year as well as a fair few pounds off your utility bill. With many people in the world struggling to even get access to fresh water, and with the UK experiencing a water shortage, fixing leaky taps is the least we can do to ensure we aren’t wasting this precious resource.
Other ways of reducing the amount of water used could be:-
- Eating less meat – it takes 2500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef. Reducing your consumption of meat will lessen your impact on the environment. Why not try Meat Free Mondays as a start?
- Get some water efficient devices – gadgets like water meters and eco-friendly shower adapters can help effectively reduce water usage.
- Don’t run the tap whilst you brush your teeth – you only need to rinse your brush at the end.
- Shorten your shower – shortening your shower by just a minute will save lots of water.
3. Ditch The Plastic
If you, like the rest of the UK, sat in horror watching the scenes on Blue Planet 2 with plastic littering the oceans and killing wildlife, you’ll already know there is a problem with plastic worldwide. Nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic are products annually, and a massive 50% of those products are for single use only. Plastic we may use for ten minutes like carrier bags can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose. Cutting your plastic footprint could be a really good step towards making your modern home modern home eco-friendly. Check out these great tips from Greenpeace to help you ditch the plastic in your home today.
4. Grow Your Own
Growing your own fruit and vegetables is rewarding because you’re actively growing delicious produce yourself and getting the satisfaction of providing food for your family. However, it also has a really positive impact on your effort to be more eco-friendly. Everything you buy in the supermarket has been on a journey and has its very own carbon footprint. For example: An orange could have been grown in spain, with industrial machinery used to collect it and sort it out. Plastic was produced for the net and label it sits in, and then it was flown over on a plane before then getting transported to the supermarket to be presented to you for purchase. Growing your own cuts out all that plastic and fuel, and saves you some money too. Take a look at this YouTube video on the easiest vegetables to grow in your kitchen to get inspired.
5. Be Mindful Of What You’re Consuming
As a society we are now buying and throwing away more items than we ever had. Take a look at Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things for a shocking journey of realisation into how much as a society we are buying and throwing away, and the problem is only set to get worse. Being mindful of what you’re consuming in terms of food, water, energy, clothes and gadgets is a really good start to making positive changes in the home. Could you start to shop at a plastic free supermarket? Could you invest in plastic-free shopping bags? Could you upcycle anything from that bag of clutter you have bagged up to throw away? Could you invest in solar power for the home? Is there a possibility you could invest in higher quality clothes and avoid throwaway fashion? Consumption has lost control across the world, and you can make a major step towards making your home more eco-friendly just by being mindful of your consumption as a household.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead
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