As the world around us continues to grow hotter and more dangerous due to the effects of climate change, many people are opting for more eco-friendly lifestyles. You’ve likely seen these types of people on social media. You know, those people who build beautiful homes using sustainable practices, adopt a zero-waste lifestyle, or minimize their lives to fit inside a home no bigger than a shipping container. While all of these practices are great for the environment, they’re just not realistic for a lot of people. The cool part about living a more sustainable life is that it’s more of a journey than a destination. Completely changing what you’ve come to accept as normal is not realistic and actually could be more wasteful in the long run. Instead, do your part for the environment by slowly building more sustainable practices into your daily life. This article takes the mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” a step further by giving you five inexpensive things you can start doing today to make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Swap your cleaning supplies for natural alternatives
Remember those Mr. Yuck stickers that were on the cleaning products in your house as a kid? That should be all the more convincing that you need to believe that typical household cleaners are dangerous. Just because we’ve come to accept certain things as household staples does not mean that they are safe for us or the environment. These products end up in our water supply, which is not only harmful to aquatic life, but it also requires more purification before the water is safe for us to use again. The crazy thing about typical household cleaning supplies is that most often, they’re not even necessary. Natural alternatives like vinegar, baking soda and citrus are just as effective and way better for the environment. So the next time you’re at the grocery store consider putting down the bleach and picking up the Borax.
2. Pay attention to your water
Once you’ve got a cleaner water supply, another easy step to a more sustainable life is to pay close attention to the water in your home. That small drip in the kitchen sink might seem insignificant, but over time that constant dripping can waste a substantial amount of water. Fixing any leaks in your home will save you water, which is not only great for the environment, but also great for your budget.
The other thing you can do is a bit more obvious, but just as important. Be conscious about your water usage. The simplest changes can make a huge impact on the sustainability of your home. Take shorter showers, don’t let the sink run when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving, and make an effort to use water more efficiently for things like cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning. These are all things that you’ve probably heard many times, but they’re repeated so often for a reason — because they work.
3. Use energy efficient lighting
This might seem silly and obvious, but swapping traditional light bulbs for more efficient CFL bulbs is one of the easiest ways to lessen your home’s environmental impact. CFL bulbs not only use less energy than traditional bulbs, but they also don’t need to be replaced as often, so you’ll save money. This quick fix is great for both the earth and your wallet.
4. Be conscious about your waste
A lot of people don’t realize just how much waste they can generate in one day, let alone one year. Luckily there are simple steps you can take to reduce your waste. The biggest thing to be aware of is the amount of packaging for the products that you buy. By opting for products with no/minimal packaging, you are lessening the amount of waste that will end up in landfills and other parts of the environment. So in short, use less. For products you do need, however, make an effort to buy products with minimal/no packaging, compostable packaging, or recyclable packaging. There are so many brands that are coming out with more sustainable options, so a more eco-friendly lifestyle is truly just a Google search away.
5. Consider switching your power to green energy
Not a lot of people know this, but one of the simplest ways to make your home more energy efficient is to simply switch the source of the energy that you use. Solar panels can be expensive and because of that cost, they’re often not a realistic option for most people. Several companies work with homeowners to help them make the switch to renewable energy. These companies work hand in hand with the energy supplier you already have to switch your energy source to green energy. Most of the time, there is no additional cost and your bill stays the same. This quick fix is better for you, your home, and of course, the earth.