HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOUSE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY

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We’ve made loads of changes to our household over the past two years.

It’s really important to me that we play our part and work hard to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. As such, I’m a militant recycler (‘Who’s put this in with the general rubbish? FOR THE HUNDREDTH TIME… IT GOES IN THE PLASTICS BIN!’).

I’ve swapped cling film for beeswax wraps, silicon food covers and reusable containers. Lockdown gave me some spare time to increase my kitchen confidence, and I now cook from scratch as often as I can. Not only is it yummier and more nutritious, we’re saving money and have massively reduced our food wastage. I even repurpose takeaway containers to store leftovers.

We almost exclusively use eco-cleaning products, and I’ve just started using a great local initiative that comes and refills my bottles when I run out, to cut down on plastic waste.

But did you know your actual house can be environmentally friendly too?

There are a growing number of products that will help make your house more eco friendly. I wish I’d been more aware of some of these products when we carried out our big home renovation three summers back, but when we inevitably renovate again choosing environmentally responsible products will be a priority for me, just as much as the cost and finish.

Solid wood floors: this may seem a strange addition, as deforestation is one of the biggest threats to our delicate ecosystem. However, used responsibly, hardwood flooring can be the more sustainable option.

Hardwood lasts longer, so when you install your flooring and care for it properly it can easily last 100 years, and beyond. Yes, they’re more expensive than soft or engineered wood, but their longevity provides plenty of time to renew the resources we use (ideally by replanting at least one new tree for each one felled).

The quality and character of hardwood also means you can strip old floor coverings and bring original boards back to life, or even buy salvaged boards from demolition projects.

Traditionally, carpets aren’t the most planet-friendly products, but there are an increasing number of eco-conscious options.

You can opt for floor coverings made from natural and renewable plant fibres – namely sisal, coir, seagrass, abaca or jute. While sustainable, they don’t come in a wide range of colours and aren’t particularly soft, so aren’t always suitable for family homes.

Sedna carpets are soft and durable and available in a wider range of colours. This brand is made from ECONYL®, a regenerated nylon yarn made from recycled waste material, such as old carpets and abandoned fishing nets, collected from the bottom of the sea. The underside is ECO Fusionback, made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottles.

Created by Associated Weavers, this product isn’t just adding a touch of luxury to your home, it’s helping to improve the health of our oceans, and all the creatures who live in it.

Paint has come a long way since the toxic lead-laden versions we used to coat our houses with, just a few decades ago.

Little Green was one of the first UK paint manufacturers to up their eco game, actively working to minimise the impact their products have on the air and soil.

They’ve reduced the VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) in their water-based paints to virtually nothing, and reformulated their oil-based paints to use sustainable vegetable oils, without compromising on quality.

Their paint tins are more than 50% recycled steel, and can be recycled over again.

Even their wallpapers have had an eco-upgrade. The paper comes from sustainable forests, which means for every tree used, another four are planted. The pigments are non-toxic and their paste is solvent free.

When choosing lighting, there are two ways you can approach this – if you still have old style incandescent bulbs, replace them with energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). If you’re renovating, look at installing glazing products that allow more natural light into your home.

These will reduce your need for electric lighting, which is not just better for the environment, it’s better for your pocket too.

The right glazing is vital for improving the energy efficiency of your home. Modern glass bounces heat away during summer, and traps it inside during winter, reducing your consumption and your monthly bills. You can even buy glass units that are warmed by hidden electrical wires, gently pushing the heat out into the room and removing the need for radiators.

We all need to play our part and be more responsible, and part of that is putting in the effort to make your house more eco friendly. These may seem small things, but little things add up to make big changes.

• image courtesy of Photoboards, Unsplash

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