Are you looking for ways to be more eco friendly?
I’m always looking at new, easy sustainable switches I can make and habits I can form in my life to lower my environmental impact.
Luckily, in 2023 there are lots of easy ways to be more sustainable at home and in your life in general.
From simple eco kitchen swaps, changing of companies you use, to more environmentally friendly choices when you’re out and about.
So, let’s go green at home together! This blog post will cover simple switches I have made or are planning to make in the future.
At the end we’ll cover some FAQs on being more eco friendly at home.
Go Green At Home: 40 Ways To Be More Eco Friendly
There are a great number of ways to make your current home greener.
Some of them are very simple and don’t cost anything to implement, whereas some of the big ticket changes will require a bit of investment. This will pay back over time – both for you and the environment!
So, here are 40 ideas to make your home greener and more sustainable.
1. Always carry a reusable water bottle and coffee cup
Two for one to kick us off.
A very simple idea but one that will dramatically reduce your personal plastic consumption if you buy bottled water daily or are always getting a take-out coffee.
By carrying a refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cup, you’ll be saving resources and money every time.
2. Switch to an ethical bank account
This one is a biggy!
Banks have an enormous amount of a power because they have money at their disposal to invest into projects and businesses.
The only reason they have a lot of money is because people like you and me deposit our money in them. Wield your own power and choose a more ethical bank to store your money. This way you’ll be supporting a more sustainable world.
Thanks to the Current Account Switch Service, changing your current account couldn’t be simpler or more straight forward now. I’ve done it and it really is easy.
3. Save money in an ethical savings account
Whilst we’re on finances, the same applies to savings accounts as does for current accounts.
Any money in a savings account gets used by that bank or institution to fund projects and other businesses.
A savings account with HSBC, Barclays or Natwest will probably see you inadvertently supporting the fossil fuel industry.
4. Eat organic and natural food (homegrown if possible)
The food you eat is so important for your health and where you source if from can have a huge impact on the environment.
According to the Soil Association, food choice is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your environmental footprint. It’s all about thinking of the journey from farm to fork.
The less time it takes for your food to get from the ground (plants or animals) to your dinner table, the better. This also goes for chemicals used too. The less used, the better.
Organic, natural, non-processed food is what you should be after. Think about growing vegetables and fruits in your garden – it will give you a sense of fulfilment and nourishment. Here’s a very informative post of vegetable gardening for beginners.
If you eat meat and dairy, try and source a local butchers and farm to get your eggs from where you can recycle your egg box too.
5. Collect and reuse rainwater
We get enough rain in the UK. We might as well make the most of it!
Why not start collecting rainwater and use it to water your garden, indoor plants and clean your bike or electric bike?
You can also use rainwater inside.
It’s great for general household cleaning as it doesn’t contain any calcium or chlorine. And I like to use mine on my house plants too.
6. Rewild your garden or green up your outdoor space
Where you can try and limit the use of tarmac, plain concrete and brick. Green your areas with plants and flowers which are so much better to look at and are much better for the local fauna and ecosystems at play.
Your house is sitting where natural ecology once ruled, so try your best to replace this. Have a read here on how to rewild your garden for some great tips.
Green living roofs are also a great idea. You can add these to sheds and thing such as bin stores (see image below).
Inside your home, green vertical walls are a fantastic way to support plant life and the fauna that this then brings.
Your choice always has knock-on effects, so greening up your space doesn’t just look nice, it will also have positive impacts on the animals that it will attract, and then the animals that these animals attract.
7. Switch to LED light bulbs
If you’ve not already switched to LED light bulbs where have you been?
Old, halogen bulbs waste an awful lot of energy as heat rather than light and tend to need replacing much more often.
Yes an LED light bulb will cost you a couple of pounds more to buy initially, but they have a lifetime of 50,000 hours compared to about 1,000 hours for a halogen! Because LED bulbs also use much less energy, they will cost you a fraction of the amount in energy over a year.
This one really is a no-brainer. You can learn here about how to recycle your old light bulbs properly.
8. Recycle your electrical waste
We all know to recycle where possible. Many of us are great at recycling paper and cardboard as well as tins and certain types of plastic with the right plastic resin code.
One area which isn’t as easy to recycle is your electrical waste – but it’s important to try.
There’s currently a big problem with e-waste recycling and it’s only going to get worse in the future with more electrical items being produced all the time.
9. Make use of natural light
If you’re working from home, reading or relaxing, try and make the use of natural light, rather than sticking the main overhead light on.
Getting as much natural light as possible is fantastic for your body’s circadian rhythm, as well as reducing your electricity needs.
Your house plants will also love a bit of natural light!
