Here’s a domestic sustainability post from Australian writer Emma Joyce.
In a world that’s been ignoring the principles of healthy living for decades now, making a difference, no matter how small it seems at first, is of the utmost importance. Shifting the paradigm and changing the perspective about eco-friendliness is something we all must do if we want to continue on living carefree in the decades before us, but also if we want to leave a better world to our children. And, just like in all problematic situations, the best way out is, following the words of Robert Frost, “always through” – in other words, the only way to make a difference is to actually do something positive for our environment. The only thing you can do is start small and make a change in your immediate surroundings and turn your home into an eco-friendly heaven that’s going to set a great example for all your friends and neighbors who might become inspired and do the same in their own homes. However, creating an eco-friendly heaven is neither easy nor cheap, and you’ll have to invest a considerable amount of your money, time and effort into it. In order to do so in a more successful and sustainable manner, here are a few tips that might help you through the process.
Eco-friendly home decorations
Furnishing and decorating your home in an eco-friendly way is probably the most sensible and the absolutely easiest way to make it cozier and more appealing. And, luckily, if you decide to take that step, you won’t have to invest too much time or money in order to make a visible and palpable change. Only a handful of carefully selected pieces will transform your home into something that you and every one of your visitors will enjoy and appreciate.
When furnishing and decorating your home, be sure to start with small items – repurpose an old closet, reupholster an old chair or turn old kitchen doors into material for a new kitchen cabinet. These DIY projects won’t take more than a couple of hours, yet will add some class to your home. Moreover, they’ll showcase your level of eco-friendliness, appreciation of the nature and understanding of the way sustainability works. Although it often seems unusable and ready for the trash, repurposed furniture can be transformed into amazing décor and you can use it over and over again.
Speaking of furnishing and decorating your home, there’s no point in searching for eco-friendly ideas unless you’re going to use eco-friendly materials to turn those ideas into reality. And there are two ways to do so – by choosing recycled building materials to add a new dose of sustainability to your home heaven, or by simply using certain decorations that are already made from eco-friendly resources and ready to make your home greener than it’s ever been.
The first idea sounds complex and hard to manage, but all you need to do is visit a junkyard in your area and look for usable building material. Anything made from wood, glass, stone and marble can be reused again and again, and this way you’ll not only save a considerable amount of money if you’re building your home from scratch, but also make it more sustainable and eco-friendly. Furthermore, this decision will make your place more unique and interesting – just imagine living in a house built entirely out of used high-quality timber and marble! On the other hand, decorations made from eco-friendly materials are now more popular than ever and you can easily find it anywhere you look, from online shops to your local flea market. Of course, picking something that’s already been used minimizes the need for new raw resources, but opting for a new decorating piece made from organic cotton, bamboo, leather, jute, rattan or willow is always amazing. Often enough, just a humble jute rug makes all the difference and adds a touch of elegance to your home.
Eco-friendly foods and drinks
The concept of eco-friendly eating might sound just a little bit too much for some people who are unaware of the potentials offered by a simple switch from commercial to home-grown ingredients. Naturally, you don’t have to produce everything you eat on your own, but taking a step in this direction will benefit your body and your budget, as well as your neighborhood. Planting a small edible garden, for instance, and growing your own vegetables and herbs is something most people can’t imagine doing, but they fall in love with it the second it starts bearing fruit. This way, you can have a constant supply of fresh tomatoes, potatoes and lettuce, but also control air pollution around your home and elevate air quality.
The same eco-friendly logic can be applied to your water consumption as well – if you put your mind to it, you’ll certainly be able to find a way to spend less money and get more quality water that will keep your body running all day long. Investigating natural springs and wells in your area might get you on a path towards an indefinite supply of water and instead of purchasing water in plastic bottles or relying on tap water of suspicious quality, you can be drinking healthy and fresh water day after day. Finally, looking for ground water and investing in a pumping system will also bring you closer to an endless supply of high-quality water that minimizes your need for plastic bottles that cost a lot and endanger our planet.
Eco-friendly electricity consumption
This could be the area for all those environmentally-aware individuals out there – practicing your eco-friendly skills in smart electricity consumption might be the best way to show how green you really are and make the biggest difference. With so many electrical devices all around your home, you can literally choose which ones you wish to focus on and then do your best to save as much energy as possible. First, start small by switching to LED light bulbs and turning your lights off every time you leave the room or don’t need it any more – this way, you can save a ton of energy and a considerable amount of money on your monthly bills. If you’re a forgetful person, don’t worry: motion sensor detectors can do this for you and regulate your power usage even when you forget to do that.
After you’ve accepted this tiny eco-friendly habit that goes a long way, you can take the next step and start unplugging electrical appliances all around your home. Some of the devices that save you the most money are desktop computers, lamps, coffee makers and cordless phones, so start by focusing on these first. Ultimately, think about temperature regulation, too – you can save a ton of money and energy by fine-tuning your freezer, fridge and air conditioning system – as well as more efficient use of your appliances: turning on your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer before you get a full load is never acceptable and absolutely not eco-friendly.
All of these ideas will ultimately have two results – first you’re going to build an eco-friendly heaven in your own home and then you’ll acquire a number of eco-friendly habits that will turn your life around in the years to come. You’ll learn that you don’t need that many things to begin with, but also find out how to declutter your closets, donate your clothes and shop in an eco-friendly way. Once you start picking home-grown natural ingredients over artificial and unhealthy ones, you’ll know you’re on the right road. Some of the other ways to make your home even greener include opting for “zero-VOC” paint, keeping your windows wide open or installing an air purifier, using only natural cleaning products, asking your guests not to smoke and adding a plant or two to every room of your home.
Emma Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. You can find her on twitter here or facebook here.