Why is green living so important? It matters for the generations coming after us, including our children and their children. We want to preserve our ecosystem as part of being better stewards of our planet, because it’s the only one we have. Without doing so, we will live in a very different world within the next couple of decades.
With our ever-changing climate and call to go green though, often we don’t know where to start or what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint in a way that truly makes a difference. A great way to make an individual and family impact is to start with reducing the amount of carbon emitted from your home.
In addition to recycling and other community-based responses, you can make simple changes to your lifestyle and home-based practices that are good for the environment and ensure you know that you are making a difference. Use the following steps to create a greener household.
Step 1: Consider lighting alternatives
There are many ways to reduce energy consumption and improve your carbon footprint through lighting choices. There are options that make your home more green such as LEDs, and there are options to watch out for too.
And it’s not just the bulb that can be the issue – power adaptors are problematic because they draw energy from the wall all the time. Having eco-friendly lighting fixtures like the right kind of lamp makes a difference too.
Also consider using natural light as much as possible. It’s less expensive and natural light has been shown to improve your mood as well. Look for a house with floor to ceiling windows that allow for maximum light, keep your curtains and blinds open during the day, and consider installing skylights.
Step 2: Reduce water usage
Reducing water usage is a combined effort in multiple rooms in your house – mainly the bathrooms and the laundry room. In bathrooms, consider how many times your flush, and in the shower, consider using a 5-minute timer to limit how long your shower takes.
For laundry, you should consider washing less loads, meaning for example that you wait longer to wash your jeans. To help extend wear of your clothes between washes, you can use an enzyme spray to pre-treat your clothes, and you can also soak your whites in oxygen cleaner to treat sweat stains without having to send them through the washer. These steps will get you started, but then you should dig into several additional ways to conserve water in your home.
Step 3: Learn basic recycling guidelines
The kitchen is where your biggest opportunity is for recycling goods. Learn how your local community recycles, knowing what they accept and what they don’t, as well as protocol for how you prepare the recycled items for pick-up. For example, remember to rinse out plastic and aluminum containers of food and drink residue and break down cardboard boxes. See a list of commonly recycled materials, according to the EPA.
Step 4: Shop sustainably
There are a number of things you can do to shop sustainably. These include:
- Online Shopping: Save energy consumption and your carbon footprint by shopping online.
- Shop Second Hand: When purchasing clothes, decorations, or other non-perishable items, consider shopping second hand rather than purchasing new items.
- Go Organic: When buying things you can’t avoid purchasing new like health products or a bed, find organic options to cut down on production emissions,
- Avoid Plastic: Purchase everyday products that are contained and wrapped in recycled materials, or take your own containers to stores!
Step 5: Add plants
In addition to reducing stress and improving mood, the presence of plants in your house also helps significantly reduce toxins in your home. Plants are an affordable, sustainable way to clean indoor air quality through purifying air and reducing the impact of household toxins – see the top ten plants that work the best.
Making smart, green choices today will improve tomorrow for you, your family, and the community beyond. By adopting green practices, you will also encourage and demonstrate to others how to make a difference in their households as well. Make green living contagious!
About the author:
Laurie Larson is a freelancer based on the east coast. She enjoys writing on home, health, and lifestyle topics to encourage others to make the most out of their lives.