Few of us can truthfully say we love getting out of bed in the morning (but if you do, please tell us your secret), and so the seemingly herculean effort of getting ready for the day is enough to contend with without the added worry of what your routine might be doing to the planet.
But don’t you worry your sleepy head – we’ve rounded up the simplest and most effective swaps and hacks that will ensure your morning routine is as sustainable as possible. In fact, the biggest impact you’ll make will be lumbering down the stairs to the kettle.
Make the most of your curtains
First thing’s first, the curtains (or blinds). Obviously you need to shed a bit of light on proceedings, but before you leave the bedroom consider what the temperature outside is doing. During winter months, keep them open to take advantage of the heat from direct sunlight, and in summer, you can mitigate
some of the stifling sweatiness of hot nights by keeping them closed during the day. Using curtains to manage your bedroom temperature this way can help negate the need for energy hungry heating or cooling later on.
Heat the house efficiently
Getting out of bed on a cold morning is no fun at all, so your first port of call may well be the boiler to crank the heat up. The problem with this is that by the time your house has reached the temperature you want, you’ll already be getting on with your day, either out of the house or awake and active enough inside it to make do with a jumper. So that’s just a waste of energy. Instead, take the time to figure out your boiler controls so you can set the heating to come on before you need to get out of bed, so your house will be toasty warm when you actually want it to be.
Use a greener toilet paper
We all know that wasting paper is a bad thing, but don’t worry, we’re not about to suggest you start scrimping on the loo roll. Instead, just make sure that the toilet roll you are using has got top notch environmental credentials. Brands like Serious Tissues have all put sustainability at the top of their agenda – and you can buy in bulk with delivery right to your door, so you needn’t worry about running out while you’re running late.
Dental care can be a bit of an environmental minefield. In the UK alone we get through about 200 million plastic toothbrushes a year, and because they’re so difficult to recycle most of them end up in landfill. Toothpaste tubes are also a problem, as they’re usually made of different types of plastic as well as a layer of metal. However, there’s a growing market of greener dental products that do just as good a job as their plastic-based counterparts.
Get plastic out of the shower
Next time you’re in the shower, take a look at how many bottles there are lying around – it’s probably more than you think. A poll of 2,000 people in the UK recently revealed the average household gets through 216 plastic haircare bottles a year, as well as 24 bottles of shower gel – and only around 60% of this is recycled. What’s the solution? Zero waste toiletries! Everything from shampoo and conditioner to shower gel and exfoliants are available in plastic-free bar form, delivering all the beauty benefits of regular products without the mountains of plastic waste. People often report being a bit reluctant to try them because they’re such a departure from the norm, but they’re quickly converted.
Upgrade your razor
Billions of plastic razors end up in landfill every year, and even the ones with
replacement heads that are designed to be reused pose a major waste problem because they can’t be recycled. As such, disposable plastic razors are quickly falling out of favour with the eco-conscious, and zero waste options – made entirely from metal – are becoming increasingly popular. Not only are they better for the environment, but they’ll give you a closer, smoother shave, too!
Make a more mindful cuppa
Congratulations, you’ve made it as a far as the kitchen. Now to make a cup of tea or coffee to get the day started. Pay attention when you’re filling the kettle, though, and only boil as much water as you need. Research has found that Brits typically fill their kettle with twice as much water as necessary, which wastes both energy and around 70 million litres of water every single day. Also, make a mindful decision on what tea or coffee you're using. Here's a few of our recommendations.
Washing up the breakfast things
Unless you’re the type of person who leaves the breakfast dishes in the sink for later (and to be honest, who would blame you?) you might be inclined to shove them all in the dishwasher, turn it on and then go about your day. This is absolutely fine if you’ve got a full load to clean. In fact, running a full dishwasher is a far more efficient way of washing dishes than doing so by hand – but only if it’s a full load. If you don’t have enough for a full load, either wait until you do, or wash your breakfast things by hand, otherwise you’re just wasting water and energy.
Consider sustainable bed sheets
As we spend a third of our life asleep, it’s worth getting your bedding right - for you and the planet. Cotton is the go-to material for cosy, breathable bedding, but this isn’t the most eco-friendly fabric. Check out Ethical Bedding below - they've harnessed the environmental benefits of eucalyptus to create a collection of luxurious bed sheets.