We all want to do our bit for the environment but sometimes the task feels overwhelming. In this post we look at easy ways to make a difference, and it all starts close to home.
Green up your home office
With more of us now working from home, we can no longer rely on the office recycling systems to reduce our use of paper and card. We all need to get involved at home…
Assess any paper you receive through the letterbox. Unsubscribe from postal mailing lists or switch to email newsletters. Sign up to paperless billing and consider moving magazine subscriptions to online versions.
Reduce your printing. If unavoidable, always use recycled paper – standards are much higher now and good quality recycled paper is easy to buy online.
Print on both sides of the paper. You might need to turn the paper manually if your printer is not up to the job, but every piece of paper saved makes a difference.
Save birthday and anniversary cards that you receive and wait for a rainy day. Enlist the family to have fun up-cycling the cards (and re-using any old magazines or newspapers) into new, personalised greetings cards for the year ahead.
Kids and grandparents can work together on this enjoyable activity. Trying out stencils, mosaic designs and good old-fashioned cutting and sticking is surprisingly relaxing!
Getting absorbed in a craft activity like this is good for our mental health, as well the environment.
Flush out paper waste in your bathroom
One of the biggest ways we all waste paper in our homes, is by using it once and flushing it down the toilet!
Producing toilet roll is a significant cause of deforestation, destroying 27,000 trees every day.
Even when recycled paper is used to produce toilet roll, that still depends on original wood based paper, so it is not a sustainable resource.
Switching to bamboo toilet roll can significantly reduce paper use in your home. Bamboo is better because it grows rapidly and can be cut for paper within 2 years. Unlike trees, bamboo does not need to be replanted because harvesting it stimulates new growth.
Clean up your kitchen
Avoid paper plates and cups, even for parties. Tell friends that you are reducing paper use at home and ask people to bring their own mug/wineglass if you don’t have enough for a large event.
Reduce paper products in the kitchen by using cloths instead of paper kitchen roll.
Eliminate the need for buying new shopping list pads by creating your own. The insides of boxes of cereal and teabags are usually plain – cut them up into strips and you have ready made blank cards which can be pinned on a noticeboard or stuck to the fridge. Recycle these after use.
Take it outside
With the increase in online shopping, card and cardboard packaging can quickly fill up our recycling bins.
Get one more use out of the cardboard by heading outside into the garden. Seasoned gardeners recommend laying down cardboard to limit weed growth, using it as a mulch to improve soil or simply shredding it into your compost bin.
If you don’t have a garden, ask a friend, approach your local allotment, or try sites like ‘freecycle’. Then sit back and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing your packaging is being re-used to grow good things.
Good luck with reducing your paper and card usage this year, it really does make a difference!