• Manon Raath

5 small and easy steps to bring sustainability to your home.

Living more sustainably doesn’t have to be a complicated situation. Yes, when you look at sustainable blogs and accounts it may seem like people are spending all their time in neutral linen frocks, weeding their vegetable gardens and gathering mason jars. And even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s not exactly everyone’s cup of tea.

If you want to live a bit more sustainably, you can make a few very small and easy changes in your daily life. Those small changes will have a big impact.

So without further ado, here are our tips:

1. Swap paper towels for cloth towels or microfiber cloths.

Did you know that dish towels could be used for more than just drying the dishes? You can use them in the same way you would use paper towels. After you have wiped up spills or wiped down your countertops, you can chuck them in the wash. You can also use microfiber cloths. Their tiny fibres are excellent for absorbency. Not only are you saving money, but you are saving a few trees too!

If you don’t want to get rid of paper towels completely, you can at least use less of them and try to use cloth wipes for the majority of your spills.

You can even colour-code your cloths. Use one colour for dishes, another for benches, and a third for the floor. You will be able to figure out what works best for your home.

2. Stop drinking bottled water, drink from the tap.

Plastic bottles from bottled water generate an enormous amount of waste in Australia. And even though the bottles can be recycled, most of them are not and end up in landfill.

You can buy a reusable bottle and drink from the tap, or if you are worried about your water quality, use a filter. It’s really that simple.

It will also save you $$, since bottled water costs on average $2.50 a bottle, while refilling your reusable bottle will only cost you a few cents. A reusable bottle can cost anything from $5.00, so it’s pretty much a no-brainer.

3. Use cloth napkins.

Cloth napkins are a very easy swap to make for a more sustainable home. They are zero-waste, reusable, look great and make your dinners a bit more special. Even though paper napkins and paper towels are biodegradable, they still come from trees and one of the effects is deforestation. You can argue that the energy usage in washing your cloth napkins has a bigger environmental impact than using paper napkins, but if you wash your cloth napkins along with your general washing, it won’t really have any extra environmental impact.

4. Buy local.

At first, it may seem that buying local is an odd way to try and be more sustainable, but bear with me.

First, it’s sustainable because you keep the money in your own country’s economy.

Second, it’s way more environmentally friendly because a) you don’t travel far, so there are less greenhouse gas emissions, and b) the products you bought haven’t travelled far either, thus also cause less greenhouse gas emissions.

So by supporting local shops and grocers, the cost of transporting your items from the maker or grower to your home, comes at a much lower cost to you and the environment.

5. Use natural textiles wherever possible.

I have written about the effects of synthetic fabrics before, you can read about it here. Using textiles made from natural fibres will always be the better option. There are definitely some issues with the environmental impact caused by the cotton industry. Yet it is still better than the environmental issues synthetic fabrics cause throughout the whole lifecycle (from water pollution caused by micro-fibres when you wash synthetics, to huge amounts of waste in landfills because synthetic fibres aren’t biodegradable).

Natural fibres feel better on your skin, are a lot more breathable, moisture wicking and will last longer.

There are hundreds of other things you can do to bring sustainability into your home. We will explore more of these options in the future, but these 5 steps is a good start. It won’t take any extra effort and in most cases will actually save you money.

You don’t have to be perfect at trying to live more sustainably. Even just a few small changes can have a big impact if enough people make the switch.

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