With environmental issues becoming an increasingly pressing worldwide concern, more and more people are looking to do their bit for the planet by adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Living green entails making environmentally conscious choices in every aspect of your lifestyle, so today we take you inside the eco-friendly home to explore how you can make a positive change in everything from the wardrobe to the kitchen cupboard.
In the wardrobe
Responsible for 5% of global carbon emissions, the use of plastics and toxic materials makes the fashion industry one of the largest industrial polluters in the world – second only to the oil industry.
Because of this, the eco-friendly wardrobe typically turns to the items of local fashion outlets in an attempt to reduce the global footprint. In addition to supporting the community, shopping locally reduces transport pollution through a shorter consumer travel time – all while providing a boost for independent businesses, who are more likely to source local produce and require less land and fewer resources than their high-street competitors.
Secondhand clothing is also a staple of any eco-friendly wardrobe. Giving old and discarded clothing a little TLC helps to reduce pollution caused by the mass production of clothing, while providing a great way to achieve that cool vintage style. With some of the largest clothing manufacturers and distributors practicing unethical labour overseas, the purchase of secondhand clothing also reduces consumer demand for and subsequent production of cheap and morally void garments.
For those clothes bought elsewhere, silk, organic cotton and soy are among the best natural and eco-friendly fabrics available. Though more expensive than their cheaper, more versatile counterparts, these materials don’t shed thousands of tiny plastic microfibres when washed – while the same unfortunately can’t be said for popular fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic.
In the bathroom cabinet
In the bathroom cabinet of the eco-friendly home, you’ll find environmentally conscious beauty products, made in an attempt to reduce the pollution and drain on natural resources caused by unethical practices in the beauty industry.
From face creams and moisturisers to nail and cuticle oils, the eco-friendly bathroom cabinet considers the long-term impact of the ingredients in its products, as well as ensuring the products have been sustainably sourced and are of a reliably high quality. This includes the consideration of the manufacturing, packaging and selling of each product to ensure the lowest environmental impact possible.
The labelling of these products will typically feature distinctive seals of approval, such as the Soil Association Certified Organic logo to signify sustainably sourced ingredients, the Living Wage Foundation logo to demonstrate that all staff are paid a fair wage, and the PETA Cruelty Free and Vegan Society logos to certify that the items are free from animal testing or products.
In the kitchen cupboard
The kitchen cupboard of the eco-friendly home features bulk-bought staple items such as pasta, to minimise the amount of plastic purchased when it comes to individual packaging. Likewise, fresh foods such as fruit and vegetables are bought loose to cut back on plastic wrapping and reduce food waste.
Research conducted by Money Saving Expert has suggested that these practices are not only environmentally friendly, but also wallet-friendly – with the purchase of individual fruits and vegetables proving to be significantly cheaper than their pre-packaged counterparts.
Products in the eco-friendly cupboard are often fair trade to ensure workers have been offered a fair wage, or sourced locally to support small farms and reduce energy and pollution rates associated with long-haul transportation.
Under the kitchen sink
Cleaning products stored under the eco-friendly home’s kitchen sink won’t include the toxic chemicals found with many mainstream cleaning brands, opting instead for more natural alternatives.
Its bin bags are biodegradable, and everyday cleaning items such as dishcloths and scrubbers are washable – meaning they don’t get thrown away after every second wash. This reduces production-related pollution and excess waste, saving you money in the process.
With this guide at the ready, you can transform your home into a floor-to-ceiling monument to sustainable living – a change that will help you to keep your purse strings nice and tight while doing your bit to protect our beautiful planet.
About the Author
Paul Richards is a long-time botanist and founder of Herbfarmacy - an online retailer selling organic skin care and beauty products for all skin types that are packed with herbs grown on their farm in Herefordshire.