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Creating a home that is considerate towards the environment does not have to mean living in a tree house! There are many other, much simpler ways you can play your part in reducing society’s carbon footprint.

Does knowing that you forgot to add your vegetable peelings to the compost bin or that you bought carrots in a plastic bag rather than packing them into your shopping trolley loose leave you feeling guilty about the detrimental impact it has on the environment? If so, this article is certainly for you. If not, continue reading anyway and you may think more carefully about the impact the choices you make have on the world around us now and for future generations.

1. Update rather than upgrade

It is often the case that you can update existing furniture, features and fittings rather than replacing them completely. Not only is it environmentally friendly to consider changing your home in this way, but it is also economical. For example, if your dining room chairs are beginning to look a bit tatty, don’t throw them away. Buy some new fabric and re-upholster them. Alternatively, grab some furniture paint and get to work!

2. Source second-hand goods and materials

If you’re considering replacing items or creating new pieces of furniture, look at the possibility of getting something second-hand and upcycling. You never know; you might even find someone willing to give an item away free. Today’s society seems to be so throwaway; modernizing existing pieces is a great way of preventing things from being sent to landfill.

Pallets are often given away free of charge and can be adapted into many things within your home, from shelves to a table, garden furniture to wall art. With a little imagination and a few other materials, you can transform them from functional to fabulous.

3. Dispose of items in an environmentally-sound way

If an item of yours cannot be kept, for whatever reason, ensure that you get rid of it in the best way possible for the sake of the environment. Giving items away, to friends and family or those in need, reduce the number of things being sent to landfill, which ultimately has huge benefits for the planet.

For mattresses, which must be replaced after a certain length of time, check out a mattress donation guide to work out how best to get rid of it.

4. Reduce energy usage

If you are updating your lighting, make sure to look into how much energy will be required and how many bulbs will be needed. Although bulbs are now energy-saving, they do still impact on the environment, so it’s worth doing your research.

New kitchens can look great but consider the appliances environmentally as well as aesthetically. It is vital to take into account not only how much energy the products use, but also to seek out reviews from previous customers. If the item does not have a long life expectancy, according to online recommendations, this would not seem a sensible purchase.