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How to make your kitchen refit eco friendly



Eco Kitchen via Flickr

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.


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Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness



Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move



Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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