7 Tips for More Sustainability at Home

Whether shopping, washing, or cleaning – there are many ways to live in an environmentally friendly manner at home. DEKRA solutions shows you seven tips on how to live a sustainable life.

Zu Hause lässt es sich in vielen Bereichen nachhaltig leben. Foto: Shutterstock - SceneNature; Montage: Frieser

At home, one can live sustainably in many areas. Photo: Shutterstock – SceneNature; Montage: Frieser

Saving electricity

Not only at work but also at home, you can live sustainably by using electricity sparingly. According to the German government’s “Sustainable Living” campaign, a family of four spends more than 1,000 euros on electricity on average per year, at least a quarter of which is generated by large appliances. Therefore, it would be good if all appliances in a household had low consumption. Energy labels such as the Blue Angel, the EU Energy Star, or the EU Eco label show which appliances are energy efficient. It’s also advisable to always disconnect unused appliances from the power supply. The use of LED lamps also saves electricity. Only switch the light on in rooms you’re currently in.

Cleaning

According to the German government, German citizens buy around 220,000 tonnes of household cleaning agents and around 260,000 tonnes of dishwashing detergent annually, based on industry estimates. Exact dosage is important in order to pollute our water less. The reason: many cleaning agents contain substances that are harmful to the environment or hazardous to health. According to the Federal Environment Agency, all-purpose cleaners, hand dishwashing detergent, scouring milk, and acidic cleaners based on citric acid are sufficient to keep the household clean. If there’s no way around a special cleaning agent, the European Eco label shows whether it’s a sustainable product.

Laundry

When washing laundry, the Federal Environment Agency recommends that the machine be loaded as fully as possible and that the detergent – preferably highly concentrated – be used sparingly. Also pay attention to water hardness and the degree of staining. It’s best to avoid using fabric softener. In most cases it’s also sufficient to wash the laundry at a low temperature. According to the German government, 30 to 40°C is enough.

Grocery shopping

Shopping for groceries can also be made sustainable in many ways. According to the German government, anyone who pays attention to their meat consumption already contributes to resource protection. The reason: to produce just one kilogram of beef, for example, more than 15,000 liters of water are needed. The Federal Environment Agency advises to buy organic food. Pay attention to the regional and seasonal origin. Ideally avoid food waste. Around 60 percent of food waste alone originates from us consumers. Instead, you could make a meal plan and ideally only buy what you need.

Cooking

There is also potential for saving energy and water when cooking. According to the Federal Environment Agency, it’s more energy-efficient to heat pasta or tea water with a kettle. Leaving the lid on pots and pans during cooking saves additional energy. Using pressure cookers even saves up to 50 percent of energy. When baking, it’s advisable to run the oven on circulating air. In addition, the refrigerator and freezer should never be left open for longer than necessary. It’s recommended to use appliances for as long as possible and to repair them if necessary.

Sustainability in the bathroom

To save hot water, the Federal Environment Agency advises taking a shower rather than a full bath. However, the showering time should not exceed ten minutes, as water consumption will otherwise top that of a full bath. In addition, water should never run while washing your hands. You can also consume sustainably when buying drugstore products, be it a toothbrush made of bamboo instead of plastic, shampoo bottles made of recyclable plastic, or reusable make-up removal tissues made of fabric.

Avoiding waste

Do not throw away food the moment it exceeds its best-before date. The Federal Environment Agency advises to rely on your sense of smell or taste and only then to make your decision. This doesn’t apply to easily perishable animal products. Reusable bags and baskets replace plastic bags when shopping. If you still have plastic bags at home, they should be reused as often as possible. Waste at home should also be separated correctly in order to recycle as much as possible. You should also buy products either without packaging, with recycled packaging, or in reusable containers, such as returnable bottles.

 

Graphics: www.flaticon.com

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