You know that eco-consciousness is important, but sometimes how we ought to help isn’t always clear. Here are 10 quick tips that are going to help you be more green at home!
1. Shop for sustainable paper products. 2 million trees would be saved every year if every American bought one package of recycled paper toilet tissue instead of the usual virgin paper brands, according to Seventh Generation, a paper company that is changing the world. Look for recycled, post-consumer and sustainably harvested paper goods.
2. Use natural cleaning products. Did you know that you can keep your house clean without chemicals? And you don’t even have to look farther than your own pantry. Chemical cleaners find their way into our waterways, affecting vital ecosystems and requiring costly cleaning efforts and can easily be replaced by things like baking soda, borax and lemon. Click here for more information.
3. Change your appliances. Next time you are out shopping for appliances, go for the ‘low energy’ alternatives. Not only will you help the environment, but your electricity bill will go down; win win!
4. Use eco lightbulbs. Opt for efficient alternatives in your lightbulbs to help the environment and cut back on your energy bills as well.
5. Dispose of waste properly. Got an old computer to toss out, dead batteries or dangerous chemicals to dispose of? Don’t toss them in your garbage, yard or even leave them in your garage; these dangerous items can leak into storm drains and gardens and cause serious damage, or else go to waste if not recycled or broken down properly. Find out where to take each of these items in your local area for safe disposal.
6. Keep the old, bad stuff until it is used up. While it is tempting to run out to the store and start being green at home ASAP, keep in mind that you already have a bunch of things in your house that need to be used first. The best way to handle the transition to being more green is to stop buying the generic, mainstream brands and replace them gradually. Instead of throwing out all of your virgin paper products (double waste!) use them up and then replace them.
7. Stay on top of household repairs. Got a faulty fridge seal? or maybe leaf-clogged gutters? Staying on top of your household maintenance is not just for your partner, roommates and kids–it’s more green too. Repairs to your home and appliances can often improve your energy use, cutting back on your carbon footprint. Keeping things like gutters and drains clean regularly will mean that you won’t need to bring out the big (often chemical) guns later on down the line.
8. Replace plastics with reusables. Whenever possible, buy products that can be re-used. Instead of using plastic bags for lunches and leftovers, buy containers that can be washed and re-used over and over again. Glass and metal are usually better options than plastic containers. Also, make sure any containers you re-use are made for that purpose. Some plastics (like disposable water bottles) release carcinogenic chemicals if washed and re-used for too long.
9. Replace paper products with cloth. Replace paper towels and napkins with cloth hand towels and cloth napkins to save trees. Use old or torn cloths for household cleaning too.
10. Cancel your junk mail. This is one of the all-time best things you can do for the environment and it will make you happier too! Call up the companies that keep sending you junk mail and tell them to remove you from their mailing lists. You can go the extra mile and request electronic subscriptions or notifications for your medical and business mail as well as for magazine subscriptions.