Sometimes making changes to help the environment can feel like an uphill battle. It’s easy to think ‘I’m just one person, I can’t make a difference’. But there are small easy things you can do that will really affect how your home impacts the environment. Not only that, by making your home more eco-friendly you can save money on your energy bills.

Get LED bulbs

Did you know that an LED light bulb can last 13 years? By using energy more efficiently they produce brighter light and less heat, meaning they’re better for the planet and cheaper to run. You can buy LEDs in all styles, from warm fairy lights to bright white light bulbs and even WiFi connected interactive bulbs.

Avoid paper towels

You might think that paper towels don’t pose much of a threat to the environment, but in fact they take a long time to break down and produce harmful greenhouse gases when they do. Not to mention the fact that globally paper uses a huge amount of resources: 110 million trees and 130 million gallons of water, to be exact. Switch to cotton tea towels or cloths (not microfibre ones) or recycle old t-shirts into rags.

Work from home

By convincing your boss to let you work from home one day a week, you can cut your carbon footprint by driving less. Also, at home your food and drink choices will be greener: no takeaway coffee cups, no plastic-packaged sandwiches. You’ll probably use less paper too – most people print more documents at work (using the office’s resources) than they would at home. And you can stay in your pjs all day, which won’t do much for the environment, but it is nice.

Get a plant

House plants help remove toxins from the environment including carbon dioxide and indoor pollutants that often appear in common cleaning products such as formaldehyde and benzene. The best plants for cleaner air include palms, rubber plants and peace lilies. These are also relatively hardy plants, they grow well indoors and are easy to look after. so they’re ideal if you don’t have green fingers.

Water it with used water

You plant doesn’t need fancy filtered water. In fact, you can add nutrients to the soil by using water that has been used to cook vegetables: a great way to use waste water instead of just throwing it down the sink.

Upcycle

Buy shopping in second hand and vintage shops you can help to cut down on pollution caused by mass produced (usually plastic) homeware products. It also gives you a chance to get creative. Make outdoor cushions from old sacks, turn vintage cans and bottles into planters and vases, or add vintage charm to your home with quirky shabby chic crockery.

Buy a coffee maker

Disposable coffee cups are a big issue for the environment. In the UK, 7 million disposable cups are thrown away every day. Invest in a coffee machine at home, or even just a peculator or cafetiere. Make your own coffee (most cafes sell whole or ground beans) pop it in a keep cup, and you’ve done your little bit for the planet before you even leave the house.

Invest in a smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are an amazing way to cut your energy bills and make your home more eco-friendly. Systems like Nest have built in eco-modes that automatically turn your heating down when you’re not in. You can also download an app on your phone to turn the heat up again when you’re on your way back, so your home will be cosy when you arrive.

Add a cosy rug

Rugs on wooden floors have been shown to reduce energy bills by as much as 6%. They help rooms to stay warmer longer and also work to prevent drafts.

Choose wool not polyester

Polyester and other synthetic materials release tiny fibers, known as microfibers, every time you wash them. These get into the ocean and pose a huge threat to all kinds of marine life. Cotton fibers don’t break away in the same way and are far more easily degraded if they do enter the environment.

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