Simple swaps to make at home to help the environment

Explore simple swaps that can have a positive impact on wildlife, local ecosystems, and the biodiversity of our wider world!

23rd May 2024

As part of our ‘Tails’ of UK Wildlife campaign, we’re exploring the various ways we can help shape the future of nature. While knowing what to feed UK wildlife and how to create wildlife-friendly spaces are important steps, understanding what you can do at home to help our environment is fundamental, too. 

Unfortunately, many of the products we use daily can harm the intricate workings of ecosystems and biodiversity. For example, toxic chemicals in cleaning products, like bleach and washing-up liquid, end up in our waterways and harm marine life – whereas aerosol sprays emit more air pollution than cars!  

Let’s explore some simple swaps that could have a positive impact on wildlife, local ecosystems, and biodiversity of our wider world…

Switch to: Refill shops

Also known as ‘zero waste shops’, refill shops empower you to purchase locally sourced produce and sustainable products from organic sources without single-use plastics, while encouraging less food waste. Luckily, there are zero waste shops dotted throughout the UK!

Switch to: Eco-friendly cleaning products

Making sure the cleaning products you use are free from harsh chemicals, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free is a great way to care for nature. To enhance your eco-friendly efforts, you could choose cleaning products that are sold in refillable containers or biodegradable packaging.

Switch to: Reusable bottles

Instead of repeatedly buying plastic bottles for your drinking water, switching to a reusable bottle will help the environment. However, your reusable bottle does so much more – especially those made from sustainable materials – like saving money, regulating water temperature, and helping to express your unique sense of style!

Switch to: Reusable takeaway cups

In a similar way to using reusable bottles, opting for a reusable takeaway cup is a small step that can make a big difference to the environment. As well as preventing single-use takeaway cups ending up in landfill, a reusable takeaway cup is non-toxic, stylish, and reduces the risk of burning your hands.

Switch to: Meal prep

Although it may seem easier to buy lunch while out at work, preparing meals to take in could reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging often seen on ready-made food. Additionally, preparing your meals in advance can help to reduce costs and food waste, because you’re not paying over-the-odds and are able to create portions you know you can eat.

Switch to: Loose produce

Another environmentally friendly action you could take is to select loose fruit and vegetables while at the supermarket, as opposed to choosing produce wrapped in plastic. This could also help limit the amount of food waste that may be created if you buy pre-packaged produce. 

Switch to: ‘Wonky’ vegetables

We’ve been conditioned to buy vegetables that look ‘perfect’, owing to the strict standards surrounding the appearance of food. Thankfully, there’s an increasing awareness of food waste inspiring many shops to start selling ‘imperfect’ produce, which allows ‘wonky’ vegetables (and fruit!) to be enjoyed by more of us. 

Switch to: ‘Too Good To Go’ app

Just as buying ‘wonky’ vegetables can help the environment (while reducing costs!), ‘Too Good To Go’ is an app that allows you to save bags of food from going to waste. Through the app, you’re able to order ‘Surprise Bags’ of food from a local business – empowering you to enjoy great food at lower prices, all while helping the environment! 

Switch to: Sustainable fashion 

By buying clothes from companies who are committed to using sustainable materials, and reducing their negative impact on the environment, you’re supporting a more positive future for nature. Transforming your old clothes into something you’ll wear, or gifting them to a charity, might also help lower the amount of clothing that ends up on landfill. 

Switch to: Beeswax wrap

Cling film takes hundreds of years to decompose, and when it does, it becomes microplastics – which are known to endanger wildlife and harm ocean habitats. Beeswax wrap offers an eco-friendly cover that can be used up to 500 times, is naturally anti-microbial, and fully biodegradable once you’ve finished (re)using it! Other alternatives to cling film include covering a bowl of food with a plate, fridge-safe reusable glass containers, or transferring your food to Tupperware containers.

Switch to: Recycled kitchen towel and toilet roll

Millions of trees are needed every year to maintain our supplies of kitchen towel and toilet roll. Opting for kitchen towel and/or toilet roll made from recycled fibres could limit your impact on the environment by lowering the number of trees needing to be cut down. Different alternative materials available for kitchen towel and toilet roll include sugar cane fibre and bamboo.  

Switch to: Shampoo bars

Along with being kinder to nature than using shampoo in plastic bottles, shampoo bars offer several benefits, like the need to use less and saving on space in your bathroom. Most shampoo bars are packaged in compostable cardboard, or other biodegradable materials, too!

As you can see, small actions have a big impact – and each simple swap you make will help us all work towards a wilder future, together. 

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