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all articles 16. April 2020

10 tips for a more sustainable life at home (even after the pandemic)

For most of us, our home is THE centre of our everyday lives.

Even though in the current situation we might feel like our freedom has been restricted, this very reduction of our opportunities can be an impulse for us to start something new.

With the focus on our own four walls we are in a perfect position to give our everyday lives a new direction.

We believe that this time spent at home, with all its limitations, is a good opportunity to take stock and question what we are used to, and to begin living a more conscious and sustainable life at home.

These 10 tips will help you to do this.

Let's go!

1) On a research trip within your own four walls

Since journeys into the wider world have been cancelled for the time being, why not simply go on a sustainable discovery trip through the small, elegant world of your home. Wander from room to room with a researcher's eye and constantly ask yourself: how can I make this room and my behaviour in it more sustainable?

Look closely! What things do you find, what are they made of, how do you use them or do you even use them at all? What is the purpose of the room and how do you actually live in it?

Question everything, take nothing for granted. Discover your familiar four walls with new eyes!

2) Save energy and switch to green electricity

If you now roam your rooms with a critical eye, pay special attention to your energy consumption.

For example, what devices are permanently connected to the power supply system even though you only use them at certain times? For example, why not switch off the Wi-Fi router at night when everyone is asleep?

Of course, the question also arises as to how green the electricity is that you consume. Perhaps now is a good time to switch to a provider of green electricity. Or maybe you are even planning to generate your own electricity.

3) Making your own finances sustainable

Have you ever asked yourself how green your bank is? Are their financial transactions and activities conducted according to ethical and ecological standards?

So far, there are only a few truly sustainable banks in Germany. You can find an overview here.

Although sustainable investments are still rare, they are clearly en vogue, even now in this time of crisis. If you want to learn more about how to invest your money in green investments and what you should be aware of, we recommend our blog article on sustainable investing.

4) Start a zero-waste lifestyle

Hand on heart: what about the rubbish you produce? How far away are you from zero waste? Shopping more consciously and avoiding unnecessary (plastic) packaging if possible is a trend has already reached the supermarkets.

However, it is even better to shop in a packaging-free store that sells its products loose. You can buy food, especially basic foodstuffs such as flour, sugar, noodles, rice or nuts, and drugstore articles, completely without packaging. You can see that the zero-waste-lifestyle is gaining more and more popularity by the boom of packaging-free shops, which can be found in many cities and regions in Germany.

Another place where you can also reduce waste is in the kitchen. When food has passed its best-before date or fruit and vegetables no longer look really fresh, it ends up being thrown away far too quickly. But you can still use a lot of it and there is a nice book called "Zero Waste Kitchen" by the cook and activist Sophia Hoffmann.

5) Be more aware when shopping online

Ordering something on the Internet today is only a matter of a few clicks. Let’s be honest, how often have you resisted the temptation to spontaneously click on the "buy now" button in order to have the object of your desire delivered to your hands by the very next day, if possible?

However, with all the packaging and logistical effort, online purchases are not very sustainable. The next time your mouse cursor hovers over the buy button, just take a moment to think about whether you really need whatever it is that you want to buy? Does the supplier ship in a sustainable and reduced-packaging way?

Being a little bit more aware when shopping online has saved us from the experience of making one of those unnecessary "I really want it even though I don’t need it" purchases on several occasions ;-)

6) Repairing instead of disposing

Instead of immediately throwing away things that are broken, especially appliances, you could instead consider repairing them.

On the Internet you will find countless video tutorials on how to repair all kinds of things, from a hole in a sock to replacing a car battery. There are now online services that offer repair kits for smartphones or other devices, and there are also repair cafés in an increasing number of cities.

Before buying a new device or appliance, it is worth checking to see whether spare parts will be easy to obtain or if it can even be repaired at all, if necessary. As is learning how to use it in a way that will ensure it will last for a long time.

7) Uses a sustainable search engine

Sure, when you are looking for a solution on, say, how to fix something, or you want to know where the nearest shop selling packaging-free products is, it is now almost a reflex to simply ask a search engine. But every single search query causes CO2 emissions.

Fortunately, there are search engines like for example Ecosia, which not only generate their own electricity for their servers using renewable energies, but also use part of their profits to plant trees for storing CO2. We think this is brilliant!

8) Be more analogue

Some of you may remember a time before this thing called the "Internet", when our daily lives were analogue. But life was just as fun and entertaining then too!

So, instead of launching an app with your favourite game, or endlessly scrolling down the Facebook or Instagram timeline, get the box of board and card games out of the cupboard. Or build your Lego dream house - solar panels and wind power included. Or learn sketchnoting. Or get creative and make your own mini-zine from just a sheet of paper.

9) Cleaning with natural household remedies

Everyday living means it is necessary to wipe with a damp cloth from time to time. Even better: start doing your spring cleaning right away. But before you stock up on special disinfectants, normal washing up liquid and cleaning products will also help to remove corona viruses and they are also much more environmentally friendly.

Your spring cleaning will be particularly sustainable and environmentally friendly if you use granny's old housecleaning remedies.

A start-up from Leipzig wants to make it particularly easy for you. Their "Sauberkasten" (“cleaning box”) is a DIY-kit that allows you to simply make the most essential cleaning products yourself.

10) Learn new things about sustainability

Anyone who delves into the issue of "sustainability" and sustainable living will quickly realise that there are many different aspects to think about.

So it is worth staying up to date and finding information and inspiration from many different places and perspectives.

To get you started, here is a list of our favourite sustainability blogs and podcasts.

Now it's up to you!

We hope that our 10 tips have given you the impetus to begin a living a more sustainable life – from the comfort of your own home.Have fun!

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