Living a more eco friendly lifestyle has come into vogue in the last decade. With our country and the world facing many environmental issues ranging from global warming to increased water shortages, people are beginning to realize the full impact of our daily actions on the environment, and ultimately, our lives. If you are among those who desire a greener lifestyle, then this article is for you. We’re getting down to basics, with the five keys to making your home more eco friendly.
1. Conserve energy.
Energy conservation is one of the most basic forms of going green. We use energy in so many different ways, from turning on lights in our home to driving our gas-burning automobiles. Energy savings can also come in multiple forms. It can be as simple as hanging your clothes out on a clothesline to dry instead of using a gas or electric dryer. Other simple options include opening your window shades to let more light in, so you need less artificial light. Switching to compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent can also make a difference. Saving energy with your car is as simple as buying a vehicle that uses less gas, or simply driving your car less. Taking your bicycle to the grocery store or to work is not only a good way to save energy, but it’s a great workout as well.
2. Conserve water.
American households consume more water annually than any other developed nation in the world. There are many ways to save water, but a few quick and easy ones include turning off the water while you wash in the shower or brush your teeth, using an automatic dishwasher instead of hand-washing dishes, and installing low flow showerheads and faucets in your home. If you have a little more money to spend and you really want to go green, consider replacing your traditional flush toilets with waterless composting toilets. Not only do these fixtures save thousands of gallons of water each year, but they also produce clean, dry compost that can be used on your garden as an invaluable plant fertilizer.
3. Create less garbage.
It’s easy to toss things in the trash and not think about them again, but it’s important to remember that everything we throw in our garbage has to go someplace. That place is a landfill, where the items may take centuries to decompose, and in that process, will create many tons of methane gas, which in turn depletes our ozone layer. Creating less garbage is as simple as buying products with less packaging. For example, instead of buying potato chips in small individual-size bags, buy one large bag of chips and then pack individual servings in reusable plastic containers. A few more ideas for creating less garbage are detailed in our next two steps.
4. Buy used.
Anytime you can avoid buying a new product and instead buy something that’s slightly used, you will not only save money, but you’ll do the environment a favor as well. If no one buys used items, then those things get tossed into the garbage. Furthermore, if we all buy new products, then a lot of energy goes into the production, packaging, and transportation of all those new goods. Check out sites like Craigslist or eBay for lots of great used alternatives to new products.
Millions of tons of garbage that go into our landfills every year could be recycled instead of thrown out. Recycling goes much farther than just paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. Today, there are recycling options for almost everything. Food scraps can be composted in backyard compost bins to create free plant fertilizer. Old computers, batteries, cell phones, and other electronics can all be recycled. A simple internet search will also reveal companies and locations where you can recycle a whole host of other products, everything from Christmas lights to printer ink cartridges and old, worn out clothing.