10 Zero-Waste Home Ideas

When broken down into simple steps, zero-waste alternatives at home are easier that we may initially imagine. Take the inspiring example of Bea Johnson and her family who produce not even a jar of waste per year. A stance against needless waste is not only essential for sustainability purposes, it also enables us to save money while inviting us to lead a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. You may be wondering how a zero-waste home is even possible, and you are not alone (FYI I am far from setting up a zero-waste home). The good news is that there are many small steps we can take at home to reduce our accumulation of needless waste. Here are some simple, non-time-consuming ideas that can contribute and inspire you to have a more zero-waste home lifestyle.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

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Compostable Brushes and Sponges

How many washing up sponges and scourers have we thrown away over the years? I dread to think! Not only are they used to wash up, but they are also commonly used for cleaning the bathroom. In most cases, the typical supermarket sponges are neither recyclable nor biodegradable. This means that their carbon footprint is huge and that they will unsustainably accumulate in landfills for years. Thankfully, innovative options exist. Firstly, there are compostable, wooden brushes that are durable, effective and compostable for when they are no longer useable. Another compostable option is the 100% plant-based loofa sponge. This is perfect for washing up, and it’s soft enough to clean surfaces and windows. Always check that it’s compostable before you invest in the product.

Homemade Cleaning Product

According to zero-waste activist Lauren Singer, we can actually make an incredibly efficient, versatile cleaning product with just three simple ingredients – yes, you heard right! Not only are many chemical cleaning products toxic to humans, they also have a detrimental effect on the environment due to their volatile organic compounds. Organic and natural products are on the market, but why not make your own? Literally all you need is water, distilled white vinegar and optional scented essential oil. Check out Lauren’s homemade non-toxic cleaner here that’s perfect for surfaces, windows, sinks, and tiles. The vinegar kills the bacteria and can even remove any tough stains, though it’s not recommended on marble or granite.

Bar Dish Soap

Shampoo and soap bars are well-known eco-friendly options, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the bar dish soap. Say goodbye to fairy liquid, as its solid counterpart is an eco-friendly, zero-waste alternative. Shop for a natural, chemical-free bar with zero packaging. Here’s a 100% natural, compostable version courtesy of Package Free Shop.

soaps with shaving brush near vase on wooden table
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Composting

Some food waste is inevitable. Think banana skins, egg shells, fruit peels, and tea bags. Did you know that most of our food waste ends up rotting in landfill sites, consequently releasing a damaging greenhouse gas called methane? If you live in an area that has a local food waste collection service, take advantage of that. Invest in a small food bin and some fully compostable bin liners to facilitate the process. You could consider composting at home, here you can find out the ins and outs of how to compost.

Aloe Vera Conditioning

Aloe Vera is a plant that’s worth investing in. It has anti-inflammatory, cooling properties which makes it an ideal moisturiser, after-sun and can even boost the time a wound like a cut or burn takes to heal. Additionally, its enzymes help repair dead skin cells on the scalp keeping dandruff at bay, while it is also able to condition and revitalise hair much like it can the skin.  In fact, there are numerous benefits to natural, chemical-free beauty and personal hygiene products including our own health and, of course, the planet’s eco-system. Check out this short YouTube video for a step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade leave-in conditioner with just aloe vera and oil.

DIY Toothpaste

Toothpaste tends to come in a plastic tube that, for the most part, just gets chucked away. They also contain chemicals that we naturally digest as we brush our teeth. Thankfully, we can make an organic, vegan toothpaste with just coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint oil. These natural ingredients are way better for the environment and, though it won’t taste amazing, it’s easy and effective. You can also opt for just baking soda mixed with water, its natural antibacterial and whitening properties make it an excellent natural substitute. However, it doesn’t contain fluoride which is known for its ability to prevent cavities so it’s not a feasible alternative for everyone.

