Did you know that one tonne of paint can produce 10 tonnes of waste? Or that in the presence of sunlight, paint is extremely harmful to the ozone? Or that batteries can take up to 100 years to decompose in a landfill? Total transparency here – neither did we.
We’re not on a witch hunt against paint or batteries, but we thought we’d look into how sustainable our DIY projects tend to be here in the UK. Eon recently conducted a survey, (unsurprisingly just before our last bank holiday!) to gauge how important sustainability is to our nations’ DIY enthusiasts when embarking on a new home project.
There were some pretty interesting results, one of them being that 50% of people didn’t know what their sustainable options were with their home projects. Another reassuring result was that 60% said they’d like to make their projects more sustainable.
At the moment it’s the youngsters flying the (hopefully sustainably produced!) eco flag, as 40% of 18-22 year old homeowners said that sustainability was highest on their agenda for their project, rather than the 22% from the over 55 bracket. We’re not here to bombard you with statistics though, we just noticed that these figures back up our own choices to give sustainability the priority it’s due as with our product range.
If you’re looking to run your next project as sustainably as possible, here are six pointers to get you started:
Use Sustainable Products
Okay so this one isn’t rocket science given the title of this article, but make a commitment to at least explore where and how your products and materials are being created. It’s difficult to overhaul all of your buying decisions in one fell swoop, but if you start researching your purchases before parting with your cash, there may be some revelations that will mean the product won’t quite make it to the checkout.
You may not be able to go fully sustainable overnight, but if you know that some products or companies are particularly environmentally unfriendly and replace them with more eco-responsible companies, over a period of time this will really start to make some serious progress.
Assess Your Whole Project First
Many people assume that sustainable means ‘expensive’ but you’ll be surprised at how many sustainable products are available on a mass-produced level as the demand for responsibly sourced materials is growing. Take a look at each piece of your project before you get started – you may find that when you look at the project as a whole, it can be sourced more sustainably than you realised.
Maybe savings could be made in some elements which could subsidise other products which you couldn’t save on financially. When you see just how much you can source or build sustainably, it tends to have a knock-on effect ie if 75% of your project is sustainably managed, it’s tempting to see if you can manage the full 100% which you may not have been so inclined to do if you’d not looked at the bigger picture.
Use Locally Sourced Materials
Besides the added advantage of supporting your local community, using locally sourced materials seriously reduces the carbon footprint and environmental impact of product distribution. Using local sawmills, for instance, would significantly reduce the emissions and pollution of the transportation process, local timber companies often have clear policies on plantation and felling operations and you’re keeping your local economy in employment.
This will be the case for many local businesses so it’s well worth looking into using wherever you can – all of this is in addition to not causing any detrimental impact of mass-produced and heavily transported products makes you one heck of a local eco-warrior!
Beg, Borrow and Steal
Well maybe not actually steal but you know what we mean. The amount of tools sitting dormant in people’s homes is phenomenal so if your project is going to be a one-off, it’s worth seeing if you can borrow the tools for it. The scale of the material, air pollution and water used to produce tools are significant, so if everyone shared their tools more often, this too would make a difference.
It’s also much easier to ask friends and family to borrow tools on account of sustainability rather than because you don’t want to fork out on a new kit. You’ll be respected for your choices and you may find that people are more inclined to help further – maybe they have unused materials they could donate too – you never know just what a community of like-minded people could muster up with a rummage or two. If you have a close-knit community, you could even set up a ‘tool pool’ between you where you all openly share your tools for your respective projects.
Recycle and Upcycle
When you think that plastic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill and some products don’t decompose at all, it makes total sense to recycle. Even more natural products such as wood can use a significant amount of resources when creating new products, so upcycling existing furniture or items is by far the most sustainable option.
A little creativity, or some research if that isn’t your forte, can totally transform your original look and it can become quite addictive too if you’re really enjoying yourself. You can even make it more of a family story if you’re keeping well-loved items of furniture in the family for generations!
Use Quantity Calculators To Reduce Wastage
It’s very easy to overestimate what you think you’ll need for your project and many suppliers have online calculators or experts on their team to very accurately estimate your quantity needs. Make sure you return or donate unused products or materials too rather than their production have been for nothing.
If your DIY projects are taking you outside too, you’ll be pleased to know sustainability has always been high on our agenda. There’s a reason we’re called Ecoscape you know! We are proud to offer one of the largest catalogues of long-lasting low maintenance composite decking and sustainable composite materials in the UK. Our range includes durable, attractive and reliable decking and cladding which are all FSC® Certified.
Every single board uses reclaimed timber, recycled HDPE and environmentally stable bonding agents and dyes and our decision to use recycled materials helps aid in the battle to reduce not only landfill but the severity of our carbon footprint to FSC® requirements.
Our products will help you create a stunning setting in your own safe space without stripping any natural beauty from our environment. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about our range.