Sustainability at home

Sustainability is a very vague term, one that manages to be both too broad and too narrow at the same time. To some people it refers to the environment, to others it extends to human rights and economics. I’m not going to quibble over the definition, I’ve never really cared what it means “officially”. To me it just means using less stuff and not using resources that cause harm to the world at large. Again, that is a pretty vague so here is what I do in my own home to illustrate the point.

1: Renewable Energy

Most of us can’t have wind turbines or solar panels on our home. I would love to but I live in a flat in a conservation area which would not allow it. I have toyed with the idea of getting a portable solar panel, like the ones Anker make for camping but I’m not sure I can justify getting one. In the meantime though I am using a supplier called Bulb. All their electricity is from 100% renewable sources and the gas is 10% renewable but the rest is offset (that’s a whole other post!). I only have electricity and my bills for the last two months were £19 and £20 respectively so it also works out cheaper than my previous supplier.  For me it is definitely worth it and I would really recommend them. Switching to a  renewable supplier also results in a gradual consumer shift away from fossil fuel derived power which can only be a good thing in the long run.

2: Reuse things

Reuse comes up all the time in sustainability and really it is a question of imagination. For example, I replaced the carpets and underlay when I moved in which gave me a lot of underlay to get rid of. Underlay is basically just foam so I cut it up and glued it into the inside of my wardrobes to prevent heat loss and reduce the risk of damp. I did the same with any bits of polystyrene that I had as well and effectively created a pretty well insulated wall.

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I drink a moderate amount of coffee but still find the jars and lids build up. Whilst glass is fairly easy to recycle and hard plastic is possible, it doesn’t seem quite as much fun. I’m currently using the coffee lids coffee as makeshift saucers for plants so the water doesn’t spill out. It also looks quite snazzy. For other sizes of plant (I have MANY plants!) I have microwave pudding cups. They weren’t even mine, a friend had them in their recycling so I squirreled them away. They knew. I think…..

As for the coffee jars themselves, one is currently serving as a flower vase (with the addition of a few leftover craft materials) and one I use for watering the plants.

When I bought my flat it came with curtains. They weren’t bad but not what I wanted, rather than get rid of them though they hang behind (and are now stitched to) my new curtains. This means they are now twice as thick which is great for insulation and darkness.

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Why have one curtain when you can have two?

None of these tips are particularly clever or complicated. They are extremely effective though at reducing resource use and the money spent on additional items. There are lots more things I do as well but I’ll save them for the next post!

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