Candles

Who doesn’t love candles for creating a peaceful ambience? The therapeutic flicker produces a sense of calm like no other. However, we could be more eco-friendly when investing in candles. For instance, buying natural candles made of plant-based wax or beeswax are a healthier option for the environment. Ensure that they’re free of petroleum, parabens and harmful synthetic fragrances which pollute the air. It’s also a great idea to buy package-free candles so free-standing candles or, failing that, candles that come in a recyclable or compostable container.

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Organic, Compostable Masks

OK, so you may not wear a mask at home, but given the current climate every home has at least one. The amount of waste the mask industry is producing is unthinkable. Masks have come to be an essential item for our safety. Luckily, there are innovative, efficient options on the market. Take this organic, double-layered cotton mask, in fact, the mask and its filters are 100% compostable at its end of life.

Plantable Pencil

This is, quite simply, an ingenious invention! Pencils are needed at school, university, in the office, and when do they not come in handy at home?! Once you’ve finished writing with these pencils, plant them and watch them grow into a plant or herb depending on the product. 

Waste Not Want Not

What does this even mean? It means that when we use resources carefully, we are never in need. Don’t throw away good food, instead use it up, freeze it or compost it. Don’t throw out perfectly good products in order to replace them, use them up first. These ideas are not to further encourage the purchasing of products, but rather to help make responsible decisions when you next run out of any of the above or are in search of a replacement. Invest in natural products and resources with no or little packaging. Running out of shampoo? Read up on the best eco-friendly options. Falling short on paper? Snap up some local recycled paper. Long story short, be resourceful and mindful of what goes into the trash. Every single thing that goes in the trash could be seen as inspiration for the next zero-waste idea.

The aim of this article is not to achieve a zero-waste home, but rather to help you work towards an eco-friendlier way of life one step at a time. Learn from others, find inspiration around you and be mindful of household waste. Every little conscious change counts for something. Let me know your favourite zero waste home suggestions in the comments below.

Green Living: 10 Tips for Simple Sustainability at Home

Sustainable living is governed by a lifestyle that aims to reduce a person’s environmental impact. When broken down into small steps, we have the power to make changes in many aspects of our day-to-day life. Though the journey to consuming mindfully and sustainable living may not happen overnight, by making some of these simple changes you can start reducing your environmental impact today. To make sustainable living more accessible, here are 10 simple tips to help you live greener.

Kettle Care

Any tea or coffee lovers out there? This one’s for you. By simply measuring out the water before boiling, whether that be in the mug itself or with the markings on the kettle, you will save energy. The UK actually uses more electricity on kettles than it does on ovens. Luckily the solution is simple, don’t overfill the kettle and regularly descale it to clean out the limescale. If it’s full of limescale it actually takes more energy to boil the same amount of water.

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Control Food Waste

Take a look at the fresh produce in your kitchen, particularly the fridge. In order to eliminate food waste, plan your meals around what’s available and prioritise food in order of sell-by date. If a perishable product is about to go off, for example bread or bananas, freeze it. Instead of throwing away any food that has already reached its expiry date, remove it from its packaging and place it in the food bin so it can be disposed of in an eco-friendly way.

Less Energy on Laundry

When it comes to washing your clothes, the most efficient way to save energy is by turning down the temperature on the washing machine. In fact, research confirms that washing at 30°C instead of 40°C reduces your energy consumption on average by 57% per cycle. The majority of the cycle’s energy goes on heating up the water, so by reducing the temperature less energy is consumed. Additional energy can also be saved by hanging fresh washing out to dry as opposed to using a machine dryer.

Washable Cloths

The idea of having a disposable tea towel seems absurd, yet that’s not quite the case with our cleaning cloths. By investing in washable cleaning cloths for cleaning and dusting your home, you are able to reduce household waste by washing rather than throwing away dirty cloths.

wooden hanger with towels and basket with bathroom products
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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

The next time you’re in need of a new cleaning product, opt for the eco-friendly options. Make a concerted effort to find local stores that stock these eco-friendly products as not all supermarkets will sell them. These products reap benefits as they don’t harm the environment. Additionally, by going green there will no longer be harmful chemicals absorbed into the skin or breathed in when cleaning. It’s a win-win purchase.

