JOURNAL

3 Simple Ways to Create a More Sustainable Home

BY STUDIO SUSS | Mar 2021

Sustainability can be an intimidating concept, especially when we don’t know where to start. To me sustainability means thinking about the personal legacy I am leaving, and working to make it a positive one, and thinking about the collection of small differences I can make as a person, mother, and business owner.

Everything is about the home at the moment. All the things we do, changes we make, and new skills we learn are all being done from our homes. And, although we are all pretty much fed up with it, I think positive environmental change can be made from our time indoors.

Recently, a lot of us have had time to reflect on our impact on the planet. I think many of us realised how much human life impacts the world around us when more wildlife emerged during the first lockdown, and emissions took a dramatic (although short-lived) tumble. And as we continue to use up finite resources and sources say we will consume two planets worth of resources by the end of 2030, now is the time to start reflecting.

With varying degrees of lockdowns, it does seem that we have had the time and space to start asking ourselves “how can we make positive impacts at home?” and “how do we stay safe and happy at home?”. I believe there are a few small differences we can make that will positively impact the planet and answer these questions, all from the comfort of our own sofas.

Here are three small and simple ways to make our homes more sustainable for 2021 and beyond:

1. Subscribe to sustainable deliveries:

Fruit and Veg

Over recent years, fruit and veg box companies have started emerging which sell food that may have been otherwise thrown away due to small defects making it “not up to supermarket standards”. This perfectly edible and delicious fruit and veg can now be purchased with minimal or no plastic packaging and oftentimes at a lower price than in the supermarket. By buying these boxes you are helping fight food waste, buying directly from the farmer (thus cutting out middle-man costs), and reducing single-use plastic waste. The subscription is really easy to sign up to, and is delivered straight to your door. I’ve absolutely loved it, and it has meant I haven’t had to wait in long supermarket queues. A great fruit and veg box option is OddBox.

Oddbox

Dairy

Previously a thing of the past, milk deliveries, which are still arriving in milk carts (albeit mostly electric ones now), are increasing in popularity. Buying milk from milk men and women supports local business, and the glass bottles prevent any waste as the glass bottles are washed out and returned to be reused. Equally, as some deliveries are done in electric vehicles and come straight from the supplier, emissions are cut significantly that would have otherwise been huge. Most milk delivery companies have also expanded beyond just dairy, also offering plant milk, eggs, fruit and veg and baked goods, so you can do all your shopping in one place. Just like the veg box, it couldn’t be simpler and is flexible, so you can order however much you like for the next day without leaving your home.

 

Flowers

I love flowers, and think they add a calming look and smell of nature as well as being beautiful to look at. Something which many of us wouldn’t consider is that the floristry industry can have an impact on the environment through both operational pollution, the intensive farming of flowers, and the import and farming of non-native flowers. To offset this, ‘ethical florists’ like Arena Flowers source sustainably, have stopped using single-use plastic, donate money to charity, and plant a tree in communities that are suffering wide-spread deforestation for every bouquet bought. If you love treating yourself to fresh flowers, consider these ethical alternatives to lessen your impact on the planet, and make yourself feel even better.

Switch to renewable household energy:

Thinking about our energy, water, and gas suppliers is very boring, and it can be easy to quickly choose the first, or most well-known, company. However, most major suppliers are using non-renewable energy and are sometimes not the cheapest option.

Before I switched, I was spending a fortune with a leading supplier. After doing some research, I changed to OVO Energy who provide 100% renewable energy to homes, and in my case, for a much cheaper price. This was a small and insignificant change for my family, but makes such a huge difference to the planet, at the same time saves me money.

I think a lot of people assume sustainable means more expensive, but it’s all down to research. If you take some time, have a look at your current supplier and compare it with a sustainable one, you will see the benefits of renewable energy and possibly save your household money. Although it’s boring, it’s really worth doing to lessen your impact on the environment, especially if you’ve got some spare lockdown hours on your hands.

Ovo Energy

Start conscious consumption:

Buying is inevitable and unavoidable, and while we’ve all seen the videos and articles of people only creating a jars worth of waste in a year, it’s unfortunately not possible for the majority of us. Every new thing we bring into our homes will have some impact on the planet, whether it be in its production or when we eventually throw it away. This is why ‘conscious consumption’ is so important and one of the simplest things we can do to help out the planet.

We can help reduce our waste and the demand for new products by thinking about every item we buy, whether it be new clothes, household items, new gadgets, or the newest trend. It’s about only bringing into your house things that you really need, and that will last you a long time.

A few easy ways to start with conscious consumption are: 

  • Buying higher quality items that are more likely to last you a lot longer (not possible for everyone, but worthwhile if you can stretch that little bit further)
  • Not buying into trends that will quickly go out of fashion 
  • Buying timeless pieces that can be worn or appreciated all year round, and for longer than you care to admit 
  • Giving away old clothes or furniture to friends, family, charity, Freecycle (or any other second hand app)
  • Repurposing old furniture
  • Buying clothes and furniture from charity shops or second hand sites/apps e.g. Depop, Ebay, Shpock

It’s really important to consciously consume not only to reduce waste but to tell retailers through our buying habits to stop producing so many goods and in such high quantities. Without even knowing it, these small changes to the way you buy will have a huge impact on our planet, and most likely save you money and time when you eventually have to clear out your house. Next time you go to buy something, ask yourself “do I really need this?”, “will I want this in a week, a month, a year?” and “could I find this item from a second-hand website?”

The Buyerarchy of Needs

I know not all of these swaps are possible for everyone, but changing even one small thing can make a difference to our planet. It is clearly down to big corporations to make the big impact but individual choices will show governments and businesses that we as a society want change. I truly believe these simple swaps and habits are worthwhile in every home and will end up saving you money in the long run.

While the pandemic has slowed most of our lives down, and we have time to focus on our impact on the planet within our homes, now is a great opportunity to make a difference and have a wider positive impact on both our futures, and that of the next generation.

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be making any of these changes and how else we can make our home lives more sustainable.

– Simone Suss

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