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Creative, eco-friendly ideas for the home

Some creative ideas to keep ourselves occupied while making eco-friendly choices.

Although we’re spending more time than ever before in our homes, there’s a huge range of sustainable and creative things we can do to keep ourselves occupied while making eco-friendly choices. Here are just a few ideas to hopefully inspire you. 

Herb garden

Get upcycling

You know that old bookcase you’ve been thinking about giving a new lease of life to? Or the sad-looking old chair that desperately needs some reupholstery? Well now's the time to show them some love! There are tonnes of websites out there that can offer advice – here’s just one to give you some ideas. 

And if you're having a clear-out and thinking of throwing away those old coffee tins or mason jars, you could give them a new life instead as a recycled planter. Clean out the old containers thoroughly and pick up some soil and herbs to start your own in-home herb garden. Growing herbs indoors is perfect for both big kitchens and small spaces. This is a cheap alternative to a massive garden space in your backyard and has the added benefit of using recycled materials.

Cut down on energy use in your home

Simple actions such as switching off your laptop at your work-from-home station at the end of the day can save a lot of energy over time. Remembering to turn off appliances and lights when they’re not in use is the easiest way to make sure you are not wasting energy – and could save money from your energy bill too. 

When it comes to laundry, washing clothes on shorter and colder cycles uses less energy, and while the good weather prevails, you can make use of a clothes airer to dry your laundry naturally instead of turning on the tumble-dryer. 

Create a home recycling centre 

Creating a home recycling centre can help you not just make the recycling process easier but also teach your kids the importance of recycling and being eco-friendly. Start by designating a specific area in your home or outside of your home dedicated to the sorting of recyclable materials. Get several bins and label them according to materials: paper, plastic, glass, and aluminium. This is a great system to stay organised and help you commit to a recycling plan. 


Grow your own veg

If you have a garden, or even a window ledge where you can keep houseplants, why not invest in seeds for future food? 

Lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, spring onions and tomatoes are all staple ingredients which can be grown in the UK. All you need are seeds, soil, sunlight and a little water for your sprouting veg.

Make your own cleaning products

Constantly using chemical products can be damaging to your home’s air quality. Creating your own homemade cleaning products is a budget-friendly way to incorporate some eco-friendly alternatives into your home. Going the green route with home cleaning products can not only save you money but is also a healthier alternative to dangerous chemical cleaners. 

A birdhouse hanging from a tree

Build your own bird feeder/birdhouse

If you have some outdoor space, you can use products from your home to make a bird feeder or even a birdhouse. This could even be a time to take up a new, simple hobby – birdwatching.

If birds aren’t your thing, there are plenty of ideas on the RSPB website to encourage you to give other forms of nature a home in your garden or balcony. 

Patch up your loved clothes/make your own clothes

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make your own clothes – or even just learn how to sew a button – there’s never been a better time to try than now. All too often we buy new clothes instead of trying to repair the ones we already have. There’s a vast number of sites that offer tips – this beginner’s guide might get you started. 

Pages from the BU cookbook

Try a new recipe from our BU recipe book

Try out some of our tasty recipes submitted by our own  BU community, testified as being good to eat, good for our health, good for producers and good for the planet! Take a look and get some inspiration here: very own recipe book! 

We asked staff to submit their ‘good’ recipes – good to eat, good for our health, good for producers and good for the planet. It’s safe to say the recipes, submitted by staff all across the university, did not disappoint, so we simply had to share

Share your ideas!

These are just a few ideas, but we’d love you to share your suggestions. If you’re happy for us to publish your ideas, please email You can also follow @Sustainable_BU on Twitter for further inspiration.