New Year, New Sustainable Habits
As we move into the new year, it's a great time to start thinking about how we can live more sustainably. Sustainable living isn't just about reducing our individual carbon footprints – it's also about taking small steps toward creating a healthier, better-balanced environment for everyone.
Here are some simple ideas to help you create some sustainable habits that will benefit all!
What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living involves:
- Making conscious decisions about how we use resources.
- Opting for eco-friendly products.
- Being conscious about how we interact with the environment around us.
Sustainable living looks at the entire system in which we live – from conserving water and energy to reducing waste, preserving natural habitats, and protecting animal rights - to ensure that future generations have access to the same resources we have been able to utilise today.
We don't have to get everything right every time, but by taking a few simple steps, we can make a real difference in our own lives and for future generations.
Small Changes Big Impact
Have you ever heard of the tale of the boy and the starfish? One day a boy and his friend were walking along the beach when they discovered thousands of starfish that had been washed up onto the shore. The boy picked up a starfish and threw it back into the ocean. The boy's friend said, "There are so many on the beach; it's not going to make any difference". "It made a difference to that one," said the boy.
One small change may seem insignificant, but if everyone makes a change, it can have a big impact.
There are many things that we can change in our lives to live more sustainably, and we understand that can also be very overwhelming so the Local Zero team have put this blog together to give you some examples of how you can make some simple changes in 2023 to make it your most sustainable year yet!
10 Sustainable Swaps
One of the easiest ways to start living more sustainably is to make "sustainable swaps" – Here are some great sustainable swaps to consider:
- Replace single-use plastics with reusable containers.
- Switch away from plastic toothbrushes and opt for a bamboo alternative. - Plastic toothbrushes add 23 million kilos of waste to landfills every year!
- Buy items made from recycled materials whenever possible.
- Choose eco-friendly cleaning products, like those that are plant-based or use natural ingredients.
- Swap out paper towels/ kitchen roll for reusable, washable cloths.
- Purchase secondhand clothing instead of buying new items.
- Buy items with minimal packaging.
- Use a reusable shopping bag when you're out and about.
- Avoid eating intensively farmed, mass-produced meat. By opting for sustainably raised local produce, you are helping to reduce food miles and associated CO2 emissions from farm to plate. Not to mention you will get better quality, more nutritious meat that tastes a whole lot better too!
- Invest in reusable water bottles and coffee cups. Disposable coffee cups/paper cups are still one of the most challenging things to recycle in our modern lifestyle.
Here at Local Zero, we stock sustainable alternatives to everyday items and offer a variety of local, zero-waste food products. It's easy to find low- carbon footprint products and support our local community. It's a win win! We want to make it as easy as possible for you to shop sustainably.
Reducing Energy Consumption in the Home
Going green around the home is an easy way to make a big difference to the environment and help to reduce your energy bills! This is a hot topic in the midst of the energy crisis, especially where the UK has experienced the recent cold snap.
Wash your clothes on a cold cycle
Washing your clothes on cold water settings is one of the most effective and simple ways to save energy in your home. Cold-water washes use less electricity than hot water washes therefore using less energy and will reduce your energy bills.
When washing clothes on cold water settings, you should only use the appropriate detergent and fabric softener meant for cold-water settings. Additionally, try to use energy-efficient appliances and ensure they are correctly maintained. This will help you save even more money.
Keeping heat in your home!
Insulating your home can be an effective way of reducing the amount of energy you use. Heat is often lost through windows, doors and attics, so making sure these are properly insulated will help keep heat in and reduce your energy consumption significantly.
If your home has single-glazed windows, it is worth investing in double-glazing to reduce heat loss. You should also consider draught-proofing your home, such as fitting letterbox and door brush strips, and closing gaps in skirting boards and around window frames to prevent warm air from escaping.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. So insulating your loft is an effective way to reduce heat loss and reduce your heating bills. Insulation has a 40-year life span if initially installed correctly, so now may be the time to review what is up there and see where you can save heat and money!
Tips for Retaining Heat in Your Home
- Adding heavy curtains or blinds to windows can help keep heat in, especially during winter.
- Installing draft blockers around doors and windows will also help keep warm air from escaping.
- Ensure that your loft space is adequately insulated. New properties are increasing their level of loft insulation to 300mm.
- There are government grants available at the moment offering a range of services to help you insulate your home. Click here to find out more and to see if your property is eligible.
If you're looking for more long-term solutions to reducing your energy costs and consumption, consider solar panels and ground/air-source heat pumps. These may require an initial investment, but they are far more efficient than traditional methods of generating heat and electricity and will create long-term savings. These are ideal options for those who want to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels and embrace renewable technologies.
Tips for Lowering Your Power Bills & Living Sustainably
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs in your home, which uses less electricity and lasts longer than standard bulbs.
- Unplug devices when you're not using them, as they may still be drawing power even when turned off.
- Consider installing a rainwater system such as a water butt so you can collect and use rainwater for your plants, garden and even laundry needs.
- Invest in a smart thermostat that learns and adapts to you and your family's lifestyle to reduce energy usage.
- Practice composting in your garden or balcony with food scraps and garden clippings so they can be reused as fertiliser instead of adding to the waste stream.
Living sustainably doesn't have to be overwhelming – small steps can make a big difference. From eating locally and reducing energy usage to making smart shopping choices, there are plenty of ways you can start living more sustainably in 2023.
You can help create a healthier, better-balanced environment for everyone with just a few simple changes. The Local Zero team is here to support you, so if you have any questions, please reach out!
Happy New Year! Let's make this our most sustainable year yet!