Ditch the Plastic

Fortunately, many governments have enforced laws to limit the use and sales of plastic. As of October 2020, regulations banned the sales of plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers in England. We, as individuals, can also promote conscious living by ditching plastic. Replace the one-use plastic bags at the store with reusable shopping bags like tote bags or the lifelong bags available at the check-out. Also, when looking for new beauty, hygiene or cleaning products, opt for the solid options like bar soaps and shampoos. Instead of investing in products that come in plastic packaging, look for ones with glass containers for sustainability purposes.

LED Lightbulbs

The next time you go shopping for a new lightbulb, get an LED bulb as opposed to the conventional fluorescent bulb. Though LED bulbs tend to be more expensive, they actually save money in the long run as they are more energy efficient. LED bulbs produce less waste than their fluorescent counterparts when producing light. One reason is because more energy is spent on producing light rather than heat.

black kettle beside condiment shakers and green fruits and plants on tray on brown wooden table
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Go Paperless

Paperless billing is particularly common nowadays. From household bills to banking, the majority of companies offer email billing rather than post paper billing to save on paper. It’s also a great way to make bills more accessible too. Many tasks like assignments and journaling can also be done virtually too. Also, a kindle is a great option for any book lovers.

Avoid Trends

When shopping, ask yourself will I use this a year from now or is it just a fad? Think about your potential purchases with the future in mind, especially fashion. Shop for timeless products and items of clothing that you fall in love with, disregarding the influence of current trends. Shop smart on your journey towards sustainability.

Recycle, Resell, Reuse

For all things paper, plastic and glass related, recycling is a sustainable option. In terms of clothing, objects, games, toys etc., these products can be resold on sites like Ebay, Facebook, or even donated to local charities and, in turn, given to a new home. For items that have had their fair share of wear and tear, get creative and see if they can be turned into something new. A good place to start could be turning an old t-shirt into a cleaning cloth, though YouTube is an amazing source of DIY inspiration.

“Cherish the natural world because you’re a part of it and you depend on it.” – Sir David Attenborough

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Conscious Living: Eco-Friendly UK Brands

Conscious living is definitely trending in 2020 and with Black Friday promotions, why not treat yourself to some sustainable purchases? Sustainable brands aim to ensure that products are manufactured in a way that has minimal undesirable environmental effects. So many incredible businesses are acknowledging the issue of climate change and adapting to support sustainability.  Here are some UK brands and businesses with long-term sustainability goals that are worth celebrating just in time for some Christmas shopping.

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Fashion

The fashion industry is reportedly the second most polluting after oil due to its rapid turnover in trends conceptualising disposable clothing. The greenhouse gas emissions the industry produces has a lot to do with the globalisation of the industry, with items designed, manufactured, and sold on a global scale. So it’s more important than ever to shop as sustainably and locally as possible with slow fashion in mind.

TALA, a UK brand specialising in active wear, has a sustainable and slow fashion focus. Its core values are sustainable styles with ethical manufacturing that don’t break the bank. For other eco-friendly ethical clothing brands, shop Wearth London. The platform features British manufacturers that use the best eco-friendly and cruelty-free materials with carbon neutral deliveries. In fact, they go further than fashion with the most beautiful gifts, jewellery, homeware and more. Be sure to check it out!

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Make-up, Beauty and Skincare

Recent years have seen a growing trend in beauty brands opting for zero waste, plastic-free beauty routines. The beauty industry is renowned for its surplus in packaging, producing 120 billion units per year. Consequently, these products pollute our planet’s waters, endangers species and have a detrimental impact on our planet. This is why natural, environmentally-friendly products made by UK brands are the way forward.

