A survey of homeowners’ renovation plans has found that 38% of kitchen refits are driven by the value this may add to our homes. And understandably so, with research showing that a new kitchen may add at least £5,000 to a property’s price. However, adding value doesn’t have to mean buying all new items and doesn’t have to have an impact on the environment.
The look and feel of a kitchen is what drives the majority of us to update our kitchen. With this in mind here are some ideas for renovating your kitchen with eco-friendliness in mind.
Buy second hand if you can…
A shocking 49% of us plan on gutting our existing kitchens and starting again. But, that doesn’t mean we have to pay over the odds for new furniture and appliances. While many buy items new, second hand shopping is certainly a more sustainable alternative.
Auctions and sites like Ebay are the ideal places to find cheap second hand furniture and appliances, while Freecycle allows you to pick up items for free in your local area. This means less waste generally without contributing to the CO2 emissions associated with manufacturing and shipping new items.
It is equally sustainable to sell things on if you can. But if you do decide to dispose of old cabinets, flooring or appliances it is important to oversee this process as much as possible. If you don’t have the means to take items to charity shops or recycling centres yourself, you might consider using a green disposal company. Clearance Solutions, for example, donate items to charity, as well as providing a breakdown of how your goods have been recycled. It is this level of transparency that makes clearance and removal services environmentally reliable.
…But what about bespoke items?
While there are some things you can’t get second hand, there are still environmentally-friendly choices to make. Worktops are a great example of this, as the Houzz survey showed, 93% of people updating their kitchens plan to replace worktops. While most counters are custom shapes and sizes and require specialist fitting, there are still sustainable options to consider. In this case, it really comes down to your choice of material.
According to Modern Worktops, quartz is the least likely to release harmful gases compared to other stone surfaces. The previously mentioned survey however, gave evidence that granite lasts longer and has a more universal appeal, with 50% of people replacing worktops with it. Compared to the 38% who choose quartz, this could make granite the best choice to reduce waste. The chances are a granite surface will last longer, even if you decide to sell up.
For more adventurous homeowners, there are worktops that come in a variety of colours that are made using recycled materials such as bottles collected from bars and restaurants. While UrbnRok can be made to look more neutral like quartz and granite worktops, the types of bottles used can give it a unique emerald green colour to really make a statement.
Try your hand at upcycling
More often than not, your wooden cabinets, and flooring are what make your kitchen look dated. But sometimes these are the most durable aspects of kitchen design, so it’s a shame to remove them completely. In this case upcycling can be the most transformative, eco-friendly and low-cost option.
Oak kitchen cabinets, for example, may look old and dark. But wooden cabinets are very durable and often remain in good condition for decades. So, a lick of paint and some new knobs is often all you need to bring them up to date.
Pale cabinets often make a room feel more spacious, so it may be beneficial to do a white undercoat before making any more colour choices.
The same can be true of floorboards. Where, darker wood floors can look dull and dated sanding them down and selecting a lighter coloured stain can give them a new lease of life.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.