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5 tips for living a greener life

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Photo by Tiff Ng from Pexels

Living a greener life doesn’t have to be complicated. With our sustainable living ideas below, you can start living a greener and healthier life before you know it!

Time it
Hands up if you’re guilty of falling asleep with the lights, television, computer, air conditioner, heater, or other electrical devices on. Yep, that’s what we thought – just about everyone.

Timers are a great way of being able to ensure that you don’t wake up on the couch at 3 am with the telly blaring and lights blazing. Most devices these days have a timer or sleep function (including air conditioners!) that are usually easy to set up. And you can even get smart light bulbs that are programmable from your phone so you can schedule when you want the lights on and off, how bright they are, and even what color you want them to be.

Flick it
Eco-living can be as simple as flicking a switch.

Have a think about everything that’s currently plugged into a PowerPoint in your home, but sits on standby till you’re ready to use it. Anything sitting on standby is still chewing through the power and you can save a LOT of money – and reduce your carbon footprint – simply by turning that power points off at the wall. Things like TVs, microwaves, washing machines, kitchen appliances, and office equipment can all be turned off at the wall between uses and the amount of energy you save can be really impressive over the course of a year.

Halve it
Most of the products we have in our homes will have suggested usage amounts on the label, but have you ever actually tested to see if you really need to use that much? After all, one of the things that companies who make these products want you to do are buy more of them, so doesn’t it stand to reason that sometimes they advise you to use more of the product than you actually need to?

A lot of the time you can easily halve what they recommend you use and still end up with the same (or a better) result. Plus, decreasing the amount you use of these products is also better for the environment – it’s a win for your pocket and a win for greener living!

Just for fun, try reducing the amount of shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap, body wash, dish liquid and washing powder you use and see what happens. You might be surprised by the results, especially with body products. Whether you have hard or soft water will also make a difference, so you’ll need to experiment a bit, but it’s safe to say that you’re likely to find at least ONE product that you’ve been using far too much of for far too long.

Refill, repurpose, recycle
One of the most basic sustainable living ideas is the 3Rs – refill, repurpose, recycle. And because these have been around for a while there are some great new resources that revolve around these concepts.

Depending on where you live, you may have seen some stores pop up that allow you to refill plastic containers (such as shampoo bottles) or BYO containers to purchase dry goods. These are SUCH a great idea and can have a huge impact on the amount of waste plastics you go through every year. If you don’t have one of these stores in your area, see if there are any ‘warehouse’ type outlets near you where you can buy in bulk, and refill the containers you have at home.

Next, have a look at the containers that would generally get tossed out and see if you can repurpose them in any way around the house. Things like coffee jars are amazing for storing dry goods, for instance. Just remember to CLEARLY label containers if you’re using them for something other than what came in them in the first place to avoid any nasty accidents!

Finally, if you can’t refill or repurpose, make sure you’re recycling properly. Putting anything in the recycling bin that isn’t meant to be there can contaminate a whole truckload of recycling and means that it might end up as landfill instead of being recycled as you hoped so pay extra attention to what is and isn’t allowed in the recycling bin.

Plant it
Did you know there are certain types of plants that can help purify the air in your home and home office? One of the best plants for offices is the Sansevieria plant – it’s got bucketloads of benefits and as an added bonus is virtually impossible to kill!

Sansevieria can do some really cool things like:
– Absorbing pollutants such as formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, and benzene
– Absorbing radiation
– Creating a load of extra oxygen
– Absorbing C02

These plants thrive on neglect (great for those of us that don’t have green thumbs) and can live happily in full sun, full shade, inside, outside, in drought (like if you forget to water them for weeks) and, if you’re great with plants, will even tolerate being taken care of properly!

They also look really pretty and because they grow virtually straight up, they are used as a natural barrier between work stations to add some green space to your office. Green space is amazingly beneficial in an office environment, creating increased productivity, decreasing stress, positively affecting wellbeing, and even helping to increase focus and cognitive function. With so many of us working from home in 2020, it’s easy to forget that these things are important in a home office as well, especially if your ‘office’ is in the middle of the rest of the living space.

There are loads of other plants apart from Sansevieria that offer great benefits – ranging from natural insect protection to purifying the air, to absorbing moisture. Google is your friend here if you want to find out more, or take a visit to your local garden centre to have a chat with their horticulturalists for some ideas.

Making the jump to living a greener life can seem overwhelming sometimes – there are just so many things to think about and do! But here’s the thing: you don’t have to change everything all at once. Even if you make a commitment to doing just one thing a month in a healthier or more sustainable way, that’s 12 major differences you’ll be making to your life and to the environment every year. And that adds up to be a huge difference!

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