It’s easy to think that “going green” involves huge and often expensive changes to our homes and lifestyles. But what if it didn’t have to? Sure, it would be nice if you could afford to switch out all of your appliances for environmentally friendlier options and install home monitoring systems that shut off power to most of the house when you aren’t home. It’d be great to be able to afford to install solar panels on the roof and put in all new windows.
Most of us, unfortunately, can only dream of doing those things. That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t some really great, easy and even cheap things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and be a little greener. Here are just a few of them!
Easy Ways to Go Green to Save Green!
1. Repurpose and Reuse
We’ve written before about some of the different things you can repurpose and reuse. Go read that post! It’s great! There are so many different things that you can repurpose and reuse. You just have to be a little creative and ready to be a little crafty.
If you can’t find a way to repurpose something, then donate it to someone who can. For ideas, check out this article on 100+ Ways to Donate Your Old and Used Electronics to Charity.
The best way to compost is to simply start a compost pile in a far corner of your yard. But what if you live in a townhouse or, even trickier, an apartment building? In some cities, like Portland, composting has been taken over by the city. Each home is given a compost bin that they put out each week with their trash and recycling. If you don’t live in one of those cities, here’s what you do:
Get a small trash can with a fitted lid. Line the bin with a bag. Toss your food scraps (nothing meat based but most other organic material is compostable) into that bin and make sure the bin is closed tight. Every couple of weeks or so, take the bag to a local composting place and turn it in. There are usually family farms and other places that will happily accept your compost if you don’t have a way to use it in your own home.
Composting is great for a couple of reason: obviously it reduces your carbon footprint, which is great. It also saves you lots of money on trash bags!
3. Save on produce & help the environment
We throw away an enormous amount of perfectly good food every year, between dumping parts of the veggie that we could easily use to make soup stock to rejecting delicious fruits just because they aren’t as round or colorful as we expect. Do your part by buying more root to stalk fruits and veggies for your family! You can also save a fortune by buying imperfect produce, either from a service that specializes in it, or right from your Farmer’s Market.
4. Change Your Light Bulbs
CFLs have gotten all of the attention over the last decade or so. The truth is, though, that the real savings are with LEDs. LED bulbs are more expensive at the outset, it’s true. But! Those bulbs save you a lot more money on your utility bills than even CFL bulbs (they last longer too, increasing your total savings). Some companies, like AM Conservation Group, are even working on integrating LED bulbs into nightlights to help save families as much as possible.
The other great thing, in addition to the massive savings, about LED bulbs is that you don’t have to panic about mercury if they break!
5. Wash Only Full Loads
Only run the dishwasher and laundry washer when you have full loads. If you need to just clean one or two things, wash them by hand in the sink. You’ll use far less water and energy this way than you would if you ran the dishwasher every time you needed to wash a plate or tossed single shirts into your washer and dryer. While we’re talking about water usage, try to limit your water usage to cold water. Cold water is better because you won’t have to use energy to heat it up.
Cold water is even better in the shower. Sure hot water feels great for your muscles but in terms of the health of your skin and hair, colder is better. You don’t have to take ice cold showers or baths (unless you really want to) but try to avoid steaming up the bathroom every time you bathe.
These are just some of the easy and cost efficient things you can do to decrease your carbon footprint and go green. There are, obviously, tons of other little shifts and adjustments you can make.
What are some of the things you’ve been doing to green up your home?