Seven Not-so-Difficult Ways to Live More Sustainably

Living sustainably means developing habits and making lifestyle choices that are consistent with protecting and maintaining the Earth’s ecological balance. This may sound like a lofty and intimidating goal, but sustainable living is really about making small, manageable choices and developing good, environmentally conscious habits. In fact, making a difference in one’s environmental footprint is much easier than most people think. Here are seven small, easy ways to start living sustainably.

Use non-toxic cleaners and other chemicals

There is a high likelihood that the cleaners and other household chemicals that are under your sink and in the garage

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are pretty toxic. These chemicals have a negative impact on the environment, can have a negative impact on your home environment(particularly if you have small children or pets), and use more natural resources than other, more natural alternatives. Natural, non-polluting alternatives are available to replace many common cleaners and some products such as paints, paint strippers, and other solvent-based products. You can find them at most grocery stores.

One very easy way to practice sustainability in your home is to use bar soap (preferably natural Castille soap) instead of liquid hand soap, which comes in a plastic container and generally contains more chemicals.

Use cold water whenever possible

It takes energy to heat water. This extra energy is generated by using more fossil fuels. By using cold water to wash your hands and to do your laundry, you can decrease your energy use. Using cold water in the washing machine also helps decrease the likelihood that your clothes will shrink.

Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs

LED light bulbs are a little bit more expensive than incandescent light bulbs, but they use less energy and can last up to 30 times longer, saving you money in the long run and reducing your impact on the environment. Energy is saved, and less fossil fuel is burned where LED lights are used and metal, glass, and fuel is saved in the production of longer-lasting light bulbs. LED lights are also completely non-toxic, containing no mercury.

Plants, trees and vegetables . . . outside and inside

It’s well known that trees absorb carbon dioxide in the environment and improve air quality, but most people don’t know that growing plants can have the same effect inside your home: absorbing indoor airborne pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide through the natural process of photosynthesis. Indoor plants have also been shown to absorb biological pollutants that carry germs, reducing the risk of illness.

Planting your own organic vegetable garden is also a great way to get cheap, healthy, pesticide free vegetables while reducing the environmental footprint created by commercial grown and transported vegetables.

Develop Energy Saving Habits

With just a little bit of extra effort, and common sense, the average household can significantly decrease its energy use, saving money and reducing its environmental impacts.

  1. Turn lights off when leaving a room.
  2. Turn off appliances when they’re not in use.
  3. Unplug appliances and other electronic devices when they will go an extended period of time without being used. A device that is switched off but still plugged in still uses a little bit of electricity.
  4. Turn the thermostat down in the winter, and up in the summer. Moving the thermostat up or down by even one degree can have a big impact.
  5. Keep as many blinds and curtains drawn as practical on hot summer days. Outside light heats your apartment, making your air conditioner work harder.
  6. Dry your clothes on a line, rather than in the dryer where practical. Dryers use electricity, clothes on a line use the sun.

Collect rainwater for watering your plants and garden.

Collecting rainwater is a great way to reduce your pumped, stored, and paid-for water by using it to water outdoor and indoor plants and gardens. Many parks and golf courses store rainwater for watering in retention ponds, but you don’t have to dig a pond: a portable bucket or basin or two placed discreetly beneath points where water runs off your house just as well on a smaller scale.

Promote Sustainable Living

Spread awareness of sustainable practices. If everyone knew about the small ways in which they could practice sustainable living and committed to even a few them, it would make huge difference. Practice sustainable living yourself, and then tell your friends some ways that they can, too.

In summary, sustainability is a lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Making small, common sense changes, such as avoiding toxic chemicals, using cold water, switching to more energy efficient LED lights, turning off the TV when you leave the room, and using rainwater to water your garden can have a big impact on your environmental footprint, and save you (and your friends) a lot of money.

This is a guest post by Rodney Warner a full time SEO with interests in LED Sign Supplies & LED Power Supplies.

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