MANY of us promise to become more sustainable at the start of a new year, but how are we going to do that?

Here are 11 steps from Sustainable Housebuilder of the Year 2021, Barratt Homes, on how to make your home and life eco-friendlier this year.

"Use bamboo toilet paper"

Using an alternative to toilet paper is something that most of us probably wouldn’t think of. However, when it comes to trees and deforestation, said that to make 127 rolls of toilet paper (which is what one person in the UK uses annually), 27,000 trees are cut down to make them.

Purchase bamboo toilet rolls instead of your supermarket-bought-based rolls. Bamboo is made from grass, and not a tree which means that bamboo paper is more eco-friendly.

"Get better at recycling"

It's hard to determine which items can be recycled and which items must go into the bin, so study the packaging closely to see what advice is given. If you can’t find any answers, do a quick Google search to see if the item that you’re throwing away can be recycled. For items such as clothes and household objects, if re-usable, donate them to a charity shop.

"Unplug electricals when not in use"

Many of us are guilty of leaving lights and TVs on whilst we’re not around, or even having them on in the background when not being used.

Not only is this wasting energy, but also adds to the cost of energy bills. If you’re not around or not using an electrical appliance, then simply unplug it.

"Turn off all plug sockets whilst you’re away on holiday"

When it comes to going on holiday you could save energy by turning off all plug sockets completely. It could also help prevent a fire whilst you’re not around. When it comes to the end of the month, you should have less money to pay for your energy bills too.

"Hand wash clothes if you only have small pieces to wash"

Overusing a washing machine will simply add to your energy bills, especially if you are only washing a small handful of items. Instead of putting a small load into a washing cycle, opt for handwashing them instead, this uses much less water detergent and electricity.

"Stop purchasing bottled water"

Instead, take a flask that you have at home, or re-use a plastic bottle. If you’re at work for 5 days and purchase a bottle every day for lunch, that’s 240 plastic bottles you’re using a year. Instead, opt for reusable ones. It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down.

"Contact places that send you letters rather than emails"

Some shops and companies still bombard letterboxes with deals or reminders, but you can ask for them to be sent to your email rather than have them sent to you by post. Having less junk mail sent to you is more environmentally friendly.

"Start growing your own vegetables"

Whether it’s a tomato plant, lettuce, spinach, or carrots – opt for the New Year to be a year where you grow your own vegetables. Not only might this knock some money off your grocery bills, but it’s also great to become more sustainable about what you’re eating.

"Looking for a new home? An energy-efficient new build will be a better option"

With many people looking to move into a new home in 2022, a new build home will be much more energy-efficient than purchasing or renting an old one. An energy-efficient home might mean a cheaper mortgage, with some lenders offering ‘green mortgages’ to help with sustainability

"Only use a dishwasher when its full"

Like a washing machine, you should only put on a dishwasher when it’s full, and even then, you should be putting it on an eco-setting. A dishwashing cycle in an eco-friendly setting uses less water than washing up manually.

"Eat seasonally and reduce food waste"

Eat foods that are naturally in the harvest. For instance, this means eating sprouts in the winter and eating strawberries in the summer. Purchasing leeks, parsnips, and swede are great winter harvest vegetables. Equally, purchase wonky veg. By doing so, you’re helping reduce food waste and become more sustainable