All Earth Mineral Cosmetics is an incredible UK mineral makeup brand. The natural products are all vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly. In addition, they offer completely plastic-free refill options. For beautiful sustainably-sourced skincare and beauty ranges, shop The Body Shop. The Body Shop strives to be as eco-friendly as possible working towards long-term sustainability goals. To name a few: zero waste packaging, fewer plastic, recycling schemes, refill stations and much more. Plus, their products have an array of enticing aromas that make your skin super soft.

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Gifts

Buying gifts is a part of the Christmas magic. What makes it even more magical is knowing that your purchases contribute to conscious living without exploiting animals or the environment. Let’s make this Christmas as green as possible by shopping UK brands and businesses.

Green Tulip is a UK business that specialises in ethical, eco-friendly gifts. Perfect for men, women and children, Green Tulip really has something for everyone with anything from kitchen gifts to ready-made gift sets. Protect The Planet is another inspiring UK retailer which specialises in environmentally-friendly gifts. Be sure to click on the made in the UK or recycled category for the most conscious choices. From eco office to green garden, it caters for all tastes.

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By shopping sustainably and looking a little further into the brands and businesses we invest in, we are one step closer to conscious living. Shop closer to home this Christmas and opt for brands that don’t cost the earth. What are your top UK eco-friendly brands?

Sustainable Beauty: Top 5 Eco-Friendly Beauty Products

The beauty industry is renowned for its use of plastic and excess waste. The constant supply of plastic bottles and disposables means that the beauty industry is, quite literally, costing the earth. Want to find out how to planet-proof your beauty cabinet and perhaps even save some money? Check out these top five incredible environmentally-friendly products to initiate small changes towards less plastic and waste. These planet-friendly alternatives are guaranteed to promote everyday sustainable living.

Soap Bar

Whatever happened to the retro bar of soap? Well, it was defeated by its rival: the plastic bottle. However, there are so many reasons why the soap bar should and will make a come-back. Firstly, a bar of soap tends to be packaged more efficiently avoiding single-use plastic. Secondly, a soap bar actually requires about 30% less water than when washing with liquid soap. So, cut back on wasteful plastic and opt for an eco-friendly soap bar to freshen up.

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 Make-Up Remover and Exfoliating Mitt

Nothing is more frustrating than cleansing away your make-up and impurities to find that you still leave residue on the towel, right? Those stains are a reminder that maybe our cleansing routine is not as effective as we may wish. By investing in a washcloth mitt, we can thoroughly cleanse away make-up while gently exfoliating excess dead skin off too. The magical mitt yields numerous benefits as it’s a zero-waste, washable, and reusable product. This makes it a great alternative to disposable make-up wipes and cotton wool pads. For make-up removal, washing off a face mask or exfoliating it really is a game-changer.

Biodegradable Skincare Capsules

How beautiful are these eco-friendly carbon-neutral skincare capsules?! These pre-dosed cleansers, moisturisers and skin treatments come cocooned in a completely biodegradable shell that magically melts away with hot water. Bolt Beauty have officially prioritised zero waste skincare that is also vegan and cruelty free. And to top it off, there is even a fully compostable bag option that the capsules come in.

Image Credits: https://sheerluxe.com/2020/10/23/skincare-capsules-what-they-are-how-use-them

Shampoo Bars

Solid shampoo bars give their liquid counterparts a run for their money. Not only do they last longer, but they are also more eco-friendly due to their lack of plastic and packaging. Their minimal impact on the environment means that it’s worth doing some research and testing out which shampoo bar works best for you. Check out Byrdie’s 2020 guide for the best shampoo bar for different hair types and tendencies.

The Safety Razor

How many non-recyclable disposable razors have you used over the years? I dread to think… Thankfully, the stainless steel safety razor is here to save the day. It’s appropriate for all of your shaving needs from head to toe, men and women included. Guarantee the longevity of the product by keeping it dry and away from chemical exposure. These reusable razors are plastic-free and long-lasting as the safety razor blades are indeed replaceable. When the blade becomes dull and/or rusty, replace the blade. You can store blades in a metal container for safety and recycle them at your nearest recycling facility.

