Many people associate the concept of being eco-friendly with putting down a big chunk of change on a Prius, installing solar panels, or even investing in temperature-regulating walls. They think of sustainability as expensive and inconvenient, in other words, and avoid looking into options to help reduce their footprint as a result. There are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint without ever leaving the house or spending half of a year’s salary, however, and they’re easy to work into your lifestyle, too. Here are some easy, inexpensive, and surprising ways you can make your home greener.
Go Green With Your Mattress: Do you know what you’re sleeping on? Many people don’t.
To ensure your mattress is “green” there are a few signals you can look out for. Don’t simply trust the words “natural” or “organic” on the label. Instead, look for approval from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) for latex mattresses. Before you buy, make sure to check out plenty of extensive reviews so you can make sure you’re getting exactly what you’re promised.
Unplug: Additionally, aim to reduce technology use in the bedroom. This will not only cut down on electricity, but aid in better sleep! Instead of binging Netflix right before bed, try reading a book, meditating, or taking a hot bath. The key is to reduce as much blue light in the bedroom as possible.
For your outdoor decor, use repurposed furniture from inside your home rather than purchasing new items. You can use old chairs you’re no longer interested in having in your home or give an old piece a new function by converting a coffee table into a planter.
There are also a few environmentally friendly and easy things to incorporate into the inside of your home:
Invest in Area Rugs: Using rugs on hard floors can save you 4% to 6% on energy costs. The rugs can really help boost your decor, too, and keep your feet warmer during the winter.
Repurpose Furniture: Instead of buying brand new furniture, get creative with refurbishing what you have.
Grow Houseplants: Indoor plants not only provide organic decor, they can serve to purify the air by absorbing harmful toxins. Breathe easier while saving on the costs of dedicated air purifiers.
Replace Bulbs: You can save 66% more energy with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs).
Would you be shocked to find out that 39% of a garment’s environmental impact comes from the care of the consumer? If you think making minor changes to your life to follow more eco-friendly practices isn’t making much of a difference on the world, this fact can prove you wrong.
Some simple steps to get you started are washing your clothes in cold water, reducing the amount of loads you’re doing by waiting longer to wash items like jeans, using toxic-free detergent, and line drying your clothes.
Cold Wash Your Clothes: 85% to 90% of energy is consumed by washing your clothes in hot water. Wash with cold water whenever possible.
Use Concentrated Detergent: Concentrated detergents have reduced packaging and their cheaper transport costs mean a smaller carbon footprint.
Use Natural Cleaning Agents: Vinegar, tea tree oil, and lemon juice are all effective in killing germs, bacteria, and molds. The latter two can also help keep your items smelling fresh.
Use Soap Nuts: Soap nuts are actually berries from the saponus bush. They are hypoallergenic and an all-natural way to wash your clothes, and they can be composted after use.
Don’t leave out the bathroom when you’re working to transform your home. There are several simple ways that you can reduce energy, water, and more in the bathroom as well:
Install a Low-Flow Shower Head: A family of four can save about 42,000 gallons of water annually with low-flow shower heads. You can save even more by looking into flow-efficient faucets for your sinks, too.
Showers Over Baths: Taking a shower uses about 14% of the water that taking a bath does.
Fix Leaky Toilets: One leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water each day, so don’t delay on getting them fixed.
Shave Smart: Use a small container of warm water for shaving instead of running the faucet.
Install Low-Flow Toilets: 30% of indoor water use is due to flushing - and remember: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”
Use Eco-Scents: Instead of using synthetic fragrances, use non-aerosol sprays and essential oils.
As you can see, making your home eco friendly doesn’t have to be hard – pick a few of the options above and incorporate them into your lifestyle. You’ll be surprised at how easy the change is. Taking it step-by-step will help you naturally progress into new practices. Don’t try to change your entire lifestyle in one day. It’s a process that takes time and research.
About the Author:
Stephanie James is a health enthusiast by day, and freelance writer by night. She loves to cover all things wellness and fitness, and encourages others to make all aspects of their health a priority.