26 simple things we can do around the home to live greener

By KINN correspondent, Rae Ritchie

As many of us head into the new year with plans to be that little bit more green, we thought we’d look closer to home at the small things we can all do to make a difference. Here, sustainability columnist Rae Ritchie shares 26 small (and sometimes) surprising actions that will help us all be more environmentally friendly.

Written by Sophie Barrow

26 simple things we can do around the home to live greener

In the kitchen

1) Push my buttons

How well do you know your washer or your dishwasher and do they have an eco-option? Most modern domestic appliances have at least one cycle that uses less energy and/or less water without losing effectiveness, so make that your default setting. 


2) Refill revolution

The average household throws out 480 plastic bottles a year, so a refill and keep-me bottle for your multi-surface cleaning will help reduce waste. KINN offers 30ml concentrated refill bottles, which make 500ml of product when diluted with water. Even better, they’re paired with beautiful aluminium keep-me bottles, which you can use again and again. 


3) The art of glass

It turns out that oven fronts aren’t made of glass because of aesthetics. There’s a practical purpose and it’s all about saving energy. Opening the door to check on progress during cooking releases lots of heat that must be replaced, so keep that window clean enough to peer through and you’ll save heat, time and energy. Here’s a plant-based glass cleaner that’s just the job.


4) It’s a wrap

Cling film may seem like a revolution for food storage, but because it’s made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or low-density polyethylene (LDPE), it sits in the single-use plastic category. The good news is that there are loads of smart alternatives. The Beeswax Wrap Co have an array of patterns and sizes to choose from and the Fresh Thinking Co. produce smart silicone covers.

5) Mange tout

Food waste makes a huge contribution to carbon emissions, so stay on top of what’s ready to eat or close to use-by date by creating an ‘Eat Me’ shelf in your fridge: a space where you prominently store the items that need using first.


6) The big question

It’s a big question in households all over the country: can you put takeaway pizza boxes in recycling? 

The answer depends on where you live. Every local authority has different recycling facilities so check your council’s website for details about what is and isn’t welcome kerbside – including pizza boxes. Prohibited items can contaminate the entire collection and relegate it all to landfill. 


7) Steel yourself

For gleaming hobs, sparkling sinks and generally spotless stainless steel, you don’t have to go for toxic, abrasive options. KINN’s lemongrass and lavender options boast natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and limescale removing power, using plant-based ingredients.


8) For hands that do dishes

If you’re getting your hands involved, you want peace of mind that your washing up liquid of choice is kind to sensitive skin, plus kind to the planet - and this lavender and rosemary washing up liquid ticks every box. Available in refill options to reduce single-used plastics, it’s non toxic; free from petrochemicals, certified vegan and much more.



9) You spin me right round

Turns out this 1985 hit record was on to something. Run wet washing through an extra spin cycle to remove more water and it’ll be quicker to dry, which is especially important if you can’t avoid using an energy intensive tumble dryer. 


10) Love your laundry

When you list out your laundry detergent, conditioner, delicate wash and so on, you can see that it’s a lot of packaging on repeat. The answer? A smart eco-essentials laundry bundle, which features everything you need for eco-washing, including refills, keep-me bottles and pouches. Even better, all Kinn laundry products are dermatologically tested, paediatrician approved and suitable for sensitive skin.

In living areas 

11) Greener greenery

The vogue for houseplants shows no signs of abating, but to ensure that adding foliage to your home is also green for the planet, check out the sustainability credentials of wherever you buy from and always go for brands that avoid peat compost and plastic pots. 


12) It’s not only fast fashion

Fast homeware is becoming a new environmental concern, with reports claiming that us Brits discard a huge 22 million pieces of furniture every year. When you’re next sprucing up your space, explore pre-loved options through online marketplaces such as newcomer Narchie, described as the Depop of homewares.


13) The layered look

Layers aren’t just for clothing, so think of curtains, blinds and shutters as the equivalent for your home. To maximise on energy conservation and insulation, make it a habit to keep them closed when it’s dark – even in rooms you rarely use.


14) Wax on, and on, and on

Ever looked at leftover wax and wondered if you could fashion it into another candle? The Recycled Candle Company does exactly that, collecting remnants from pubs, churches and individuals to create beautiful new products. Reduce, reuse, recycle at its most stylish.


15) Pen a pledge

Always looking for a pen at home? End up picking them up wherever you go? Then how about declaring a pen pardon? Gather up every random writing implement scattered throughout your home, stick them in a jar and vow not to let a new one through the front door until they’re all used up. 


16) Once and for all

Longevity and sustainability go hand in hand, so why not change it up by buying beautiful things that are designed to go the distance. From electronics to pyjamas and everything in between, Buy Me Once makes it easier to find long-lasting products for your home that look and feel good. Simply search its directory to get best-in-class recommendations verified by its researchers.


In the bathroom

17) Detox your cleaning life

Most supermarket-brand cleaning products feature toxic cleaning ingredients, with the big bleach players displaying their toxicity with fairly terrifying warning signs. You don’t need to go with harsh chemicals to get results, as non-toxic and plant-based options prove. Featuring floor cleaner, glass, bathroom cleaner and more, this super starter set features zero harsh chemicals, but boasts brilliant cleaning.


18) Wipe out the wipes

Take stock of single-use items in your bathroom and it will be easy to see where you can make changes. Top spots are swapping single-use cleaning wipes and cotton wool for reusable alternatives, such as washable cloths and pads.


19) Lather up

Another easy change is to trade conventional shower gel, which comes in single-use plastic bottles, for bars of soap or plastic-free body wash such as Ethosa, which comes as a powder. Add tap water to make it a gel.


20) Do good 

Got a cabinet full of products in danger of going to waste? Search the Toiletries Amnesty site to find nearby organisations that can make use of them. Many will accept partially used items like the shampoo you tried once or picked up on holiday and aren’t that keen on. 


21) Super drugs 

At present, plastic remains the most suitable packaging to keep medication safe and effective. Fortunately, it is now possible to recycle the blister packs that our pills come in. Drop your empties at Superdrug pharmacies for Terracycle to process into plastic pellets.


In the bedroom

22) Winter warmers

Warm yourself up rather than turning the heating up. Bed socks might not be the most alluring night-time attire, but they sure are effective at banishing the cold. They can also feel amazing, especially if you indulge in a recycled cashmere pair from Turtle Doves.


23) Cotton on

Many of the environmental issues that apply to clothing apply to all textiles, so look for eco accreditations when buying bedlinen too. Is the cotton certified organic or Fairtrade? Are any artificial fibres such as polyester made from recycled materials?


In outdoor spaces 

24) Lavender’s green

Thanks to its popularity with bees, it’s well worth doing your bit for biodiversity by planting lavender in your outside space, whether a pot on a window ledge or a whole swathe in a border.   


25) Swap a slab

Got a patio? Then how about switching up the space to make it functional and ecological. Gardening charity the RHS recommend pulling up a paved area of around one metre squared and filling the space with long life plants, shrubs or even trees as a way of storing carbon. 


26) Going potty

If your plants need pots, head to Elho.com for beautiful containers that are as green as what you’ll put in them. This B Corp uses recycled plastic across its range and its production process is powered by its very own wind turbine. 

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