10. Dry your clothes outside – free solar and wind energy!
I know only too well that the weather doesn’t always allow it in the UK, but when you can get your freshly cleaned washing outside to dry. Whether this is on a washing line in your garden or a drying rack on your balcony, there’s always a way.
Instead of switching the boiler on and burning through energy piped through your radiators or using an energy intensive tumble dryer, you’ll be harnessing completely free renewable energy called solar and wind!
The fresh air makes your clothes smell and feel glorious.
11. Install a smart meter
A smart meter lets you know exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using on a daily basis.
You can also see exactly plus how much your energy is costing you. This is quite painful with the sky high 2023 energy costs!
These are usually free and you just need to get in touch with your energy provider. I guarantee as you see your daily total shooting you, you’ll start to naturally implement measures to reduce your energy consumption.
12. Surround yourself with indoor house plants
Bring yourself closer to nature. Indoor house plants have been shown to improve air quality as well as bringing plenty of psychological benefits, such as reduced stress and anxiety.
Better mental and physical health whilst bringing life and vibrancy into your home? Win, win and win.
Take a look at my favourite easy to grow house plants here.
Don’t forget, you might also need some sustainable planting medium, such as coir compost.
13. Read the new Energy Rating label before you buy
All electrical items should now come with an energy efficiency rating.
Look out for an Energy Star rating and the new Energy Rating labels.
In 2021, the new Energy Rating label was introduced which went from A+++ to D rating to a simpler to understand A-G.
If you’re looking to upgrade your electrical appliances, take a closer look at the below.
14. Use an eco friendly kettle
Kettles get used a lot.
A kettle isn’t the most energy intensive of appliances as it’s only on for a few minutes at a time, but when added up, an eco friendly kettle will save you energy and money.
There’s a debate also into boiling water taps vs kettles. It’s safe to say that an instant hot water tap will not use any more energy than using a kettle efficiently.
15. Upgrade to an energy efficient TV
In the UK, the TV is switched on for an average of 5 hours every day!
Since the new energy label rating change, most TVs are now rated between D and G.
Still, getting an energy efficient TV model will save you £10s, if not £100s in electricity use over time.
16. Use a slow cooker when you can
When it comes to cooking, you don’t get much more energy efficient than a slow cooker.
Over the course of 8 hours, a slow cooker can use less energy than a standard gas or electric oven.
17. Microwave to warm up food and cook
Microwaves are very energy efficient. This is because the heat up and cook food directly, rather than warm the air around the food like an oven does.
They are typically on for only a few minutes rather than the longer time of an oven. Take a look here to see the comparison between energy use of microwaves vs ovens.
So, use your microwave to warm up leftovers and even cook vegetables.
18. Upgrade to an energy efficient fridge
Fridges are one of those items that never get switched off.
Older models use up significantly more energy than the new fridges on the market. This can be as much as £100s over just a year!
So, if you need a new one, bookmark this energy efficient fridge freezer page.
19. Use a dishwasher over multiple sink loads
If you find yourself filling up the sink several times a day, it might be worth switching to one dishwasher load.
I looked into this after realising I was filling the sink up a lot. Surprisingly, a baby produces a lot of washing up!
A good energy efficient dishwasher can use just 6 litres of water in a cycle. If you’re filling the sink up just a couple of times a day, I guarantee you’ll be using more than 6L of water.
It’s a good idea to use an eco friendly dishwasher detergent too.
20. Eco friendly wash cycles
Did you know, a washing machine cycle at 40oC uses a third less energy than one at 60oC?
Most washing powders and detergents work effectively at low temperatures, so you’ll still have nice, clean clothes with a lower bill to pay at the end of it.
Yes the cycle seems to be on for ages, but an eco washing machine uses water efficiently.
21. Use eco laundry sheets or detergent
Whilst we’re on washing, have you tried eco laundry sheets?
Traditional laundry detergent is full of synthetic chemicals that are harmful for the environment should they make there way there.
Eco laundry detergents and laundry sheets can provide a sustainable, more natural alternatives.
Three great products that I’ve personally tried are:
- Earth Breeze – you can read my Earth Breeze review here
- Serious Soaps eco laundry strips
- Blue Earth Clean
22. Go for green materials
Plastic has been a genius invention and has revolutionised modern-day living but we all know that it’s not good for the environment – both its production and disposal are highly problematic.
Just because plastic can be recyclable, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better than something that can be reused and will last for decades. It’s all about the lifecycle of a material and the carbon/energy that goes into making it initially.
There are then some more controversial ‘greener’ alternatives such as silicone – you can have a read here to see if silicone is eco friendly.
23. Use natural based products
It’s always better to use natural materials where possible.
When you use natural materials, make sure it’s from a sustainable source.
