6 simple things to be aware of to make your interior safe and more Earth-friendly.
Get to know what commonly used materials and products are considered unhealthy for us and the planet. Look for non-toxic products to purchase, and protect yourself from harmful chemicals when possible.
For example, when using oil paint or latex paint to spruce up some furnishings, make sure to ventilate your room well by opening windows and doors, and use an R95-rated respirator mask to avoid inhaling the fumes.
Polycarbonate plastics are the kind of tough, microwave-safe plastics often used to make reusable food containers.
This kind of plastic contains BPA, and many people consider consuming these microplastics a health risk (be sure to form your own opinion on this, however — there's conflicting research out there).
While they are recyclable, BPA plastics aren't biodegradable. For a more sustainable option, try swapping Tupperware for hardy glass containers, or even bamboo lunch boxes.
If your home was built before the 80s, then it's likely there's a layer of lead-based paint under the layers of newer paint.
Lead paint was banned in 1978 for its now well-known dangers. So, if you suspect have lead paint somewhere on your walls, use a water-based paint stripper with solvent-free ingredients to get it removed.
Do this before you sand your wall to prepare to paint it or wallpaper it, for example. Make sure to wear protective gear and a filter face mask, keep the room well ventilated, and tidy and wash away any mess left at the end.
Consciously choose items that are sustainably sourced and made from recycled materials whenever it's possible. For example, choose FSC-certified paper, and plastic products made from recycled plastics.
Look for the FSC logo on packaging, like juice cartons, or look at a brand's responsibility statement on their website to do a bit of planet-friendly sleuthing before you buy.
Look out for certifications and credentials of a company, so you know you're picking a sustainable brand to shop with.
You'll spot that some companies are now carbon neutral, carbon negative or net zero, which means they offset or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Note that these terms aren't necessarily official statuses, though, so you'll want to check if the company provides more information on how they achieve this on their website.
A B Corp logo is good news, too. When a company is B Corp-certified, it means that they've committed themselves legally to perform to a high social and environmental standard, and that includes doing as little harm to the Earth as possible.
Upcyle and reuse
With Pinterest and TikTok at our fingertips, there are more ideas for crafts and home hacks around than ever before. Jump on trends like rug-making and vegetable dip-dyes for a fun weekend that gets you creating new things instead of consuming them.
Reuse wallpaper offcuts — frame a piece of the design or decorate a bookshelf back instead of throwing the wallpaper away. Plus, make use of paint sitting in a can from a previous project to give old furniture a new lease of life.
Senior Content Executive at Hovia
'Emerge' wallpaper by Hovia