Going Green at Home
Think globally, act locally. This phrase exemplifies the idea of making small changes in your home to create a "greener environment." It's easy to understand the importance of becoming environmentally friendly and how some actions negatively impact the earth; however, the difficult task is making a change. Many people do not realize that small changes at home, along with some extra thought during daily activities, can have great impact on a global level.
So, what changes can you make? Here are some ideas to start your own green revolution at home.
Decrease Your Waste:
- Buy products in bulk when possible to decrease the amount of packaging individual products. Ex. Buy yogurt in tubs rather than individual containers.
- Use washable napkins and towels rather than paper products.
- Remove yourself from junk mail lists to conserve paper. Visit greendimes.com or 41pounds.org for information about how to do this.
- Look for recycling bins, or take your recyclable items to be recycled.
- Recycle old tennis shoes by donating to Perpetual Prosperity Pumps Foundation. For every 500 pairs of tennis shoes donated, one African family is lifted out of poverty. Shoes are resold in Ghana. Other organizations you can donate to include:
- Donation. Donate old or unwanted items such as clothing, toys, and books to your local collection organizations such as Goodwill, Purple Heart or American Veterans.
- Recycle old tires, they can be turned into products such as benches, picnic tables, trashcan guards and borders, jar openers, portfolios.
- Install light sensors to your outdoor lights.
- Install low-flow showerheads in your bathrooms.
- Purchase solar chargers for your electronics.
- When replacing old appliances, such as an old washer or refrigerator, replace with more energy-efficient appliances.
- Avoid bottled water. Use a reusable water container or bottle -- according to the National Resource Defense Council, standards for bottled water, regulated by the FDA are severely inadequate. Tap water, regulated by the EPA has regulations for certain toxins, bacteria, and is tested in a government certified lab, unlike bottled water.
- Eat locally. Consuming seasonal and local products saves the nonrenewable energy needed to transport your food to your table. Local foods also often use less packaging, which in turn prevents waste.
- Eat organic. Choosing organic foods rather than conventionally grown foods means no chemicals are added to process the product, meaning healthier for you, the environment, and for farmers. What does organic mean?
- Eat Fair Trade Fare. Fair Trade foods are regulated by TransFair to ensure fair treatment of those who handle and process those products. However, TransFair also has very strict environmental regulations. Visit the TransFair website.
- Try starting a garden and growing your own fruits and vegetables sans pesticides. Here's a website with recipes for natural bug spray.
- Compost. By composting your leftovers, you reduce the burden on landfills, eliminate the odor in your kitchen wastebasket, and have awesome soil! Learn how at www.howtocompost.org.
- Direct water from your roof into a rain barrel. This prevents runoff from going into the sewer system, and you can use the rain you collect to water your lawn.
- Carpool. Sharing a ride not only saves gas, but it also saves you gas money and helps your car last longer.
- Your tire pressure has a direct impact on the mileage of your car. Having your tire pressure at the appropriate psi can reduce strain on your engine and significantly increase your gas mileage.
- Use green cleaning products. Baking soda and vinegar mixed with warm water work to clean almost any surface. If you want to buy your household cleaning products, there are a number of green cleaning products that are biodegradable, non-toxic, and made from renewable energy sources.
Hartsfield, Susan. The Complete Guide to Energy Conservation for Smarties / Written by Susan Hartsfield ; Illustrated by Rajeev Athale. Annapolis, MD: Green Being Pub., 2008. Print.
TreeHugger. Web. 16 June 2011. http://www.treehugger.com>.
"Rain Collection Barrels - Collect Overflow in Rain Barrels - The Daily Green." Going Green, Fuel Efficiency, Organic Food, and Green Living - The Daily Green. Web. 16 June 2011. http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/tips/rain-barrels>.
For More Information:
Interested in learning even more ways to "go green" at home? Check out our extensive list of online resources.