Dear Recycling Bins: Eco-Friendly Living
Welcome to our weekly advice column where we look at all things recycling and give you the answers you’re desperately seeking.
Dear recycling bins,
I’ve made a resolution to be more eco-friendly in 2020. I already do my bit when it comes to recycling, but what I do find is that sometimes my efforts to have a more eco-friendly life are scuppered because my only eco-friendly choice is either inconvenient or too expensive.
So my question is this, how can I implement a more eco-friendly way of living easily, and without breaking the bank?
Thank you for your question. More people are concerned about our planet than ever before and they want to do what they can to help. But we understand what you’re saying about some eco-friendly options not being convenient or budget-friendly enough as you would like.
But we think that it’s what you do every day that makes the difference when it comes to living a more eco-friendly life. You don’t have to go out of your way or spend a fortune to do well either.
A great way to start if you want to make a difference is to switch up some of the items you use every day and replace them with eco-friendly alternatives. Once you start, you’ll find it’s surprisingly easy to be eco-friendly when it comes to your everyday choices, and believe us, they do add up.
Here are some everyday things you can switch up:
Swap paper kitchen towels for reusable ones
When you’re cleaning or wiping up spills in the kitchen, you probably go through a lot of paper kitchen towels. Once they’ve been used, they’re discarded in the bin and its goodbye paper and the precious resources that were used to make it.
Why not invest in some reusable kitchen towels instead? They’re often made from biodegradable fibres from plants like bamboo, and they’re completely washable and reusable.
Reusable shopping bags
Plastic bags are public enemy #1 when it comes to plastic waste. We know you most likely have a handful of bags for life in the drawer, but why not invest in some good quality reusable shopping bags that are not only great for the environment but also look the part.
A reusable water bottle
Millions of plastic bottles end up in landfill every year, so why not invest in a reusable water bottle that you can fill up on the go and use in the car, in the office, or in the gym?
A lot of the gadgets we buy require batteries, and sadly, many batteries end up in landfill, leaching hazardous chemicals into the soil. Rechargeable batteries can be reused many times and though they’ll need to be disposed of responsibly too, because they last much longer, they’re better for the environment and your pocket.
Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you’ll know that plastic straws are fast becoming a thing of the past. Straws are one of the most commonly discarded single-use items and they account for much of the waste found on beaches. If you do want to use straws why not invest in some reusable ones?
Reusable coffee filters
We all love a good cup of coffee, especially when it’s instant, but using single-use coffee filters and pods is very wasteful. Why not invest in some reusable coffee filters and pods?
A low-flow showerhead
Reducing your water usage helps the environment and it saves you money, what’s not to love? Some low-flow showerheads can reduce water consumption by as much as 70-75%.
LED light bulbs
LED bulbs are so much more efficient than other bulbs because most of the energy they give off is light rather than heat, so they use far less energy.
Compostable disposable cutlery
You don’t have to rely on single-use plastic cutlery and other utensils for your get-togethers any more. Party to your heart’s content, guilt-free with completely compostable cutlery.
Solar-powered phone charger
Solar power is altogether cleaner energy than electricity, and while you’ll probably find that a solar-powered charger doesn’t charge your phone as fast, you can charge it safe in the knowledge that you’re helping the planet and saving on your electricity bill at the same time. It’s also a great option if you’re camping or you’re somewhere where you don’t have access to a power source.
Natural household cleaning products
Many cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment and to health. If you look at many bottles and packets, you’ll probably see a warning that the product is harmful to marine life and plants. Many cleaning products like laundry detergents and toilet cleaners end up in our water system where they do untold damage to ecosystems. Invest in some natural cleaning products that are better for the environment and better for you.
Natural beauty and personal care products
Just like with household cleaning products, there are chemicals and other nasties in our personal care products that we shouldn’t be putting down the drain, never mind on our faces and bodies. Make 2020 the year you so no to chemicals and yes to safer and more natural environmentally-friendly beauty products.
We hope that our tips help you live a more eco-friendly life in 2020!