The whole idea of making your home more green sounds very nice, but how can you actually make it work? There are some pretty simple and easy to do things that not only can make your home more eco-friendly, but also healthier for you and your family.
Stop buying household cleaners that are potentially toxic to both you and the environment. Choose only those detergents that do not have harsh ingredients. I personally love Ecover, which you can buy everywhere in Health Matters stores in Ireland. I use their washing-up liquid (a bottle lasts for a couple of months), cream cleaner and nontoxic toilet cleaner. Look for “green” cleaners that don’t contain chlorine or ammonia. Anyway it is always good when buying detergents to choose ones that say “petroleum-free,” “biodegradable,” or “phosphate-free.” Else you could skip buying altogether and make your own cleaning products. Cleaning products don’t have to come in a shiny happy spray pack straight off the Tesco’s/Dunnes Stores shelves. Air and water are two of the planet’s best cleaning products. A third is even more effective – know-how. Use simple ingredients such as plain soap, water, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), vinegar, washing soda (sodium carbonate), lemon juice and borax and save money at the same time.
Water is a precious resource. We should always use it wisely because it’s not as abundant as you might think. Using water, especially hot water, uses energy and increases emissions of greenhouse gases which contributes to climate change. During a drought it’s even more important to make sure that water is not wasted. Here are some simple and easily installable tips to save water at home: shower instead of taking bath, as showers require as little as a third of the water. However, this is true as long as you keep them under five minutes long.
Use a plastic washing-up bowls within your sink when washing dishes. It significantly reduces your water consumption in the kitchen
A slowly leaking tap can waste 20.000 liters a year. Fix it now! Leaks should be identified and repaired as soon as possible to avoid wasting water. Changing the washers usually fixes dripping taps. If this does not solve the problem, contact a licensed plumber. Leaking toilets and leaking pipes will generally need to be repaired by a licensed plumber.
Reduce indoor air pollution
There are many sources of indoor air pollution. With some minor changes to our activities in the home you and your family can improve the quality of your indoor air. For instance, talk to your family about using water-based, rather than oil-based, paints. Open your doors and windows regularly – simple and yet very effective. Placing floor rugs and bedding out in the sunshine to air on a regular basis will also mean helping to reduce the number of dust mites, fungi and bacteria. Make it your preference to use natural products both in the furniture, fitting and cleaning products you use.
Grow more houseplants. Recent research has shown that indoor plants significantly improve a whole range of aspects of our indoor environment. The benefits cover a spectrum from physically cleaner air to direct beneficial effects on psychological health, task performance, illness reduction and productivity.
If you like to burn candles, opt for healthier, more environment friendly soy-wax or beeswax candles. Lighting paraffin candles is as dangerous as second hand smoke and has been compared to breathing in diesel fumes. It’s also known that people who work in the petroleum industry do not let their families near paraffin candles.
Cut back on the amount of packaging you purchase and the amount of household waste you produce. Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Buy your washing detergents in a box instead of plastic bottles, don’t use plastic ware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box. Also use reusable produce bag instead a plastic bag as a single plastic bag can take 1000 years to degrade. And last but not least recycle everything you can: paper, glass, aluminum, plastic, cardboard etc.
Be careful about your appliances
Everyday appliances such as fridges, TV’s, stereos, kettles, dishwashers, and just about everything else you plug into the wall at home contribute to around 15% of the electricity consumption of the average home. It is important that choose and use these appliances wisely – buying energy efficient appliances saves you money and also benefits the environment. So the next time you need a kitchen appliance, check the energy label and choose the most efficient one you can. An energy label is rated from A to G with A being the most efficient. You could save up to 100 euro on your annual electricity bill if your kitchen appliances are A rated. And again it will not only save money on your electricity bill but reduce your household greenhouse emissions. Opt for LED and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) instead of the regular bulbs. Led and CFL offer incredible energy and cost savings. Both options do cost more upfront, but they produce less heat, use less energy and last significantly longer than traditional light bulbs, so they’re ideal green lighting options for your home.
With that in mind see how many of these 5 simple steps you can take to make your life more environmentally-friendly. And yes, there are many other ways people can green their lives and home but I figured these 5 ways made for a good start.
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