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5 Simple tips to become a more sustainable household

Follow these ideas to raise your home’s eco credentials and lower your bills in the process

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Reduce energy use

Cutting down on gas, electricity and water consumption is a win-win – it makes environmental sense, and will save you money at the same time. So how can you do this? There are quite a few ways, including the easiest options of turning off appliances, lights and water when you’re not using them, as well as drying clothes outdoors rather than in a tumble drier.

Invest in some energy-efficient appliances and use a programmable thermostat to lower and raise the temperature when you’re away from home. It’s also a good idea to ensure your home is well insulated, so check for any areas where heat might escape like letterboxes, door frames and chimneys. 
 
Kitchen hob

Cut food waste

Avoid throwing away uneaten food by thinking ahead before you buy. Devise a weekly meal schedule and include recipes that use up leftovers. With a little forward planning, you should be able to buy only the food you really need for the week ahead.

It’s also important to keep food fresh, so stock up on lock-tight containers and make sure your fridge is set to the right temperature.
 
Kitchen with shopping

Reduce plastic packaging

Many retailers are making efforts to cut down on packaging, but there are things we can do to help reduce our use of single-use plastic. An easy option is to ditch cling-film and use reusable beeswax wraps instead, and to make sure you have a sufficient supply of jars and containers for storing food and other items.

Consider doing your shopping at zero-waste outlets where you can take your own bags, jars and boxes to fill up with everything from dried foods and peanut butter to household cleaners, compostible sponges and toiletries.
Kitchen

Recycle

Most of us are in the habit of recyling our food waste, paper, plastic and glass – but how about the things we use to decorate our homes? Next time you have to get a new coffee table or throw away a chair, think about choosing a second-hand store to buy and sell used items. You can find bargains on websites such as eBay, and recoup money on your own discarded goods.

Also, look out for innovative materials, furniture and fabrics made from upcycled items, such as recyled paper worktops, scaffolding shelves or even rugs made from thrown-away textiles. It’s amazing what you can find when you start looking.
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Be green while you clean

Before you splash out on separate kitchen cleaners, bathroom sprays and room polishes, consider some very simple alternatives. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to make all sorts of cleaning products, such as stain and limescale removers, surface cleaners and even odour neutralisers. Take a look online to find some brilliantly effective recipes, and add extras like lemon and lavender for enhanced performance and fragrance.

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