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While the journey towards zero waste won’t happen over night, these alternatives will make everyday sustainable beauty a little easier. The purpose of these minimal and zero-waste products is to prevent filling up landfills, resulting in a more environmentally-friendly beauty regime. What are your recommended swaps towards zero waste beauty and personal hygiene?

Five Simple Ways to Help Save the Bees

Bees are at the heart of our food chain, providing us with fruits, vegetables, nuts and even the food that our cattle relies upon to eat, essentially saving us from global hunger. With the global decline in bees, it’s more important than ever that we help keep these magical creatures alive. Through looking at where bees flourish compared to where bees perish, we now know how to keep this sacred species healthy. Any outdoor space is an opportunity to help the bees, so get ready to work on your gardening skills in the backyard, terrace or, for those of you with neither – don’t worry, even window sills can be adapted to most of these solutions.

Firstly, What Kills Bees?

Before working out how to save them, let’s take a look at the reason behind the huge disappearance of bees. The top three killers are: agricultural chemicals, habitat destruction and pests and pathogens. Disease and death in bees, after lengthy research, was discovered to be a direct result of these human actions. Bee keepers and researchers have been working hard against this catastrophe for years. So the real question is, how can we prevent this from happening in our day-to-day lives?

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Five Simple Solutions to Save the Bees

  • Build a Bee Bath. It seems common to leave out a birdbath, but what happened to thinking about the bees? By leaving out a shallow container of water and filling it with natural resources like stones, pebbles or sticks the bees won’t drown as they can safely land on these surfaces to stay hydrated. This will not only enable them access to clean, fresh water, it will also encourage their return to the same spot in your outside area.
  • Grow Native Flowers For the Bees. Growing native plants and wildflowers is the best way to attract bees to your outdoor area because these pollinators have evolved with these native plants meaning they are adapted to the climate, local seasons and soils. Do your research or keep your eyes peeled for where the bees tend to congregate in your local area. If in doubt, here are some beautiful well-known flowers that do wonders for the bees: snowdrops, peonies, lavender, marigolds, and pansies.
  • Build a Herb Garden. Not only will the herbs enhance your culinary skills adding some vibrant flavours to your meals, they will also help the local bees thrive. Some common herbs include: chives, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano. These easy-to-grow herbs help you save money on your shopping bill whilst providing the bees with nutritious nectar and pollen throughout the year.
  • Keep a Wild Flower Meadow in Your Garden. Many bees are attracted to untended, weedy patches with access to water and mud. Did you know that bees can actually live underground? By providing them with this wild space, it enables the native bees to burrow or nest, plus it saves you some time when gardening!
  • Support Bee Businesses or Donate to a Hive. For skincare related products, invest in Burt’s Bees who create natural, sustainable products with profits aimed at expanding bee habitats – unbeelieveable! Got a sweet tooth? Treat yourself to some Haagen Dazs. Not only do they whip up some delicious ice cream, they also donate lots of money to pollinator research and education – bee guilt free when you get your next sweet treat. Bee Raw specialises in honey, tea and, beeautiful beeswax candles alongside aiding organisations like bee conservancies and local work and research as 1% of profits are donated to this cause. Aside from investing in amazing products, you may also choose to adopt a beehive in your local area by doing some online research, perks often include honey gifts as well as helping the bee experts do their best to save these beautiful creatures.

Best of luck on your bee saving journey. Here’s to a brighter future for the bees full of nectar, pollen and safe, pesticide-free habitats.

“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” – Albert Einstein.

8 Simple Ways to Help Save the Planet

Sustainability in day-to-day life is a great way to help save the planet and even save some money too. The key is to remember that it’s the little things that make a difference. So, here you are 8 simple ways to look after the planet because, let’s face it, the Earth is our home.

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swann.

