In the UK, 1% of the population identify as vegan and this January, over 168,000 people signed up to give eating plant based a go for a month. To eat in a completely vegan way, you have to remove honey, meat, fish, dairy and eggs from your diet, including any derivatives like lactose or gelatine.
If you have taken part, you’ve likely very much enjoyed all of the incredible new vegan offerings from Waitrose and Sainsburys. You have wondered at the huge new range of vegan ready meals from Plant Kitchen at M&S and the seemingly endless dairy free milk options (who knew you could milk a cashew?!). You may have even tried 1 (or 50) of those controversial (and equally delicious) vegan pastry treats on offer from sausage roll king Greggs. But if you’ve read up on what vegan really means, you may realise that delicious vegan food, does not a vegan make….
You see, eating plant based is a great thing for the planet, animals and your health. But it is only plant based eating and not veganism, because veganism is a complete lifestyle. According to the Vegan Society:
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
So, no leather, no wool, no makeup tested on animals – you get the idea. Quite tricky as a change, and because of that, of course, this is often the next gradual step after people try the vegan diet out.Everyone’s journey is unique and individual and some people want the flexibility of mixing and matching ‘doing their bit’.
In the meantime though,whilst you figure out if you want to be flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan, freegan or even eggan (yes, it’s a thing!) it can still be a really great idea to think about how you can make your home more vegan, or at least more vegan than filling it full of Greggs vegan sausage rolls (although, that still sounds pretty great, can we come round please?). Because veganism is actually fantastic for the environment for lots and lots of reasons,but rather than us tell you all about them, you can find them in this recent Independent article titled “Veganism is the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact on the environment“.
In the meantime, we are going to help you make your home more vegan, because whilst you’re thanking your clothes along with Marie Kondo on Netflix, you may as well give your sacred space a little plant based refurb at the same time right?
Here are our top tips for making your home vegan:
Ditch The Animal Products
If you care about animals, you probably won’t want to use their skin or byproducts in your home anyway. Suede, leather, wool, fur and silk all have a cost to the environment too, not to mention a higher price upfront. Opt for synthetics or natural materials with your sofas, curtains and furnishings. They are cheaper, better for the animals, for the environment, your wallet and easier to maintain and clean too!
Cut Down On Plastic Consumption
Everything from opting for plastic-free, recyclable products to ensuring the plastic you do consume is able to be recycled will help you to cut down on plastic consumption in the home. Although to be vegan you don’t have to avoid plastic, most vegans at least try because it is absolutely destroying the earth and the environment humans and animals live in. It is thought there are currently 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans, and that amount is constantly being added to as we create and throw away plastic. A great start is to actually continue as you are but noticing everything that is plastic in your home and in your regular shopping. Once you notice, you will see plenty of easy room for improvement. You can find easy tips on reducing your plastic consumption here:
Use Eco-Friendly/ Vegan Cleaning Products
Tesco sells a range of own-brand vegan, eco-friendly cleaning products that are incredibly cheap and effective. There are also big, eco-friendly brands available in supermarkets, and in natural supermarkets and shops along with refillable options too. This enables you to cut down on toxic chemical use in the home, using products that are better for the animals and the environment, usually for much less. Alternatively look into totally natural cleaning solutions using basic ingredients like baking soda and vinegar.
Upcycle/ Gift/ Reuse
The amount that we consume as a population is frightening, and unfortunately, the more that gets thrown away the more that goes into landfill. Landfill is bad for everyone as items can rot and leak into the environment, and the land being used gets bigger and bigger, taking up space where people and animals could be living and cultivating natural food. Try to upcycle, gift or reuse items you might otherwise throw away. Try to appreciate what you do have too, to encourage a more minimalist way of living, which is better for the planet and you. Checkout Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things on Netflix to help you get an idea how why and how less is definitely more.
Design A Vegan Home You Love
The key to staying vegan is all about educating yourself as to why it is beneficial to your health, the animals and the planet. The more you know, the more reasons you have to abstain from meat, dairy and animal products. The same can be applied to having a ‘vegan’ home. A gorgeous leather sofa on offer isn’t going to stop looking irresistible unless you truly agree with why it isn’t something you want to support. The brand name cleaning products available everywhere are going to feel like the best option because they are the most convenient, unless you understand why making the extra effort to source vegan-friendly, eco-friendly products is worthwhile. Of course you have to only make the effort you want to make as doing it all without really understanding how you feel about it will leave you resentful.
The best thing to do is to design a vegan home you love. Checkout eco-friendly home design ideas, look into which products are affordable and convenient for you, and workout how far you want to go in your quest to be vegan friendly. With the right research and time spent thinking about how much effort you feel you can make, you can have a home that you love that ‘does its bit’ for the animals and the planet.
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style – Maya Angelou
Veganism isn’t about perfection, it is just about doing what you can. So do have fun with your vegan home transformation and only go as far as you feel you can right now. At the very least you’ll learn a few things about what is out there, and at the most you will cultivate a healthier, more eco-friendly, animal-friendly home that you love.