While many of us aspire to be more sustainable, busy lifestyles and financial concerns can get in the way – so we’ve found six easy eco-friendly switches you can make that won’t break the bank.
They may be small, but swapping your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo counterpart can make a big difference.
It is estimated that 264 million toothbrushes are thrown away in the UK each year, heading to landfill and even ending up in our waterways and oceans.
A plastic toothbrush can take anything from 400 to 1,000 years to decompose in landfill – releasing toxic methane into the environment as it rots, all while visually staining our ecosystem.
On the other hand, bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable, meaning little to no waste once discarded.
The bamboo can also be cultivated without the need for fertilisers or herbicides, and is of course rapidly renewable and self-regenerating.
Becoming increasingly popular, they can be purchased at the high-street and online for as little as £4.
Whether it be for water or coffee, a reusable cup is a must-have accessory that will instantly boost your green reputation.
Plastic bottles are notorious environmental enemies, estimated to take up to 450 years to decompose in landfill.
Similarly, takeaway coffee cups often have a thin plastic lining, making them difficult to recycle and ultimately meaning they too end up decaying in landfills.
Reusable cups are now readily available, with the likes of Costa even offering a version made from recycled Costa cups.
What’s more, you will often earn discounts on your caffeine fix when you opt for your reusable mug.
Long a staple in skincare, cotton pads and buds are becoming increasingly frowned-upon by the environmentally conscious.
The WWF estimate that the water needed to produce just one kilogram of cotton is the same amount the average person would drink over three years – a shameful statistic for a single-use commodity.
Due to the bleaching and mixing processes used in production, cotton pads also don’t biodegrade and tend to be sold in plastic packaging too.
Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives on the market such as the Face Halo – which can be washed up to 200 times.
A less obvious addition, swapping your semi-skimmed for soya can actually benefit the environment.
Each and every non-dairy milk alternative is better for the earth than cow’s milk, requiring less land and water, as well as emitting lower amounts of greenhouse gases.
Almond milk has the lowest greenhouse gas output, with the trees locking carbon dioxide as they grow.
In addition, one glass of dairy milk requires 125.6 litres of water for production, with soya only demanding a comparably mere 5.6 litres.
Substituting dairy is easier than ever, with a growing choice of alternatives available in both supermarkets and coffee shops.
A statement accepted by the likes of McDonald’s, plastic straws are another infamous foe.
Single-use, non-recyclable and small, plastic straws are one of the worst culprits when it comes to plastic pollution.
Their size in particular means they are more likely to end up in our oceans, and are especially dangerous to aquatic life.
But unlike for McDonald’s, the replacement doesn’t have to be paper.
Opting for eco-friendly lightbulbs will not only save the environment but pockets too.
LED lightbulbs are better for the environment as they use less energy to run, and in turn, they can save up to £70 a year on bills too.
They also convert 95% of the energy they produce into light, with only 5% wasted as heat – meaning they shine brighter too.
LED bulbs are additionally more efficient as they are designed to last longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs, with a lifespan 20 times longer than the standard forms of lighting.
It really is win-win, and win again, when it comes to LED lighting.