Our home, be it small or large, is the place from which we live our lives.
With the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle in your mind (see below), as well as routes for borrowing and rehoming, there are a wealth of changes you can make around the home. We’ve broken it down into different rooms or areas:
And if you work from home check out our get greener at work tips too.
Above all, we need to reduce our consumption and our reliance on single-use plastics; central to our ethos are the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle.
We need to think more about what we can reuse, we need to improve what can be recycled and what we actually recycle. We need to take a pause before we make a purchase.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We know over-consumption is bad for the environment. We need to love, use and reuse what we have; and borrow, upcycle or make what we don’t. The Reuse Development Organization (ReDO) advocates the benefits of reusing and the Network of Wellbeing outlines five main benefits between reuse and wellbeing. Buying less is a mindset.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before buying:
- Why do I want to shop less?
- Do I actually need it? Do I already own something that would do the job?
- Will I use it regularly? Do I have room to store it? Could I borrow it?
- Could it wait a while?
- Is this item going to add value to my life? Will it bring me joy?
- Is having this item more important to me than my goal of [insert goal here]?
- Am I willing to put the time in to maintain this item (dry clean only / dust /repairs)?
- If the item was full price, would I still buy it?
And if you still need convincing, Sciencing has the top ten reasons why we should reduce, reuse and recycle.
When a purchase is required, go for second-hand if possible, or try to find a greener option (experiences make fantastic gifts, for example).
There are so many ways to buy second-hand, from local Freebeecycle groups, to online marketplaces (eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Vinted). For non-digital options, you can’t beat a good charity shop, boot fair, clothes swap event, or second-hand school uniform and book sale. You can find great quality items, save a fortune and massively reduce the environmental impact of that purchase. Good for the planet and for your pocket!
Don’t forget that borrowing is a great way of getting what you need, when you need it, without having to clutter your home with another purchase. The Library of Things is a fantastic local resource, enabling users to borrow professional grade items for a small fee. We host our very own Bromley Library of Things in The Hub, and there are locations all over London and Brighton. Our Greener & Cleaner Bromley (& Beyond) Facebook group is also a great place to ask to borrow items. It’s not unusual for members to lend costumes, books and tools to people all over the community!
To help reduce carbon emissions and consumerism we need to stop so many new things being produced. Items sitting in your home unused, might prevent someone else from buying new.
Imagine if everyone created a circular economy, releasing back all of the unused things in our homes; how much impact that would have? Even more impactful, is if we do this very locally (within walking distance or close proximity) to reduce the travel footprint – and that’s without the economic benefit for those who might struggle to buy new.
You would be amazed what you can successfully re-home and avoid disposing of or sending to landfill. There are a huge number of local pages on Facebook, charity shops, freecycle sites, trash nothing app, ebay, shpock, vinted, freegle and many other ways to pass on your unwanted possessions for free!