For example, with wood you don’t want to buy materials linked to deforestation. Any wood or timber should be accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
When finished, take a look here at wood recycling.
24. Switch energy provider to a Green Supplier
Switching energy suppliers in the UK is such a simple process these days and can all be done online.
There are a number of green energy providers who pride themselves on sourcing clean, renewable energy. If your current supplier is still focussed on non-renewable sources, it’s time to switch.
Octopus Energy and Ecotricity are two of my favourites and their communications are particularly good.
Visit uswitch.com to get more info on switching energy provider. This is going to be key with the energy price rises.
25. Buy from sustainable eco shops
One of the best options is to buy local from refill shops. If this isn’t really an option, there are plenty of good online eco shops to buy from.
A simple swap to a reusable, plastic-free products can make a huge difference.
26. Good levels of eco friendly insulation
Excellent insulation is perhaps the most important cost-saving method you can implement.
You could have the best, most powerful heating system in the world, but if your insulation is not up to scratch and your home isn’t airtight and you have lots of draughts, all that heat will be escaping out of your house and into the air.
Not good for your comfort and certainly not good for your bank balance – a lot of energy (read, money) going to waste.
Even better, use a more eco friendly insulation, such as sheep’s wool or wood fibre. These materials have a lower embodied carbon score but are just as effective at retaining a steady temperature.
27. Use an Ecodesign log burner
Log burners are popular additions to a lot of homes around the country.
Yes, there is a debate on how eco friendly they are, but compared to burning fossil fuels, I think they can be a more sustainable alternative.
You can even buy eco heat logs that are made from recycled materials.
28. Use eco friendly paint
Traditional, regular paint is not good for the environment. It’s often made using synthetic, petrochemical-derived ingredients and release VOCs into the atmosphere and your home.
Eco friendly paints are much better for you and the environment around.
A more sustainable paint will be made using natural ingredients, contain no toxins or heavy metals, are sustainable produced, and have a very low VOC emission level.
29. Install solar panels
Improvements in solar technology mean that investment in solar systems is still well worth it.
Solar technology comes in two forms – solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV).
A solar thermal system converts sunlight into heat energy whereas PV technology converts sunlight into electricity.
They will still require an initial investment of £3,500 to £8,500. This will depend on the size of the area you’re covering and installation costs. After that they should cost less than £10 per year to run and maintain.
I think solar panels will be crucial going forward and will be on every house and building in years to come.
30. Double or triple glazing
This works on the premise of trapping air (or an inert gas) between two or three panes of glass.
These air pockets significantly improve the energy efficiency of the glazing and home at large to help keep as much heat in as possible.
Ok, it’s not one of the cheapest options on this list, but it is a must for an eco friendly home.
31. Go for refillable cleaning products
Did you know that 90% of the weight in cleaning products is made up from water? The rest is single use plastic bottles and the synthetic chemicals that go into them.
A great way to go green at home is to start choosing eco-friendly refillable cleaning products.
I recently tried Spruce cleaning products and was mightily impressed – reusable aluminium bottles, UK made ethically produced cleaning ingredients and compostable packaging. Check out my Spruce review here.
32. Go for old school cleaning ingredients
Sometimes you can’t beat the old methods.
A few key and versatile cleaning ingredients that all households should stock are:
33. Buy biodegradable toilet roll
Not all toilet roll is made equally or in a sustainable way. However, making a greener choice is now quite easy.
There are a number of brilliant brands in the UK producing more environmentally friendly toilet roll.
You can find out much more information on my eco-friendly toilet paper blog.
34. Buy an eco friendly phone case
Did you know that most phone cases are made with hard thermoplastics?
Luckily for you, you can now go green with your phone case!
Greener cases are made with 100% plant-based materials and should be fully biodegradable when you’re finished.
Have a look at my post on the most eco friendly phone cases.
35. Use reusable wraps instead of cling film
Cling film is a highly processed, single use item that is almost impossible to recycle. Not much going for it then in terms of environmental benefit.
A much greener option for your kitchen is to use reusable food wraps. I’ve been using beeswax food wraps for a while now and they are great.
You can cut them to different sizes and use to mold around dishes, plates or your sandwiches. Once they’ve been used, just wash with warm, soapy water and let it dry for next time.
Take a look at my green cling film alternatives here.
36. Use reusable food containers
A good food container is a great way to reduce food waste as well as saving you money in the long run.
I use my stainless steel food containers all the time – for work, day trips and for storing left-over food in my fridge.
I think the material is brilliant in that it never degrades, loses quality and it so easy to clean. Compared to plastic, a stainless steel food box will last years and years, and even when it’s done, it can be fully recycled.
37. Buy sustainable washing up liquid
Did you know that ‘normal’ washing up liquid is packed full of synthetic chemicals?
