Posted on January 15th, 2021
Living green is a great decision. It is easy to begin small and start incorporating green activities into your daily living routine. Of course, people know that they can begin to recycle, but do you know what else you can do to live greener at home? Here are ten tips that you can use at home to live greener.
1. Energy Efficiency
Check your home’s insulation, doors, and windows for flaws. Cracked windows, compromised seals, and degraded insulation can cause your energy usage to go up. If you are using non-renewable energy from most local power companies, you could be causing more damage to the environment. Old appliances may also be contributing, so do a quick check to make sure that your home is efficiently using energy.
2. Minimize Paper Usage and Single-Use Plastics
While you do not have to completely eliminate toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues, consider changing over to reusables when possible. Handkerchiefs are making a comeback. However, you do not have to walk around like you are in nineteenth-century New England. You can simply use some rags instead of paper towels or cleaning cloths rather than disposable bleach wipes. Use electronic note-taking apps and calendars when possible as well.
Instead of buying bottled water, use a whole house filter with reverse osmosis filter and fill a reusable bottle every day. You can get great-tasting water at home. Rather than buying convenience foods, make your own. Even zip-top bags are now available in reusable forms. Make your own, or buy some reusables and keep from using the disposable ones so often.
3. Make Your Cleaning Supplies
Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and other natural products can easily be used to clean your home. Before the invention of so many commercial products, there were fewer chemicals involved in cleaning. Vinegar disinfects just as well as many commercial cleaners and better than some. If it is too strong smelling, add some lemon or essential oils to cut the smell. Sometimes good, old-fashioned hot water can do the job. Microwaves get splatters often. Microwave some water (put a wooden skewer or spoon in the glass, and wipe out the microwave. The steam helps release stuck on ick.
4. Turn Off the Lights and Water
Turn off the lights when there is plenty of sunlight coming in the windows. Additionally, turning off lights in empty rooms will save energy as well. Speaking of lights, switch any light bulbs to LED bulbs. You will pay more initially, but you will have less waste and spend less on lightbulbs over the life of the bulb. That is a win-win.
While you probably don’t leave the water running all the time, turn it off while brushing your teeth and take quicker showers and shallower baths. Don’t wash your car unless absolutely necessary, and even then, minimize water usage. Using cold water to wash clothes also conserves energy.
5. Minimize Automobile Use
While you may not live close enough to work to walk, but carpooling or rideshares can also cut down on automobile usage. If you live close enough to the grocery store or convenience store, consider walking when you need small things. If you must drive to get everywhere, try to park in central locations in town and walk to several shops at once instead of driving between them. Make fewer trips per week when possible. Work from home a few days a week if your job allows.
6. Take Your Bags to the Store
Many stores offer discounts or perks for bringing your own bags, and others require them. Taking reusable bags to the store cuts down on single-use plastics, and it minimizes the number of paper bags as well. Additionally, you use fewer bags by taking reusable grocery bags, typically because they hold more.
7. Plant a Garden
Save time, money, gas, and the environment by planting a garden—no more last-minute runs to the store for a tomato in the middle of cooking dinner. You can plant a garden with the veggies your family uses often. Many of them can be frozen or canned for later use if they overproduce. Homegrown vegetables also taste better than those grown on a farm hundreds of miles away. Pick up a gardening guide and start with herbs if you are worried. Indoor plants can also improve the air quality in your home.
8. Minimize Food Waste
Some parts of the food are just going to be wasted. You can’t really save old meat or bones (after making bone broth), but you can compost fruits, veggies, and other materials like eggshells, paper, and cardboard. Create a compost pile to nourish your garden. Plant seeds from the oranges you eat or make potpourri from dried peels.
Not everything has to be recycled. Some things can be used to create new things. Get crafty with old bottles, jars, boxes, bags, or clothes. Make cleaning cloths out of old burp cloths, paint jars for pencil holders, turn wine corks into works of art—Upcycle reusable products.
10. Get Rid of Unwanted Items
Instead of trashing unwanted clothing, kitchen, or household goods, give them away. Sometimes we get tired of things or realize that we do not use them. When this happens, we often just trash them. Rather than merely throwing them away, sell them on Facebook Marketplace or Letgo. If you just want to get rid of it, consider freecycling websites.
Don’t feel like you have to go overboard doing drastic things to live greener. You can also take small steps at home like taking care of needed home repairs, switching to cloth, and drinking water from home are all simple steps you can take to minimize your carbon footprint. If you have small children, get them involved in your greener living as well. Take it one energy-efficient step at a time.