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How to be more sustainable in a small space

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Louise Williams, Posted: Friday, 29th January 2021, 09:00

It can often feel impossible to live a more sustainable life in a small space – a flat without a garden for example. It seems to be the long off dream for many to have a smallholding with a vegetable patch and a few chickens scratching around one day in the future, but this isn’t the reality for most people.

It’s true that trying to live sustainably in a smaller space can have more challenges, but it is possible to have small scale degrees of self-sufficiency just about anywhere. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Plant herbs in pots
This is a great way to ‘grow your own’ on a small scale. You can also have tomatoes in window boxes or, if you have a balcony or yard, you can make a vertical pallet planter. Check Pinterest for ideas for growing things in small spaces.

2. Lighting
Change your lighting to LED bulbs if you haven’t already – they can last up to 50 times longer than regular bulbs and are made without using any hazardous materials or chemicals.

3. Don’t leave devices on standby
This is often forgotten about in our busy lives, but if we all turn our many devices off when they’re not in use, we can save a huge amount of energy. TVs, computers, phones, tablets, stereos, coffee machines – have a little look around your home and see how many things you spot with little lights on waiting for use.

4. Energy
Switch to an eco-friendly energy provider. It’s not always possible to put solar panels or heat pumps into your own property, especially if you are renting, but there are a few energy providers across the UK who use only renewable energy sources. Thankfully, more and more companies are catching on to this and hopefully the choice will be greater soon.

5. Meal plan
This is the best way to avoid food waste and also saves all those last-minute panics about ‘what to cook’ at 5pm when everyone is hungry and ratty! It will also help you to cut down on ready meals and those plastic cartons, as you won’t be caught out as often.

6. Batch cook
This is an extension of the above. When you make meals, make several extra portions to put into the freezer. This saves energy in cooking the food, and also waste if you end up cooking a bit too much for one day’s meal.

7. On your bike
Walk or cycle as much as possible. Don’t jump in your car if you’re only popping down the road to the shop – short trips in a car are bad for the environment, so walking or dusting off your bike is much more eco-friendly.

8. Tackle draughts
If it’s not an option to switch out your windows and doors to double glazed windows and new, tightly fitting doors, get some heavy, thermal lined curtains to cover them and make (or buy) a good draught excluder for the bottom of doors.

Hopefully some of these ideas will have inspired you to make whatever small changes you can to your home and daily life!

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