6 Environmentally Friendly Changes to Make at Home
We all know we need to do our bit for the environment, but where to start? The answer is simpler than you might think: at home. That’s where it’s easiest to make small changes that can make a big difference to your family’s carbon footprint.
We’ve put together a handy list of six ways you can make your home life that little bit better for our planet — and your pocket too!
Cut out single-use plastics
With so many great alternatives available, it’s never been easier to say goodbye to excess plastic in the home. Replace disposable plastic cutlery with a compact, reusable set that can be folded up, carried and washed time and time again. Invest in a good quality water bottle and coffee cup so you can fill up at home and top up throughout the day.
Try to remember to pack your ‘bag for life’ in the car or within easy reach of the front door so you won’t be tempted to buy plastic bags when you’re out shopping.
Become a recycling expert
We all know that newspapers and milk cartons are friends of the recycling bin, but what about crisp packets or sweet wrappers? If you’re unsure about what you can recycle, MyWaste.ie has a comprehensive list that can help make you an expert at sorting successfully. If in doubt, check the product for instructions, which are usually on the back or the bottom of the label.
Don’t forget to prepare your waste first: take a moment or two to make sure every item is clean, dry and loose before popping it into the recycling bin.
Make your home more energy efficient
Every day, we waste energy at home without even realising it. While there are plenty of long-term changes you can make to improve the efficiency of your home, you can also make small tweaks fast, for little cost.
These include replacing old-fashioned bulbs with modern LED options, switching off heavy-draw appliances and lowering your thermostat’s temperature — the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) advises that you can reduce your heating bill by 10% by reducing your room temperature by just one degree. You could also try closing curtains, shutters and doors as much as possible, and investing in a draught excluder (although a rolled-up towel will do a similar job in a pinch).
Get smart about energy
Smart home devices don’t just make life at home easier — they can make it cheaper and more energy efficient too. The ever-developing technology ranges from full heating, security, lighting and energy management all the way to simple and inexpensive smart plugs and bulbs. It all allows you to have more control over your energy usage, avoiding or reducing waste where possible.
Smart thermostats in particular can make a big difference: every provider will be different, but Google estimates that their Nest thermostat could save Irish customers between 9.6% and 18.1% of their heating energy use (compared to standard systems).
Choose sustainable options for dinner
All food is produced at some cost to the environment, but it can be difficult to measure how much. A good rule of thumb is to choose local, seasonable options where possible and cut down on the amount of animal products we eat. The UK’s Energy Saving Trust says that the production of animal-based foods “tend to be more harmful to the environment than that of plant-based foods.” Some families implement ‘meat-free Mondays’ or try to have a vegetarian breakfast or lunch in order to reduce their overall meat consumption.
That doesn’t mean you have to ditch the Sunday roast, though, as they also point out that ”chicken, eggs and pork are almost always more environmentally friendly than dairy, beef and lamb.”
Waste not, want not
Do you ever leave the tap pouring over dirty dishes? Or the shower running while the water heats up? While we’ve all done it, it’s more important than ever for us to avoid wasting our most precious commodity. Being mindful of your water consumption can really make a big difference — to the environment and your heating costs too.
Food waste is also a major issue in modern households because of the energy required to grow, prepare and then dispose of produce. Much of it has often been flown hundreds of miles only to end up in our composting bin. Drafting a grocery list and planning your meals can help to avoid waste, saving on supermarket bills too.
Online shopping has made it very easy for us to replace items that are out of date or not working properly, but do we really need to dump them so fast? Taking a moment to see if items can be repaired, repurposed or recycled will help make your home more sustainable.
Home Insurance with Liberty
At Liberty Insurance, we embrace change. That means futureproofing our insurance and helping you to futureproof your home life. While you take steps to safeguard the environment, we’re here to protect what matters most to you, with affordable and fair home insurance, featuring all the benefits you need to feel secure in your home.