Living in such close proximity to nature subconsciously prompts you to be more respectful of the environment. So, it’s little wonder residents of canal boats leave a far smaller carbon footprint than land-dwellers. Here’s how to keep being eco-friendly on a canal boat with some top lifestyle tips.
1. Save Power
Turning off lights, using minimal hot water and monitoring electricity are even more important when living on board a canal boat. You don’t have an endless supply, so be mindful of how much you’re using.
2. Ditch the Car
If you don’t have a permanent mooring, think about whether you really need a car. They’re impractical when you’re on the move because one of you has to drive while the other captains the boat, so invest in a folding bike instead and use trains and buses when you have further to travel.
3. Warm Layers
Do you feel the cold on a boat? Make sure you have plenty of thick blankets to hand and stock up on hot water bottles during winter months – nothing warms up a bed like a few hot water bottles tucked under thick covers!
4. Plan Your Meals
When cooking, make a big batch and freeze smaller portions. A fuller freezer uses less energy and you’ll have saved energy by cooking food in bulk.
5. Forage on the Move
It’s actually possible to find some food on inland waterways. Lots of waterways and the land that surrounds them contain watercress, herbs, cherries, berries and apples. Wild fruit and herbs don’t come with plastic supermarket packaging, plus they’re as fresh as can be. Win-win!
6. Clean Naturally
Eco-friendly cleaning products are a must. Look for brands that don’t contain harmful chemicals or, alternatively, consider making your own. Bicarbonate of soda is pretty much a magical ingredient: sprinkle it down the sink to banish smells, mix with vinegar and water for an effective glass cleaner, or use with a little warm water as a DIY shampoo. Lemon juice with table salt cleans brass beautifully too. See, who needs the cleaning aisle?
7. Get Closer to Nature
Having a few plants on board can lift your mood, but there is an environmental upside too. Wild flowers and plants provide a sanctuary for bees and insects.
8. Recycle Clothes
Forget cheap, disposable dish cloths. Instead, why not make your own? Rip an old t-shirt into pieces, then boil the improvised cloths when they need a clean and re-use them.
9. Think Solar
Use rechargeable batteries as much as possible and think about buying a solar-powered energy charger. These generate energy from daylight, so simply leave them on deck on a sunny day for a free phone charge.