The Household

From small everyday items, to renovating your home, choosing an energy provider or even a bank: all can be an opportunity to make sustainable choices on a small or large scale. [This page is under construction]

Household items

Aluminium foil

[in the works]

Baking paper

It may only be paper, but it’s a superfluous product that takes a lot of resources to make, pack and ship. Just grease and flour your baking sheet as people have done since baking began. For bread or pizza dough, sprinkling flour or cornstarch is all you need. If you can’t function without baking paper, avoid the single-use stuff and get a silicone mat such as Silpat, which you can make last a lifetime.

Bin liners (garbage bags)

Where I live, waste disposal is such that I have three bins: organic waste (compost), mixed recycling and the rest. This makes it very easy to do without bin bags. I use cornstarch-based compostable bags for the compost (many people do without these altogether, and simply wash the caddy after decanting it into the collection bin); the (cleaned) recycling goes into a cloth bag; what remains is both dry and very little, so I make a newspaper bin bag (here’s how to fold one) to line my small wastepaper basket, or even use a paper bag when I have a surplus.

Even if waste collection in your area is not managed this way, I recommend separating your organic waste from the rest, and getting into the habit of not allowing liquids into your bins (this means allowing organics to drain and squeezing the water out of tea bags before transferring to the bin, for instance), as well as washing recyclables before setting them aside. This makes it much easier to reduce or eliminate plastic liners, and generally helps with cleanliness — you can have smaller bins, with a quick turnover for organic matter which would soon mold. Dry stuff can do without liners altogether, or if your location makes a bag necessary, you can safely use paper. For kitchen waste, look for compostable bags, although if there’s no composting in your area, a folded bag made of several layers of newspaper can also do the trick, provided you let things dry a bit first.

Cling film

[in the works]

 

Dishwashing sponge

[in the works]

Cookware

  • Netherton Foundry: Pots and pans that are handmade in Britain by craftsmen, from locally sourced materials; anti-waste, chemical-free, easy to re-season at home, and a host of other enticing reasons to invest in them once your current pans die, as industrially-made ones inevitably do. Free delivery in the UK, in recyclable packaging. “In our own small way, we are committed to reducing our impact on this fragile planet by building products that will last, from materials we trust.”
  • Myriad carries kitchenware and cleaning hardware in natural materials.


Building

Energy Provider

  • Good Energy (UK): 100% renewable energy and green gas. “Simply switching to Good Energy could cut your carbon footprint by up to 50% and means that the UK has to import less fossil fuels from abroad.”

Insulation

  • Natural Insulations (UK): Environmentally friendly insulation, energy-saving both in terms of the materials they use and the way they are manufactured, and delivered straight from the manufacturer to minimise road miles.

Paint

  • ECOS Paints (US): Organic house paints! “ECOS products are free of pesticides, free of herbicides, and free of fungicides. In fact, they are non-toxic enough that our founder ate a spoonful of ECOS Paint chosen at random by the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive to demonstrate to them how pure and safe our paints are – although we certainly wouldn’t recommend ingestion.”
  • Edward Bulmer (UK): Natural paint with non toxic formulation and a COneutral manufacturing process. “Natural paints are made from raw materials such as plant extracts, chalk, earth minerals and linseed. They are non toxic and where possible have full organic or equivalent certification.”

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