Adopting a sustainable or eco-friendly lifestyle is more doable that you imagined. It’s not just about using less plastic (although that’s a huge step in the right direction, given how much microplastics we’re actually consuming each week), but about changing our mindsets and adopting simple habits that save the earth. They’re not drastic changes and you can even implement them in stages to meet your end goals.
Here are 10 ways you can lead a more sustainable life at home, while saving money at the same time.
Ultimately, excessive consumption is one of the major issues that is taking a toll on the environment. By scaling back on the things you purchase, especially non-essential items, you can help lessen the impact on the environment, too.
Instead of tossing old furniture, a fresh coat of paint or new fittings can have you seeing worn-out pieces in a new light. Consider an unexpected colour on an oriental design or adding quirky knobs to a vintage cabinet. Not quite a handyman? Send your furniture to places like Hock Siong & Co. and Second Charm for upholstery and restoration work.
Get the look of warmth in your home with beautifully crafted wood furniture, but be sure that you buy from stores that advocate the use of ethically sourced wood. Soul and Tables make furniture such as dining tables, bed frames and bookshelves with wood such as teak, which are sourced from sustainable plantations in Java, Indonesia. They also work closely to ensure trees are replanted and that only certain numbers are felled every year.
Cotton, for example, is a widely used natural material but the cultivation of it often involves the use of chemicals, insecticide and pesticide. It’s also commonly treated with formaldehyde to reduce creasing. Earth-friendly alternatives include organic cotton, bamboo, natural hemp, soy and lempur as well as recycled polyester.
Play your part in reducing the use of plastics. Make the switch from singleuse plastic containers to reusable options, and cut down on cling wrap usage too. Instead, try Minimakers’ organic cotton beeswax wraps, which are washable, reusable and compostable. They are made locally with stylish designer fabrics.
Use natural solutions for cleaning instead of chemical-laden ones that pollute the earth. Lemon juice, baking soda, and white vinegar are all gentle cleaners that are safe for the environment and pet-friendly, too.
Make your own eco-friendly toilet bomb to unclog your WC:
½ cup of baking soda
½ cup of cornstarch
½ cup of lemon juice 2-3 tablespoons of water
Natural essential oil
1. In a ziplock bag, add baking soda, cornstarch and lemon juice until mixture clumps.
2. Then, add two to three tablespoons of water in the mixture and knead it.
3. Repeat this step until the mixture feels like a piece of dough.
4. Add 15 drops of your favourite essential oil in the dough mixture and knead again.
5. Store them in ice trays and leave them to dry for a couple of days. Once dry, remove one of the toilet bombs and throw them into your toilet bowl. Let it fizz up for a couple of minutes before you flush.
Food waste is a worldwide problem, with organic matter in landfills contributing to methane emissions. Here’s how the average person can help: Keep tabs of what you have in your pantry and refrigerator, and plan a detailed shopping list, so you don’t end up buying what you already have or don’t need.
Your fridge can play a part too; LG’s Instaview Door-In-Door refrigerator allows you to see its contents just by knocking on its mirrored glass panel, and has other high-tech functions to maintain food freshness and cut back on wastage.
Instead of purchasing bottles after bottles of home necessities, from food to shampoo and shower gel, purchase in bulk from zero-waste stores like The Source Bulk Foods, where you can get just what you need and refill them in your recyclable containers. Opt for reusable capsules from Nespresso when it comes to your daily cuppa.
You’ve bought that reusable bag but there’s just one problem – you’re forgetting to bring it out. Make it a habit to stash it back in your day bag when it’s not in use, have one in the car, or keep it somewhere visible (like in a basket beside the front door) so you’ll remember to grab it before you go.
Just be sure to give it a good wash-and-soak once in a while!
Consumption of bottled and canned drinks generates a lot of waste. Instead of reaching for a can of soda, get your sparkling beverage fix by making your own aerated water with Sodastream. This nifty gadget allows you to create your own blends of fizzy drinks, while reducing the amount of waste from single-use drink bottles.
This article was first published in Home & Decor.