Going green can seem overwhelming for those used to living a modern life with modern conveniences, but there are many green living tips you can follow to make it simple. While chucking all your worldly possessions (in a recycling bin of course) and moving to the prairie is certainly a noble idea, you don’t have to give up your current way of life to go green. Simple changes make a large impact on the environment too, and are far easier on your wallet and your schedule.
Green Living Tips
Reduce Reuse Recycle
The first step to green living is fairly simple: Follow the three R’s. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reduce your consumption of products that end up in a landfill, recycle everything you can and reuse what you can’t. Skip the “plastic or paper” option entirely by taking your own reusable bags to the store. They’re usually pretty cheap and come in a variety of stylish options. Keep an eye out for freebie tote bags, as many stores will give away a reusable tote if you purchase a certain amount of a particular item. If you can’t reuse an item, donate it to someone who can. Sites like Freecycle allow you to connect with others looking for particular items.
Look for products that come in packaging that is easily recyclable. Paper, aluminum cans and glass bottles are all easily recycled. If your waste collection company does not offer recycling pick-up services, look for the recycling centers in your community and make a habit of dropping off recyclable materials.
Ditch those Harsh Household Cleaners
Get rid of household cleaners with harsh chemicals that release pollutants into the air, and you may find yourself breathing easier. The Environmental Working Group explains that many of those chemicals can irritate your respiratory system, potentially causing asthma, shortness of breath and other medical conditions. Green products, such as cleaners, are found on shelves in mass-market retailers and grocery stores across America, but you may find other excellent options right in your kitchen.
Baking soda, lemon juice and white vinegar, either together or separate, can tackle just about any cleaning job. For example, to unclog a sink, pour some baking soda into the drain and wash away with white vinegar. Use baking soda to freshen your carpet before vacuuming and white vinegar to clean your windows. Not only are these options environmentally sound and safer than harsh chemicals, they’re also dirt cheap.
Green Energy Solutions
When we think of green energy solutions, we imagine wind and solar power and going completely off the grid. While these types of power are certainly part of the bigger picture, there are things you can do right in your own home now that will help you to use energy wisely.
Swapping every old appliance and incandescent light bulb in your house for energy-saving ones is certainly a great way to save energy, but isn’t exactly practical for those on a budget. Rather than chucking all the stuff you already own, replace things as they break or wear out with more energy-efficient models bearing the Energy Star label. Incandescent light bulbs burn out much faster than compact fluorescent bulbs, so you’ll have a house full of energy savers in no time.
While you’re waiting for all those energy-hogging appliances to spin their last spin or wash their last dish, make a few changes to your routine to green them up a bit. Only run the dishwasher with a full load and let them air dry as often as possible. Use cold water to wash your clothes and use the timer on your dryer so it’s not running longer than necessary. Turn out the lights when you leave the room, unplug rarely used electronics and turn your thermostat down at night. These are all good practices even after you’ve made the leap to energy-saving appliances.
Shop Close to Home
Support your community and your green efforts by shopping locally as often as possible. Become a frequent shopper at your local farmer’s market and reap the benefits of fresh produce. According to Local Harvest, the produce in your grocery store was harvested up to a week prior to landing in the produce bin. In many cases, it was also shipped over 1,000 miles.
Turn to local, independent sellers for artwork, furnishings, used books and other goods. Buying locally not only supports the community, it reduces pollution and saves valuable resources since the goods aren’t being shipped numerous times before reaching your house.
Becoming a part of the green movement does not require you to completely alter your lifestyle. It simply means being more aware of the products you use and how you dispose of waste or items you no longer need. Separating recyclable materials from other non-recyclable trash is really not that difficult or time consuming. Dropping off used clothing at a collection center helps those in need and reduces the amount of usable items that are dumped in landfills.
You would be surprised just how much of an impact one person can make by following some of these green living tips.