Thousands of us are spending more time in our homes. The spare room has become the new office and the kitchen is the new staff room. With lots of us spending our working day at home wouldn’t it be a great place to start making small changes to making your space more eco-friendly? You may not have realised, but you’re helping to become more eco-friendly already. I bet you can’t remember the last time you bought a coffee that came in a cup that wasn’t recyclable… It’s because you’re using your favourite mug from the kitchen (the new staff room!) There’s no more paying for plastic bottles either, you’ve got a recyclable glass for that too. Life won’t be at home forever, but when we get back to the office wouldn’t it be fantastic to carry on the great work we have already started at home.
There are lots of ways to start your eco-friendly living, which can begin in the kitchen, just taking a few minutes to read any packaging and making sure it goes in the right bin. Recyclable or not? You can always do the stretch test. If it stretches, 9 times out of 10 it’s recyclable.
Simply stretch the piece of plastic. If the plastic stretches, the general rule is that it can be recycled. It’s as easy as that!
Check with your local council to see which bin recycles what, as we know some don't accept cling film, which can make this method tricky!
Also remember to wash any recycling before you put it into your bin. It is really important. Food residue is a form of contamination, and if this is left on your recycling it cannot be reliably processed. So, remember guys, rinse before you recycle.
Another important tip for living more eco-friendly in the kitchen is to not crush your used cans! It makes it really difficult for them to be recycled. This is because most recycling centres use single-stream recycling. Even though it is satisfying to crush a can and we think we are saving space in the bin by doing so, please don’t do it! Single stream recycling can’t do its job to recycle because it relies on the original shape in order to recycle effectively.
Swap out your essentials
So, you’re already switching it up with your coffee mug and your water bottle is now a trendy cool style bottle made from stainless steel which isn’t going anywhere. What other small steps can we take to help us and others out in the long term? Why not start small with the kitchen sponge. You can switch that up and replace it with a compostable sponge. Most common kitchen/bathroom sponges are made from plastic and can’t be recycled. Common sponges contribute to plastic pollution for hundreds of years before eventually breaking down into micro plastics.
Another tip, before you head to the supermarket for your weekly shop remember you’ll have to pay that extra 10p for that nasty plastic bag at the end of the checkout. You are always going to have to buy more than one bag so why not save the money and remember to take your own bags. This is an example of another way you can make changes into easy everyday habits. Also, have a look at everything you buy and ask yourself, do I really need it? Things that have excessive packaging, single-use plastics being the worst offender. If you cannot find/afford alternatives to plastic packaging find another use for it, before throwing it away.
So you have now thought about what you're putting into your bin, but another Small change, for example, would be to switch your bin bags to biodegradable bin bags. They are completely plastic-free. Even if you use them for food waste you can compost them at home. Absolutely genius!
When shopping for your regular shampoo, why not opt for a soap bar instead. Again, this is another tremendous way of being eco-friendly as there is zero waste involved in a soap bar. From switching to a soap bar, you’re not adding plastic bottles to our oceans, and that means less fish are eating plastic for dinner. It’s these little changes from you, in your bathroom at home which are making a massive difference. Plus, soap bars look so much nicer than a half-empty shampoo bottle floating around your bathroom filling up the bin. With a soap bar, there is none of that as it's zero-waste!
Being more eco-friendly is so important and everyone can help by doing just a little bit more from your own home.
Remember reduce, re-use, re-purpose and recycle.