Living green is becoming less of a novel idea and more of an expectation. So whether you are an avid recycler, or you’re new to the whole thing, here are some tips to live green in your new home. They can be remembered simply by the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
As Americans, many of us are accustomed to having excess. Whether excess food, products or anything consumable, it can be a bad thing if it is always going to waste. However, there are many ways that we can reduce excessive use:
Put a time limit on showers to save water. According to home-water-works.org the average shower is over 8 minutes long, using around 2.5 gallons per minute. Cutting showers to 5 minutes could save 7-8 gallons per shower! This could be as much as 56 gallons a week, 224 gallons a month and 2688 gallons a year per person!
Use energy efficient light bulbs. Come on, it's 2020, it's time to get rid of those old, dim light bulbs that your grandparents used. Swap them out for an energy efficient CFL or LED light bulb. Technology is continuing to improve and energy efficient bulbs are cheaper than ever!
Make sure your home is well insulated. Good home insulation will help each room hold its desired temperature with less stress on your heating and air conditioning systems.
Some other ways to reduce waste include using online bill pay to save some paper, line drying your clothes whenever possible, and lastly, utilizing the technology available to get a smart thermostat for your home!
If reducing waste isn't possible in some cases, you can always reuse what you have! In the kitchen you can reduce your use of paper towels by using rags and towels. On the same note, buy cloth napkins, rather than using paper napkins. All of these can be cleaned by throwing them in with your usual load of clothes in the washing machine.
You can also avoid buying new items around the house by going to a thrift store and finding great deals on used items. As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure!
Plastic is one of the most common items best to avoid since they fill our landfills. Buy everyone in your family their own reusable water bottle. The kids will always know which drink is theirs, and you won’t have to worry about purchasing new packs of plastic water bottles. Another great reusable item to purchase is a grocery bag. Even better is to purchase an insulated one that can keep your frozen items cold in the car. The larger the bag the better because it will save you trips to and from the car when unloading groceries.
If you want to go the extra mile, and really step up your game when it comes to being environmentally friendly, you can start a compost. This will let you minimize the amount of waste you throw in the garbage can and instead create a nutrient rich soil to use for your plants. Not sure what you can put in your compost? Here is a list of 100 Things You Can (and Should) Compost. Even if you don't intend to garden with your compost, it can reduce your waste by 50%.
Lastly, learn to recycle. This can be done in two very simple ways. The first is recycling items in your home rather than throwing them in the garbage. There are already enough landfills full of our useless stuff. Help put some of it back to use! Recyclable home goods include: Paper, magazines, cardboard, newspaper, glass bottles and jars, juice and milk cartons, aluminum cans and foil and so much more. The second way is to use recycled materials at home. Many of your everyday products that you get at the store have the option of buying a version made from recycled materials. Next time you go shopping look for recycled versions of these products: glass containers, laundry detergent bottles, carpeting, comic books, motor oil, paper towels, trash bags and newspapers!
Being environmentally conscious does not have to be a huge commitment where you sew your own clothes from leaves and live in a barn with no power. There are so many things that you can do to live more green that barely require any changes to your life. Taking action on some of the points mentioned above is a great start to reducing your carbon footprint and making a positive impact on the world. The earth has been kind enough to let us live here so far, let's keep it that way!