Climate Change and Global Warming are massive topics which are finally getting the attention they deserve in the news & media. At this point in time, we all need to be looking for ways to be more eco-friendly in our daily lives, but they don’t need to be massive changes. I asked my friend Ben (Master of Ponds MSc) who’s a GIS & Environmental Officer at the Wildlife Trust for his advice on being more environmentally caring.
‘Why is it important that we all make small changes at home?’
“It’s important because everybody making small changes can make a big overall difference, and send a message about the change we want to see in the world. These often seem like big scary issues that only governments and corporations can fix but we all have power as consumers to make eco-friendly choices and support the “green” industries. Many of the things you can do in and around your home will benefit your local wildlife in more ways than you realise, whilst your choices will help encourage global change.”- Ben
1. Switch to Recyclable Toiletries
One super easy way to help is to switch your disposable toiletries for recyclable ones. Over one billion plastic toothbrushes end up in the landfill every year in the USA alone! Rather than using plastic toothbrushes, switching to recyclable ones is so much easier and pretty cheap.
Personally I buy from Giving Brush but there are tonnes of others places too. Along with toothbrushes you can also get biodegradable ear buds and toilet roll. Who Gives a Crap offer a subscription of eco friendly toilet roll and are offering the first subscription free on their site!
2. Grow your own Produce
Growing your own fruit and veg is pretty easy and fun too. Plus you know it hasn’t been sprayed with anything yucky and there’s no unnecessary plastic bags being involved.
I’ve started growing my own spinach, sage and basil amongst others and it’s so nice to make meals with our home grown veg and herbs.
We’re also growing raspberries and strawberries and it’s all very low maintenance to keep going. All you need is some seeds, pots and soil plus a bit of plant food and you’re good to go!
3. Home Composting
Composting is an inexpensive way to turn natural waste into nutritious compost for the garden. By putting your food, garden and plant waste into a composter it’ll break it down into a mulch which can be used to feed flowers, replenish potting soil and encourage tree growth. I’ll be using it to help my herbs grow later in the year.
It’s worth checking with your council if they do subsidised compost bins- ours was heavily subsidised by the council and along with a small kitchen bin has been a really easy way to start composting our waste food, teabags and cat hair. We got our bin from GetComposting.
4. Reusable Straws
The whole plastic straw thing is a big topic at the moment. Whilst I absolutely agree that disabled people who need plastic straws should have access to them, if you don’t genuinely need a plastic straw there are plenty of alternatives.
We have both metal and bamboo straws in the house which each came with a cleaner and weren’t very expensive to buy. It feels a lot better to not be using so much disposable plastic all the time.
5. Eco friendly food wraps
Instead of using clingfilm for keeping food fresh, why not try reusable food wraps. These keep your food fresh and can just be washed and reused rather than being yet another piece of plastic or foil in the bin.
To make them, you just need some scrap cloth and some wax, alternatively there are plenty to buy online (or you could message my friend’s etsy to commission some!).
6. Eco friendly cleaning products
You already buy cleaning products, so switching over to eco friendly ones is easy. Brands like ecover offer a cruelty free alternative which is less harmful to the environment and yourself. Most supermarkets now stock eco friendly cleaning products so it’s simple to switch.
I’m a big fan of the eco egg, which is used in place of washing detergent. The egg saves you so much money too as it’s good for 210 washes! Simply put it inside the washing machine and knwo your clothes are being washed free of chemicals- that means no nasty chemical filled water waste too.
7. Bucket ponds
“Ponds are stepping stones in an otherwise hostile landscape for aquatic life. Roads and cities create barriers for wildlife to move and disperse across the country, and it’s even harder for creatures which rely on water as over the last few decades our rivers have become full of pollution and we have lost around 1 million ponds in the UK.
Putting a pond (even a bucket one) in your garden is helping to rebuild a resilient natural recovery network and provide vital connections through urban/suburban areas for amphibians, birds and insects.” -Ben
8.Plant Bee Friendly Plants
“Planting native, pollinator friendly plants is one of the best things you can do to help support wildlife. These wildflowers will provide food for bees, butterflies and other insects as well as looking absolutely stunning around this time of year. Again, it’s a connectivity problem – we’ve lost around 97% of wildflower meadows since WW2 and we need to let our gardens go wild and get rid of those hideously boring lawns to support our birds and insects. Leave long patches of grass, stop calling things weeds and plant some wildflower seeds in your garden.” – Ben
9. Visit Your Local Wildlife Trust
If you want to learn more about the environment in general, meet like-minded people and get more ideas about being environmentally friendly, you local Wildlife Trust is a great place to visit. With centers all over the UK and 800,000 members, there’s a wealth of information to be shared, plus it’s a great thing to be part of. Along with information, your local center will offer events, nature walks and education days so it’s worth checking out.
What do you do to be more eco-friendly? I’d love to read some more ideas! You can also follow Ben on twitter for more insights into the environment.
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