When we talk about home renovations, we often think of removing the “old” and bringing in the “new”. Very few people would associate home renovation with zero waste or plastic-free renovation. However, environmental protection can come in many forms, and there are always ways in which we can carry out our home updates whilst also minimizing waste and reducing the harmful impact to the environment. Even when we want to make our home look completely new, we can still strive to reduce waste as much as possible, and this starts by going plastic-free. Depending on your time and resources, here are some of the things you can do for a plastic-free home renovation.
1. Plastic-Free Construction Materials
As construction materials are a big source of plastic waste, many companies around the world are researching different, eco-friendly house building materials. There is now the use of technology to build low carbon houses, such as by building closed timber-framed houses, using glass tiles made out of 100% recycled glass windows, and the recycling of wine corks for flooring.
At the individual level, there are still many construction materials that you can reuse and recycle. For example, cardboard moving boxes can be reused to line your floors during the renovation to prevent scratches and damage. When you paint, don’t buy plastic drop cloths, instead, just use an old sheet or cut up an old shirt. If there are excess construction materials, you can donate them or sell them at a discount to contractors who will be able to use them for their next home remodeling.
2. Design a Plastic-Free Bathroom
The bathroom is one of the rooms of the house where the most plastic is usually found. The cosmetics industry is booming, as people tend to buy more products than they actually use, especially make up and personal care products.
At a certain point in time, we will realize that there are actually only a certain number of products we need for our everyday life. The experts at https://www.trvst.world/inspiration/how-to-go-plastic-free-in-the-bathroom/ explain that to be more eco-friendly we need to reduce the number of products we buy but don’t use, opt for package-free products such as shampoo bars, and refill the bottles that we do have.
For toothbrushes, you can switch to bamboo ones, and use biodegradable silk floss rather than normal dental floss. There are also many other bathroom items that can be changed to a more eco-friendly option, such as safety razors instead of disposable razors and wooden hair brushes instead of plastic ones.
One of the best and easiest ways to change the entire look of a room is to paint it. Painting does not require a lot of money, skill or equipment. Anyone can do it, and by painting your living room or kitchen a new color, you can bring a new life to the room itself.
These days there are a lot of paint options which are totally plastic-free so you can spruce up your walls with a clear conscience. You should look for paint that has less toxic substances, which means it should be low or free VOC paint so that when the paint dries, the solvents will just evaporate. Low VOC paint will also cause less allergies for people with sensitive skin or asthma.
People often buy more paint than they need, and although paint can last a long time, most of the time it’s just forgotten in a tin hidden away somewhere in the house. To reduce waste, first you should calculate how much paint you need for your house, or if you need a second coat for painting a light color over a dark wall. Getting an adequate amount of paint is the first step towards becoming cost effective and reducing waste.
4. Second-Hand Shopping
You have probably heard of the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” There are many secondhand items that are just as good as new, and are even more unique, especially furniture pieces. Older furniture tends to have less plastic and is usually made from quality wood and metal which will help you on the road to a plastic-free home.
You can find great used home furnishings in the following places:
- Habitat for Humanity Restore – This wonderful project is where you can find new or slightly used home furnishing items at great prices. All the funds will go to Habitat for Humanities homebuilding projects, so it is a good cause and you will be saving perfectly usable items from ending up in a landfill.
- Open Box & Refurbishing Stores – If you are looking for some good gadgets or appliances, these stores can be a treasure trove. They offer many items that have been opened and returned, or have been returned due to minor, insignificant defects which don’t in any way affect their function.
- Salvaged Materials – You can find beautiful pieces for your home, such as rustic wood for bookshelves, flooring, or tables, by salvaging them from yard sales and other places. Not only can you pick up some great stuff, but you will also be reducing the demand for wood so that less trees will be cut down.
5. Eco-Friendly Home Items
It is high time that we all start replacing the plastic items in our homes with eco-friendly versions so that we can start protecting the oceans and the environment. One great substitute is plastic-free toilet paper that is made from 100% plant materials like bamboo or sugarcane waste. It’s also BPA-free and biodegradable, which means that just by changing the type of toilet tissue you are using, you are already helping to protect the environment.
Many stores have also cut down the use of plastic straws and changed to plant-based straws that are made of bamboo or other plant materials instead. In recent years, many consumers have also stopped using plastic bags, and instead use those large shopping bags that are made of non-plastic materials everytime they go grocery shopping.
Home renovations often generate a lot of waste. If you are thinking of doing a makeover for your home, you should try some of the above methods to reduce waste and strive for a plastic-free home renovation process. The keywords are reduce, reuse and recycle. Given that about 10% of all plastic ends up in the ocean, your efforts, although they may seem small, will contribute a great deal to saving our planet and environment.
Photo by Annie Gray on Unsplash
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