It can be easy to go about our daily lives and may not think about the impact our decisions have on the planet. While most are harmless, some of our actions can contribute to increased landfills, air pollution, and more. Going green may seem overwhelming and hard to know where to start. For some, this task is a complete change of lifestyle, but the simplest way to start is at home.
1. Shutting off the faucet when not in use.
Making a conscious choice of turning off the water when we are not using it helps reduce water waste. Turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or when you get busy in the kitchen can be a big contributor to saving water. Each occurrence may only shut the water off for a few minutes but will add up over time.
2. Unplug appliances or tech when they’re not in use.
Many of us leave our toasters or coffee makers plugged in when not in use. Although this may make our lives easier by not having to plug and unplug it every time we are using it, it can add up to a lot of wasted energy. Appliances still using energy when they are plugged in. This is a similar concept to shutting off the faucet, except that appliances or tech remain plugged in and unused for longer periods of time.
3. Wash laundry in cold or warm water.
The hotter the water, the more energy and water is wasted while your washer maintains the correct temperature. The greener choice is to wash clothes in cold, or even warm, instead of hot.
4. Turn off the heat function on your dishwasher.
Similar to washing your clothes in warm or hot water, drying your dishes with heat also uses more energy. Letting them air dry after the cycle or hand drying them is an opportunity to reduce energy.
5. Switch from single-use paper towels and plates to reusable ones.
Think about how many paper towels and plates you buy and use every day. Switching to cloth towels and ceramic plates are simple ways to reduce waste. Once you use the towels, they can be thrown in a pile of laundry to be cleaned and used again. After using dishes, they can either be hand washed or washed in your dishwasher to be used time and time again.
6. Invest in a reusable water bottle.
Ditch the plastic single-use bottles and invest in a reusable water bottle. Not only are reusable bottles more environmentally friendly, they can also provide other benefits. They are more durable for hikes or bike rides and some even keep your water cold throughout the day. Over time, the cost of purchasing single-use plastic bottles will outweigh the initial cost of a reusable bottle.
7. Turn off lights when the room is unoccupied.
It’s easy to go from room to room turning on lights and then leaving them on throughout the day. By making a habit of turning lights off as soon as you leave the room, you will be reducing wasted energy without even thinking!
8. Collect and repurpose rainwater.
Rainwater is literally free water. When you know the forecast calls for rain, place a bucket, bowl, or large cup outside to collect the water. The water you collected can be used to water plants!
9. Use reusable batteries.
Batteries are commonly used until they’ve been drained of their energy and then thrown away. Now, more companies are selling batteries that have the ability to be recharged and reused. Using these types of batteries is a great way to reduce the number of batteries being produced and thrown away
10. Fix leaky faucets.
Having a leaky faucet contributes to wasted water. Check to see if you have any leaks in sinks, shower heads, or outdoor hoses. Getting it fixed is a one-time labor or cost that in turn leads to big changes.
11. Ditch plastic straws for a reusable one.
In today’s world straw options are more diverse. Investing in a reusable straw helps to reduce plastic waste and also gives you your own personalized straw. It may be easier to start this at home, but once you’ve got the hang of it you can bring it with you and use it with take-out drinks as well.
12. Use energy efficient light bulbs.
Light bulbs have come a long way! Many bulbs on the market use less energy while still providing ample light. So, if you do forget to turn off the lights you can still save energy.
13. Repurpose old furniture.
If your furniture is getting old or just isn’t your style anymore, don’t immediately throw it away. There are many ways to upgrade your furniture’s style and durability yourself. Put your creativity and Pinterest-pins to use by finding ways to continue the lifespan of your furniture.
14. Make a t-shirt blanket out of outgrown or unused t-shirts.
Over the years, t-shirts can add up quickly. Make the ones you don’t wear anymore into a blanket! This is a great way to reduce your waste of fabrics and repurpose what’s been sitting inside your drawers.
15. Donate items you no longer have a use for.
The saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure applies here. Donating gently used clothes, shoes, books, and more means less waste in a landfill, and you’re also helping someone else in need.
Stuck on what to donate? Take time to noticed what you use or don’t use over a period of time. Anything that you no longer have a use for can be donated.
16. Go paperless on bank statements and bills.
Companies that provide bank statements and bills have made it easy to switch from paper to electronic versions. You will still receive all the same information, just online now! Not only is this a great way to reduce paper waste, but it keeps the clutter down in your house, too.
17. Switch to e-books or library books.
Instead of purchasing a book every time you want to read it, consider switching to e-books or library books. Making this switch will help you reduce your paper waste. Library books are great for those who love reading a paper version, but do not need to hold onto the book after reading. Libraries may also offer an e-reader machine to check out, instead of making the purchase yourself.
18. Recycle old electronics.
Many of us are guilty of hoarding old electronics at home. Get rid of the clutter and help the environment at the same time by finding proper recycling methods for your old electronics.
19. Add indoor plants to your home.
In general, indoor plants can add green to your home as décor. Some do this while contributing other benefits as well. For example, fresh herbs can be used for cooking or aloe can be used for a bad sunburn in the summer.
20. Start a garden.
Gardens can range in size depending on how much and what you want to grow. Depending on these factors, your home garden can be started indoors or out. A garden will give you the opportunity to include more fresh ingredients into your food. With a little research, you can be a gardener in no time!
21. Cook more homemade meals.
Eating out can result in increased waste produced by takeout bags, containers, plastic cutlery, and more. Cooking at home can lead to a reduction in waste.
22. Repurpose jars.
Glass jars used for candles or food can cleaned and used throughout your home. They’re great from storing everything from nails in the garage and cotton balls in the bathroom, to pens and pencils in your home office and paint brushes in a craft room.
23. Cut down shower time.
Who doesn’t love a long, hot shower? Overuse of hot water, though, increases the amount of energy being used. Start keeping track of how long you’re in the shower and see the benefits of reduced water and energy.
24. Only wash full loads of clothes and dishes.
Small loads can be a waste of water and energy. Instead, wait for your washing machine or dishwasher to be full before running the machine. Doing this will also decrease the amount of times you have to switch the laundry or go through the process of unloading the dishwasher.
25. Hang dry clothes instead of using a dryer.
Hang drying clothes can help save energy by not running the dryer as much. You might also see a reduction in damaged and shrinking clothes!
26. Use natural light when possible.
Keep your lights off for as long as you can during the day and use the natural light coming in through the windows.
There are so many ways to begin your journey of going green. Some of these suggestions may be easier to introduce into your life than others but start small and keep adding more as you gain confidence. Although the most common reason to go green is to help protect the environment, there are other personal benefits as well. By turning off the lights, fixing a leaky faucet or hang drying clothes, you may see a savings in your water or electric bills.
In Summary, these are some of the ways you can start to go green in your daily home life: