1) Switch off your plug sockets 

Did you know that electricals can still use energy even when they're in 'sleep mode'? It's not a small amount either. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) conducted research and found that devices in 'standby mode' waste between 9-16% of your household electricity.

Save yourself energy - and money - by turning off the plug points for things such as the TV, chargers and unused lamps. Your bank account, and mother nature, will thank you.

2) Shop second-hand 

One of the easiest ways to be more sustainable is by avoiding fast fashion and choosing to shop pre-loved instead. Whether you're looking for clothes, shoes or homeware, there are a number of second-hand outlets that can help.

For clothes, consider visiting your local charity shops or looking online at places like Vinted and Depop. When it comes to household items and furnishings, why not search on Facebook Marketplace or eBay? Or, many local refuse and recycling centres have makeshift shops selling second-hand items for much less.

3) Use your microwave 

Although it's small in size, its energy efficiency is massive. Compared to conventional ovens, microwaves require less energy and cook your food quicker.

Plus, you can use a microwave for a whole range of foods. For example, you can bake potatoes, make mug cakes, cook eggs, steam vegetables, and revive stale bread in the microwave. So next time you're planning midweek meals, consider if you need the oven or if you can use the microwave instead.

4) Reduce your plastic consumption 

If you're searching for sustainable tips for everyday life, then limiting your plastic consumption is a great place to start. Next time you're doing your weekly shop, consider choosing loose fruit and vegetables instead of pre-wrapped packs.

Explore local greengrocers that offer alternate packaging solutions. Choose loose banana bunches, oranges in net bags, loose herbs, and items from the deli and bakery counters instead of packaged ones. Additionally, remember to use reusable bags and canvas totes to pack your groceries at the end of your shopping trip!

sustainable living: string bags

5) Keep a reusable water bottle and coffee cup on you 

We all know that single-use plastic bottles are wasteful. An easy way to reduce your environmental impact is to buy a reusable water bottle. That way, you can use them on the go and avoid having to buy additional bottles. As a bonus, it may help to remind you to stay hydrated!

Many cafes now take your own cups for coffee and tea to go, so you could also think about getting one. Additionally, many have insulated material so will keep your hot drinks warmer for longer.

6) Use public transport 

A car may be the easiest option, but have you thought about using public transport instead? By taking the train or bus, you'll be taking an eco-friendly step for the world. Plus, taking into account potential traffic and the time searching for parking, it could even save you time!

If the weather is good, cycling or walking are great choices and will benefit your mental health and carbon footprint. If all else fails, consider carpooling with any friends that may also be going in the same direction.  

7) Make gift wrapping more eco-friendly 

When it comes to gift-giving, save money and be more eco-friendly by opting for greener measures. Such as? Choosing recycled paper to wrap your presents in, or perhaps an old newspaper and a colourful string. This will make your present look striking and unique. At the end of the day, someone will be throwing it away anyway.

8) Eat less meat 

What we eat is one of the easiest changes you can make if you're looking to be more eco-friendly. Try eating food grown locally and fruit and vegetables that are in season. Or, perhaps look into eating a few greener meals every week and minimise the amount of meat you do have.

We're not saying you have to stop eating meat altogether, but just less. It really can have a big impact on your carbon footprint. 

9) Make the most of your dishwasher 

It turns out that it's actually more eco-friendly to fun a full dishwasher than to individually hand wash items. However, the emphasis is on the word 'full'. A half-load or relatively empty dishwasher will still use a lot of water and energy. Next time, use your judgement and weigh up whether popping on the dishwasher or getting your hands wet is wiser.

10) Compost 

If you're looking for ways to reduce your food waste, make sure you compost. If you have a garden, the compost from your leftover food is nutrient-rich and beneficial for your soil. Or, if you don't have a garden or space for a compost bin, why not look into getting a food bin?

Many counties now offer you the chance to get food waste bins that they collect weekly. This makes things a whole lot simpler and means that your off-cuts can contribute towards making great soil.

If you want to learn more about sustainability and get some eco-friendly tips, then check out our green courses here

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About the author

Kay Field

Digital Marketing Officer

Kay is the Digital Marketing Officer at the WEA.