Although they clean your dishes effectively it takes a lot of energy and industrial processes to produce them.
Thankfully there are now some brilliant sustainable washing up liquid alternatives on the eco market and even available in supermarkets.
38. Use eco friendly sponges and scourers
Traditional sponges and scourers are generally made from fossil-fuel based plastic. Not only does this generate a lot of greenhouse gases, it also means an untold amount of microplastics are getting washed down the drain!
Nowadays, you can get a range of eco friendly sponges including those that are biodegradable, machine washable and compostable.
39. Eco friendly nappies
Being a recent dad, I’ve been initiated into the wasteful world of bringing up a baby!
It’s difficult to be eco friendly all the time, but there are a few good swaps you can make.
If a reusable nappy is a step too far, try these more eco friendly nappy alternatives.
40. Use sustainable baby wipes
Ooof babies go through a lot of wipes!
Where possible, I try and use cotton pads and warm water to clean up after my baby, but wipes are incredibly handy when you’re out and about.
Instead of wipes being made from plastic (yes most are), go for ones made from plant fibres.
From experience, sustainable baby wipes are just as good and can be composted afterwards.
What makes a more eco friendly home?
In simple terms, an eco friendly home is one that’s built, maintained and lived in with the aim of reducing its environmental impact.
Although there’s no set definition, any home that does this can be described as ‘eco-friendly’ or at least trying to be a more sustainable home.
Living in more eco-friendly life within your house generally revolves around three main pillars:
- Energy use and efficiency
- Material use
- Resource use (including food and water)
Your home should fully serve your needs and your way of living without depleting the earth’s resources in an unsustainable fashion. Living in a greener way a home will have benefits not just on the environment and eco-systems, but with you personally too.
Is sustainable living feasible?
Ok then, an eco-friendly home sounds great doesn’t it? But what exactly does it entail? And is it a feasible achievement?
A greener home will always have the 3 main R’s of sustainability at its heart:
- Reduce – think twice before you buy more or something new
- Reuse – is it possible to make use of this resource or material elsewhere?
- Recycle – can you fully recycle the material after use?
Reduce, reuse and recycle are the sustainable home essentials. It can be more difficult than it seems, but doing your best and making small improvements is all you can ask. Materials such as plastics can be notoriously difficult to recycle. Take a look at this blog on plastic recycling codes to clear up a bit of confusion.
Thanks to the volume of great information and new technology out there, it’s certainly possible to live in a more sustainable, energy efficient and eco home in 2022.
A big part of the process in creating a fully eco-friendly home comes during the construction phase with material choice and methods playing a crucial role. Many building materials, such as cement, have a negative impact on the environment, but you can even get new materials like green cement now. This is a huge, intricate area of discussion.
For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to discuss the simple ways you can go green at home in your existing surroundings.
Facts and benefits of going green at home
With a slight clue in the name, an eco-friendly home will benefit eco-systems around us.
It will help your home play a positive role in the environment rather than contribute to destroying and degrading it. But what about the other benefits to you?
These are perhaps less well-known but just as important if we are to see a cultural, society wide change towards a greener way of living.
Here’s a few of the fantastic benefits and facts of eco-friendly homes:
- Environmental benefits – less carbon emissions
- Less reliance on finite resources – fossil fuel dependent and non-renewable energy sources – coal, oil, natural gas
- Animal and plant friendly surroundings to boost the immediate ecosystems around your home
- More efficient use of heat – reduced energy bills
- More efficient use of water – reduced water bills
- Healthier internal environment and living conditions – a focus on more natural products, rather than chemically manufactured, improves the internal environment by reducing the number of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are found in paints, plastics, carpets etc and are released slowly over time.
- Improve wellbeing and mental health benefits – aligning yourself closer to nature and relying less on the things that are harmful to us will bring a better sense of wellbeing and form some will lessen the sense of guilt. Having a focus on the natural side of things in your home – natural light and indoor house plants – has been scientifically shown to improve mental health. Take a look at my house plant benefits blog here.
Wrap up on how to be more sustainable at home
Living a more eco-friendly life doesn’t mean you have to quit everything with any potential negative impact and go and live in the woods. You can always consider living in an off-grid hut though!
There are lots of ways that you, and human society at large, can better integrate methods in your home to benefit the environment and you personally.
If you can live a little more eco-friendlier for the benefit of you and the environment you live in, why wouldn’t you?
Some of these go green at home ideas are very simple to do and will cost you absolutely nothing, whereas others may require an initial investment that will pay back in the future.
All we can do is our bit to make improvements. If you know of any ways to make your home more eco-friendly that I’ve missed, then leave a comment and I’ll investigate and get it added to this article.
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Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.
Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.