Green living has become a big priority in recent years, with many of us swapping single-use plastics in favour of more sustainable alternatives, and never leaving the house without a reusable shopper or coffee cup. However, there is still so much more that can be done – particularly around the home – and it doesn't take much effort or expense. Here are just a few easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly, and you may find they save you money in the process…
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1. Switch energy suppliers
Choosing a green energy supplier can be one of the most effective ways to make your home more environmentally friendly. Bulb, Octopus Energy and Green Energy UK are just three suppliers you could choose from, meanwhile, most of the Big Six energy companies – including Npower and British Gas – also have green electricity tariffs. Get a quote at MoneySupermarket.com.
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2. Use natural beauty and cleaning products
They may cost a little more, but natural beauty and cleaning products are well worth the extra expense. Not only will they reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals (do you really know what you're putting on your skin?), but it also means less chemicals will get into our water supply too. Ecover is a great choice for cleaning products made from plant-based and mineral products, which are as effective as they are eco-friendly, and are available in many leading supermarkets.
Ecover bathroom cleaner, £1.87, Amazon
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3. Make your laundry more eco-friendly with an EcoEgg
Lasting for up to 720 washes – three years of washing for the average family – an Ecoegg laundry egg is a must-have if you're looking for an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to laundry detergent. The shell is filled with natural cleaning pellets that completely replace your normal washing detergent, with no other liquids or powder required.
Ecoegg Fresh Linen 720 washes, £49.99, Amazon
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4. Bulk buy cleaning products and toiletries
While the initial outlay will be bigger than normal, by buying cleaning products and toiletries in bulk you can reduce your plastic waste and likely save money over the course of several months.
Faith in Nature 5 litre body wash, £49.99, Holland & Barrett
According to Recycle More, each household in the UK produces more than one tonne of rubbish every year. Yet statistics from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs show that only 44.3 per cent of household rubbish was recycled in 2015, a figure that can easily be increased. Make an effort to check the labels of all the products you buy, ensuring they are disposed of correctly.
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6. Buy sustainable homeware
You can still give your interiors a stylish and sustainable update thanks to collections such as H&M's Conscious range, where you can find everything from cushions to furniture that doesn't cost the earth. One of our favourite picks is this rattan and FSC-certified Acacia wood chair, which would make a stylish addition to your living room or hallway.
H&M Conscious low lounge chair, £199.99, H&M
There's no better way to brighten up your home than with a bunch of beautiful blooms but did you know that rose farming is incredibly harmful to the environment? Creating a sustainable solution, Amaranté's Infinity Roses have been specially preserved to last as long as three years, with no maintenance or watering required – yes, really. Ethically sourced and leaving the smallest possible carbon footprint, just imagine how much money you'll save on flowers across the entire year!
Large Infinity Roses Hatbox, £189, Amaranté
7. Take reusable bags to the supermarket
The introduction of the plastic carrier bag charge saw their use drop dramatically, but there is still more that can be done. As well as carrying a reusable tote bag when you go out to the shops, you could also invest in some mesh produce bags to store fruit and veg rather than in the store's plastic bags.
Reusable mesh produce bags, £7.99, Amazon
8. Invest in a decent coffee machine and reusable cup
If you find yourself spending a fortune on coffee at Starbucks or Costa each month, save cash – and those disposable cups – by investing in a decent coffee machine and a reusable cup. This Nespresso Creatista Sage machine has three coffee volume settings and eight milk froth settings, so whether you're a latte lover or can't go without a cappuccino, you'll never look back.
Nespresso Creatista Sage coffee machine, £379, Amazon
9. Eat less meat
Research led by Oxford Martin School has found that widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet would cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions and help people become healthier too. While you don't need to cut out meat completely, even cutting down on your intake or following a plant-based diet one day a week would still help to reduce your carbon footprint.
10. Only buy what you need
A life mantra we should all live by. Whether you're shopping in your local supermarket or making another impulse purchase on the high street, only buying the things we need can help to prevent food waste and slow the staggering amount of clothes that end up in landfill each year (some 300,000 tonnes of clothing were binned in the UK in 2016 alone). Your bank balance will be better for it, too!
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