Eat Less Meat

By replacing meat with plant-based alternatives, think lentils, beans, and plants, you can help save the planet by helping reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Vegetarian Society, the farming production process actually “totals 30% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.” Fortunately, there are also further benefits to a plant-based diet beyond sustainability purposes.

Avoid Palm Oil

In terms of sustainability, palm oil is a huge no-no. This is a result of the large-scale devastation of forests that the process of palm oil extraction entails. It’s the cause of widespread habitat loss for endangered species including rhinos, elephants, and orangutans.

Cycling

For short journeys, having a bike is a great way to travel sustainably. Having a bike is so much cheaper than going by car, it has zero emissions, and you will even burn some calories on the way.

Photo of cafe with bike
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Cook with the Lid on

Cooking with the lid on your pots and pans or even using a steam cooker is a great way to conserve energy. Covering your pots requires less cooking time which means you get your food quicker and help save energy, it’s a win-win situation!

Recycle oil

Just 1 litre of water poured down the kitchen sink can lead to up to 1000 litres of polluted water. By recycling cooking oil, we can help prevent severe environmental damage as well as that dreaded drain blockage. Recycled oil can actually be used to produce fuel or even fertilizer, so making that trip to the oil recycling point is definitely worthwhile.

Reusable Bottles

Did you know that a plastic bottle takes around 450 years to decompose? For this reason, it’s worth investing in a reusable drinking bottle. Not only does it save you money on buying bottled water, but it also prevents one-use-only plastic purchases.

Reusable glass bottles on a table
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Unplug Everything

Although turned off at the switch, all plugged-in devices actually consume some energy known as “standby” energy loss. So, do not be deceived by the fact that your device is turned off, it can still sneakily keep drawing power.

Support Green Businesses

Whether it be beauty brands, food-related, or even a local business, what better way to invest your money than knowing that you are helping save the planet through their sustainability? Look for eco-friendly brands and google the most sustainable businesses in your local area to get collaborating right away. Plus, this way you might avoid spending spree guilt!

I hope these simple ways to lead a more sustainable life have been of use to you. Comment below and let me know the most effective ways to be more environmentally friendly on a day-to-day basis!

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The Science-Backed Benefits of Houseplants

Plant deco is definitely trending in 2020. Thankfully, unlike other social trends, this one may last longer than most because of their science-backed benefits. It turns out houseplants are beneficial for our health, home and well-being.

photo of plants on white pot
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The Benefits of Interior Plants

Air Purifying Plants

If you have ever searched “purifying interior plants” on Google, you’ll know that there are an abundance of plants that do absolute wonders for your health and home. These plants have the ability to absorb the pollutants such as carbon dioxide in the air through their leaves and roots. These magic plants been proven to help eliminate harmful toxins in our homes caused by cleaning products, air fresheners, cosmetics and smoking. Some of the best air-purifying plants include: spider plants, dracaenas, bamboo, aloe vera, and peace lilies.

Reduced Stress Levels

Did you know that indoor plants can help you feel more comfortable and calm? Studies show that plants can reduce both physiological and psychological stress. Spending time around greenery does wonders for our health and well-being as they stave off stress and anxiety. What’s more, according to environmental health expert Danica-Lea Larcombe, “plants confer positive changes in in the brain’s electrical activity, muscle tension and heart activity.”

person arranging pot plant
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Aesthetically Pleasing Plant Decor

From tiny succulents to divine pot plants, there are so many to choose from. Whether it be to brighten up your living room or add some beach vibes to the bedroom, they’re a great way to jazz up interiors on a budget. When choosing a plant, bear in mind the sunlight, temperature and humidity of the room to ensure it will thrive. So hit up your local garden centre and invest in some green household additions.

green plant on white wooden table
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Plant deco is a definite 2020 interior design trend. Apart from their aesthetical beauty, they can also help our health, stress levels and homes. So, if plants bring you joy why not decorate your home in an ecological manner?