Monday, 13 July 2015

The Environmentally-Conscious Household

We do not have a purposely built ecohome, but we can try our best to conserve and wisely use the Earth's precious resources. 

Electric over Gas
In our house, we try to use electric rather than gas when we can.  We have an electric oven, but if it was a gas oven then I would try to use the slow cooker a lot more often than I already do.

We have one gas fire, but rarely use it; when winter comes, we try to heat the one room we are using with an electric heater rather than using gas central heating throughout the whole house.

We avoid using the hot water tap when cold water would do, and try to have showers rather than baths to use less gas-heated water.

Water Conservation
"The world will face a 40% shortfall in freshwater by 2030, according to the UN’s 2015 World Water Development Report." from the Guardian "Live Q&As" published online 2nd July 2015.

We try to be conscious of our water consumption, by implementing the usual school-advice as routine i.e. turn the taps off fully, do not leave water running, etc, etc. 

We also try to never throw a half-full cup of water away - if it is genuinely unrequired for drinking, then it can go onto growing plants or into the stockpot/casserole, etc.

Showers rather than baths, again, are another way to reduce water consumption.

Recycling and Reducing Waste
I would like to think that with the ease afforded to us by Local Authority collections  that we are all sending our recyclable materials off to be recycled.  However, we can go out of the box by recycling at home rather than throwing away...

... Repurposing is a great term I came across on U.S. blogs, meaning to create a new item with an obsolete one.  Create a cushion from an old jumper, or make rag rugs from worn out clothes (there are loads of tutorials on Youtube) or convert dresses into skirts like we did here, also making hair bands to match. 

Items we no longer have use for are offered on Freecycle or Freegle, and we make these groups our port of call for an item that we require rather than purchasing new, in order to reduce landfill and waste.  With repurposing in mind, this can lead to accepting a offer of a small dressing table to be used as desk, or collecting an unwanted bookcase to be used as clothes storage shelves having added a pretty fabric curtain to hang over the front made from strips of worn out clothes sewn together.

Food waste should be as close to zero as possible.  We stick to our list and meal plan fairly well.  We use leftovers in other meals or freeze for another day (creating homemade readymeals.)  Practicing portion control also helps to reduce leftovers in the first place.

What are your best tips for an environmentally-conscious household? Please share in the comments!

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