It Starts at Home: How to Have an Eco-Friendly Household
Making a commitment to going green is both a noble and impactful decision. A 2017 study showed that one in five Americans actively tries to live by means that help the environment on a day to day basis, but what does that entail? The biggest way you can go green is by starting in your own home and seeing how you can optimize every room to be more eco-friendly. A whole house revamp can be daunting, which is why we’re giving you tips to feel comfortable and confident living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
On average, we throw away around 40% of groceries annually. A large reason for this is people strictly follow expiration dates, thinking the food product is tainted if it’s past the label date. “Best before” labels are often misinterpreted, when in reality they’re a means of grocery stores regulating products quickly to ensure they’re sold. If your food isn't moldy or doesn’t smell bad, it’s probably still good well after the sell date. If you do find yourself with leftovers that need to be tossed, make an in-kitchen compost bin. Composting will not only cut down on your food waste going into landfills but is great fertilizer for a garden too! Be sure to also keep track of the items you’re purchasing that usually inhabit your kitchen. That package of plastic water bottles you buy every week? Ditch them for the more eco-friendly option of a portable, easily stored, reusable water bottle.
Another way to be more green in the kitchen is to use cleaning products that are naturally-derived and non-toxic for the environment. Hundreds of chemicals are found in cleaning supplies, leaving harmful chemical residues that can affect your family and pets. Envirox is a great resource that identifies and explains different green certifications on cleaning products so you can purchase the safest products.
While baths may seem like a better way to conserve water, in reality they can use almost double the amount compared to a shower. Taking short showers is always better, and installing a low-flow showerhead will reduce the amount of water you’re using by half. If you have the money, getting an efficient water heater will also cut down on your home’s energy costs.
Adding a small recycling bin to your bathroom will help you remember to properly dispose of plastic bottles after your morning routine. However, buying bathroom products that have no plastic packaging such as shampoo bars is a great alternative to liquid bottles, and usually, last longer too!
The average American throws away about 81 pounds of clothing every year. Hard to believe, but with the influx of fast-fashion, consumer textile waste rose by 40% just between 1999 to 2009. Retailers use cheaper materials to push out clothes, giving items a shorter lifespan. One way to be more green in the bedroom is to regularly clean out your closet and recycle things you don’t wear. It’s a great way to declutter while combating textile waste. Donation centers and thrift stores will take unwanted clothes off your plate and you can even make some money off the stuff you don’t use anymore. There is even an online consignment company that accepts gently used clothing from over 35,000 brands. This is a quick and easy way to make money while extending the lifespan of your unwanted clothing. If you’re looking to add some new furniture to your room, consider buying used. Every new piece of furniture puts a strain on the environment with the materials used to create it. Scoping out a vintage chair will not only save you money but also provide a unique addition to your space. Buy and sell used furniture online, there is no shortage in variety!
Commercial fertilizers and pesticides contain unnecessary chemicals that can be harmful to your health and also pollute the soil in your yard and groundwater. Instead, use composted waste for a backyard garden to grow your own food. You’ll have fresh produce for dinner, which will save you money as well as give you peace of mind knowing where your food came from. Growing native plants will supplement an environment for birds, butterflies and other beneficial wildlife local to your area as well!
Solar powered lighting has a lower operating cost and overall are more energy efficient than traditional home energy sources. Installing solar powered outdoor lighting is virtually maintenance free, meaning you won’t have to put in new batteries every month. You can find solar powered lights at most home and hardware stores, which will make your backyard area feel cozy at night.
Even utilizing a few of the tips mentioned above can go a long way, there are always things we can be doing to be more earth conscious. Finding ways to implement green tactics into our home is the starting point in influencing our families and those around us to keep our planet in the forefront when it comes to sustainability!