As summer slowly but surely comes to an end, it won’t be long until the temperatures cool and the fall season kicks into gear. But just because the weather is changing doesn’t mean your sustainable habits should do the same. It’s easier than ever to incorporate some simple green living tips into your lifestyle all season long. Here are just a few ways to make sure you’re living the sustainable life after summer’s end.
Bring Houseplants Inside
While it’s healthy for your potted plants to soak up the sun all summer long, it’s actually beneficial for you to bring them back inside before fall begins. You can also ease into this by bringing them inside only at night and leaving them out only during the daytime. This helps them to adjust to the temperature fluctuations more efficiently. But the main advantage of bringing your plants indoors is that they help to clean your home’s air. Studies have shown that levels of several organics average two to five times higher indoors than outdoors, and when inhaled they can contribute to several health problems. Even a few potted plants can make a difference in your home’s air quality, since they’re consistently producing oxygen.
Cut Back on Chemicals
Many people feel as though they need to use harsh, toxic chemicals in order to sanitize a surface properly, but this isn’t at all the case. Steam kills 99% of common household germs and bacteria like E.Coli, salmonella, and staph, as well as dust mites and bed bugs. That being said, buying a household steam cleaner can ensure a clean and sanitized surface without the harmful toxins and residues that result from traditional household cleaner use. Cutting back on household chemical use also reduces waste, since you’re not bringing home (and disposing of) as many bottles from the store. And don’t worry — steam isn’t the only chemical-free cleaning solution out there. With some handy solutions, you’ll be able to toss out almost every traditional cleaner still lingering in your closet.
“Toss out the conventional cleaners and whip up some of your own, non-toxic eco-friendly versions. For example, a mix of baking soda and warm water can be used as an all-purpose cleaner on everything from countertops to grease spills to laundry. In fact, keep air pollutants to a minimum all winter long by cleaning with homemade products — baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and water can keep your home clean, germ-free and free of toxic chemicals,” writes Maria Trimarchi on HowStuffWorks.
Reduce Plastic Use
Plastic is becoming more and more detrimental to the environment with its ongoing buildup, but it’s still often difficult to avoid. However, you can take some simple steps to limit the use of plastic materials in your home. This is feasible for homes of all sizes: from apartments and tiny homes, which average anywhere from 100 square feet to 400 square feet in size, to huge mansions or multi-family homes. For example, start by making the simple choice to skip the plastic straw with your pumpkin spice iced coffee. Consider buying reusable grocery bags instead of those made from thin plastic. Paper materials are also a more sustainable solution when recycled, considering that more than one-third of new paper is made with recycled fiber. Be mindful in your day to day life, and try to notice replacements for plastic and use them whenever possible.
Ultimately, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish this season if you’re willing to take on just a little bit of environmental responsibility. The Earth will certainly thank you!