By Sam Radbil
Once upon a time everyone lived an eco-friendly life; fast forward many generations and we realize there are easy things to do to be kinder to our environment. Take a quick look at these seven tips to help you get started.
Use Less Energy
One simple way to begin your eco-friendly journey is to be mindful of the environment in your home. When you leave for work, turn the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter. There is no need to supply extra warmth for your furniture because it does not care. It takes minutes for the temperature to adjust once you get home. If you have a sunny home, install blinds or drapery to moderate the effects of the sun.
Change Your Lightbulbs
Incandescent or fluorescent bulbs may be cheaper, but your ROI with LEDs can be huge. A single LED can last 25 years and is 60-75% more efficient. But wait, there is more! LED lighting can reduce eye strain, headaches associated with poor lighting and LEDs contain no mercury, so disposal is less harmful to the planet. LED bulbs are available in almost any shape and color and do not produce heat when left on for long periods of time. That means no housefire when Fluffy and Fido play chase when you are at work.
Green is Good
Whether you live in a small Chicago apartment in trendy Lincoln Park or a huge penthouse in New York City, the addition of houseplants is an easy way to clean the air in your home and add a design element at the same time. When NASA conducted a study of houseplants and their effect on air quality, the conclusion was that plants really do help detoxify air. Green plants trap chemicals like ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde, which are commonly found in building materials and flooring. Plus, it is easy to grow fresh herbs on a windowsill.
If you are installing new flooring consider the use of sustainable products like cork, bamboo, or linoleum. Natural linoleum is a bio-based, durable, anti-microbial product that is easy to care for and long lasting. Bedding, towels, and clothing are also available as sustainable materials. Bamboo sheets are lightweight, soft and have a thermal regulation effect on your sleep.
Many common cleaners have seriously dangerous–think deadly–results if combined. Never mix cleaners that contain chlorine and ammonia, no matter how dirty your toilet is. Household cleaning supplies are one of the top five reasons for calls made to the National Poison Control Center. You can purchase sustainable cleaning products at grocery stores, big box stores and online. You can even make your own with recipes available at places like Small Footprint Family.
Is It Trash?
It is possible to reduce the amount of trash we commit to landfills by being thoughtful about our purchases. Become a thrift/second-hand store shopper. Furniture, baskets, accessories, and other hard furnishings are easy to rejuvenate with a little paint or cleaning. Your purchase keeps these items from the trash heap and you often end up with a better-quality piece.
Shopping and Re-using Stuff
When you head out to the grocery store, bring your own re-usable bags. It is a simple way to make less garbage. These bags are available at Ikea for 99 cents each. They are strong, reusable, lightweight, washable, and made from recycled polyester. When you have finished a jar of sauce, wash and dry the glass bottle and lid and use it to store dry foods like popcorn kernels. Or use clean jars to hold pens. Remember, reuse as much as you can.
It really does make a difference if we all become more mindful of our consumption and waste. We can keep the landfills less full, the water less polluted, and our bodies healthier. It is a no-brainer!