Using natural energy to power your home, recycling, or having a sustainable garden and using environmentally friendly practices in your home will allow you to live healthier and support a more self-sustaining environment. Here some really cool ideas for your eco-home and garden!
With the current rising consciousness about our planetary crisis, it is both desirable and necessary to start making changes in the way we live. If we are to take care of the wider environment, we have to take care of our own immediate environment too. That’s why we’ve created this simple guide to help you as you set out to turn your home and garden into an eco-friendly Eden.
1. Make your garden a habitat again
From toadstools to toads, hedges to hedgehogs; your garden should be home to a myriad of living things. The first step in restoring your garden’s healthy habitat is to cut back trees and bushes after the autumn. This helps to keep them healthy and perpetuating, avoiding the need to replant every year. Remember though, if you’re buying cutting tools, look for ones which won’t add pollution to your garden.
While it’s important for plant health to cut them back, British homeowners have been making the same mistake for years by clearing the cuttings and dumping them in the green bin. This obsession with having a ‘tidy’ garden has led to the loss of much wildlife through the scarcity of safe places to hibernate or shelter from predators. Keep cuttings on the ground in little piles to provide the perfect hibernation hideaway. You can also use some of the twigs to make a fancy ‘bug hotel’ (check out the beautiful examples on Pinterest).
If you are worried about how to get rid of undesired bugs, here is an easy guide with solutions on how to manage an eco-friendly and organic pest control.
2. Collect your rainwater
Rainwater has many advantages, including saving money. And of course it should be one of your top priorities if you want to live more sustainably in your eco-friendly home & garden. Rainwater can be used for many purposes in the household, such as watering plants, irrigation, topping up fishponds, cleaning purposes and much more!
A roof catchment system would be installed which channels all rainfall towards a storage tank using pipes and steel gutters. The first few liters (depending on the size of the tank, how the system is set up, and how much rain is falling) will be flushed away, as this takes care of any debris that might have been on the roof and washed into the tank.
3. Make your energy green
Despite what the dinosaurs at the large fossil fuel companies would have you believe, there is a plethora of green energy suppliers out there. Swapping to green energy has never been easier, as many green companies actually offer a free service where they do this for you.
In fact, if you own your own property, in the UK you can actually apply for a solar power grant to have panels added to your roof (check whether this is an option in the country you live too!). Not only does this increase your positive environmental impact, it can even make you money in the long run, as the energy created by your panels can exceed your own electricity usage, leading to you being paid for the surplus energy you have added into the collective grid. Still not convinced about solar? Here are 5 tips to use solar energy at home in your everyday life.
4. Make your own compost
Making your own compost at home is a wonderful environmentally friendly activity which will also save you money. Not only does composting at home mean that you don’t have to buy plastic-wrapped compost from the garden centre every year, it also reduces your food and garden waste which would otherwise be trucked around on green-bin day. (Yes, great compost is made out of your garden waste too, but just remember to leave enough around the garden for those hibernation spots).
While a good old caddy bin by the back door will do the job fine, there is now a huge range of stylish and efficient kitchen composters which can help you compost quickly (and without any whiff of that tell-tale composting smell. Country Living magazine even has a quick reference guide which could help you choose the best composter for your needs so the only thing you have left to think about is: ‘what to do with all that rich organic compost?’
Here is a full guide on how to start your organic garden!
5. Make your home naturally clean
Modern cleaning products contain a colossal amount of toxic chemicals which are actually harmful for you as well as for the environment. We’ve been taught by clever advertising campaigns that the only way to get our houses truly clean is to use their brand items. This is what they need us to believe so that they stay in business. In truth, there are a number of natural ways to get your home sparkling clean, without causing harm in the process.
Of course, you could always opt for a natural cleaning brand (there are plenty out there these days), but there are also many ‘homemade’ cleaning products which are just as effective. In fact, lifestyle blog, Let’s Grow Wild claims that home-made cleaning products are actually ‘better for your health, the environment and your pocket!’ as they don’t rely on any excess packaging and can be made from items you would already have lying around the house. It will be surprising for some people, but from four simple ingredients – vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, citrus fruit and hydrogen peroxide – you can make an arsenal of cleaning products fit to tackle any bacteria, grease or grime.