A new year is the perfect time to rethink your habits, especially if they are having an impact on the earth. If Christmas has left you with an avalanche of waste and an empty wallet, living more sustainably will not only help the planet, but also your bank balance.
The best thing to do would probably involve joining some sort of off-the-grid commune which bans wrapping paper and Christmas jumpers, but admittedly this isn’t for everyone. Short of disconnecting our electric and scouring country lanes for roadkill, we’ll always have a carbon footprint, but steps can be taken to lessen it.
If you’re looking to minimise your impact on the environment but you’re not sure where to start, Northern Life has compiled tips that don’t cost the earth and are pretty simple too!
Wear what you own Spend some time organising your closet, you may discover gems you had forgotten about.
Cold winter nights? Get some cosy bedding, thick duvets and extra blankets, not to mention a hot water bottle can keep you snug and save you money on heating.
Buy second hand Clothes looking tired after all that Christmas partying? Have a look around your local second-hand shops, this time of year they will be filled with bargains as unwanted gifts are donated.
Switch up your bulbs Make sure your bulbs are LEDs, they are much more efficient than traditional bulbs
Get creative Holes in your shirts? Take a class and learn how to sew, it will come in useful in the long-run and once you learn, you can upcycle your clothes too
Turn your tap off when brushing An oldie but a goodie, turn the tap off when brushing your teeth and save water.
Get a bathroom recycling bin From toilet roll tubes to shampoo bottles, there’s many items in your bathroom that can be recycled. Having a recycling bin makes it easier to remember and saves them from the general bin.
Use less hot water Having showers that are too hot can leave your hair and skin dry, not to mention ramp up that electric bill.
Get a sustainable toothbrush A bamboo brush is perfect and will biodegrade once used.
Ditch the plastic It’s not just the toothbrush you can change, toothpaste in jars and bars of shampoo are now widely available.
Turn it off Don’t forget to turn off your television. Energy Saving Trust found that between 9% and 16% of UK household energy usage is from devices plugged in on standby. It is estimated that this could be costing us around £86 a year.
Go back in time The internet is great for keeping us entertained, but it also increases our carbon footprint. Set aside time to switch off and play a board game instead of a video games.
Use your phone Need to google something? Use your phone instead the laptop, it uses less power.
Search second-hand stores In need of a coffee table, or new sofa? You can find these in charity shops and most will deliver to your home for a small fee.
Get growing Instead of buying ornaments get some house plants to fill up the space.
Only boil what you need Use your mug to measure the water for your kettle.
Organise your fridge Dedicate a shelf in your fridge to foods you know are close to their best before date.
Use smaller plates Not just a diet hack, using smaller plates encourages you to serve smaller portions, hopefully cutting down on food waste.
Buy seasonal and local Root vegetables make wonderful winter warmers and are much better for the planet than buying something grown on the other side of the world.
Get your family involved Make recycling signs with the children so they know what can and can’t be recycled.
Use a toy subscription service Instead of ending up with a house full of toys your child ignores, use a subscription service. You choose the toys your child wants, then swap the toy once your child is bored.
Try cloth nappies Cloth nappies have come a long way in recent years and considering the average baby uses 4,000 single use nappies during the course of infancy at a cost of £1,200 (The Nappy Guru), they are well worth a try.
Use the library If you have a bookworm in the family take advantage of the library.
Embrace hand-me-downs If you have a big family, embracing hand-me downs is essential, whether that is toys or clothes. Keep what your children love and give the rest to charity.
Give your child a love of nature Teach your child about the planet and get them involved in protecting it.
Recycle everywhere Start the conversation at work, save your trash until you’re home or even collect old tech in the community for charity.
Get a reusable water bottle and coffee cup The amount of plastic bottles used yearly in the UK is equivalent to three times the height of the Three Peaks Challenge (Ordnance Survey).
Green your garden Hold off on mowing your lawn, plant flowers bees love such as lavender and lilac and get a compost bin for your food waste.
Use public transport Travelling to your destination can become an adventure in itself, sleeper trains are available across Europe to get you to your holiday well-rested.
Hang out your washing Sunny days may be hard to come by up north, but when one does come along, take the time to hang out your washing and if it keeps raining, use a clothes horse.
PRODUCTS TO HELP YOU MAKE AN ECO-HOUSE A HOME