10 Tips to Green Living at Home

Kermit the Frog said it best; it isn’t easy being green.

Neither is living green, but you can make the effort to help save our environment for future generations!

With all the buzz and confusion over green homes, organic homes, chemical free homes, recycling, energy efficiency, and green decor, it can be a daunting task to know exactly what you can do to lessen your family’s ‘carbon footprint’ on the world.

But take heart; here are some easy tips to make your life and home decor environmentally friendly by living green:

1. Freecycle – no, it’s not a typo of recycle, but rather a grassroots movement to reduce landfill waste. We have all done these things; taken an old fridge that may still work to the dump, or that broken appliance, or printer or computer we upgraded.

Sometimes, we are even so lazy as to toss old clothes rather than take the time to take them to the thrift store and donate them.

Now you have a new option; simply post a subject like “Free Sofa” and wait for someone to send you an email saying they would like it. Then, come up with an agreeable time for them to come and pick it up.

I am the owner of our local Freecycle group, and have given away computers, printers, baby clothing and equipment…all sorts of things. The catch; everything must be free and legal. Visit www.freecycle.org to find a group near you.

2. Start a compost pile – all the icky garbage (banana peels, apple cores, leftovers, coffee grounds and stale bread) don’t have to go to the dump.

Gone are the days where a compost pile automatically assumes the vision of a huge pile of decomposing trash in the corner of your yard.

Compost Bin

Today’s compost bins can be as small as a couple of square feet, to large commercial compost bins. The best thing about composting is no more pitch fork to turn the pile over; just a quick roll of the handle (think of a barrel on a stand, held at each end.). Even better; no odor!

3. Replace your existing light bulbs – with compact florescent light bulbs. These energy efficient light bulbs use 75% less energy than their traditional counterparts. And they last longer. I just recently replaced all the light bulbs in my home with these energy saving ones and it was an easy way to help the environment.

4. No more paper towels – whether you use regular kitchen towels (you can buy huge packs at discount stores really cheap) or microfiber towels, you are helping to reduce the amount of garbage your family produces.

Along the same lines, use cloth napkins with your meals. Not only do they give a nicer, more refined home decor statement, they are also washable and reusable.

5. Block the drafts – most of your home’s heating and cooling is lost through gaps and cracks at door and window seams. You can buy cutesy gap lockers, which are basically long, cylindrical tubes filled with stuffing, or you can make your own.

To make your own you can sew them, using a coordinating home decor fabric to tie in whatever theme is in the room, or for those less crafty, take a tube sock, fill it with rice, and tie the ends.

As a side note, the sock method is also great for sore shoulders; just zap it in the microwave a few seconds.

6. Give soy a try – soy candles burn longer, and cleaner than traditional wax candles. Traditional candles emit smoke in the air. Since these candles are petroleum based, that means chemicals are being emitted in your home.

Soy candles are made from soybeans, and come in just as many scents as traditional candles. Another plus; soy candles burn slower, meaning they also last longer.

7. Say “night, night” to your computer – turn it off when you get off of it for the day. Your screensaver is a screensaver, not an energy saver. When you see your favorite photos flashing across the screen, the computer is still using all of its power.

Turn your PC off or set it to hibernate after, say 30 minutes without any use Be sure you buy Energy Star compliant computer and electronic equipment, which make energy conservation simple. You’ll save some money, and conserve energy.

8. Don’t throw away your cell phone – either give it away on Freecycle, or donate it to a local abused women’s organization. These organizations give these phones to abused women to help them find work, and give them a way to call for help if they need it. Most office supply stores have drop off bins for recycling old cell phones into new products, as well.

9. Put a lid on it – your garbage, that is; wind, stray cats and dogs and wild animals love to rifle through the trash can. Putting a tight fitting lid on your can will keep the wind and animals out, and your trash in. Plus, it saves you from having to clean it up every day.

10. Recycle – the most obvious step to you can take to help the environment! Newspapers, catalogs, junk mail, soda cans, milk jugs and even metals. This single step is one of the most important and can make the biggest impact on our environment.

Comments are closed.