Let’s be honest, making your home more environmentally friendly will likely require a lot of work as well as a lot of money. Fortunately, temperature regulating walls and solar grids are not your only options when it comes to adopting household practices that are healthier for the environment. The bonus? The following ideas are fun, creative and simple and can help reduce the amount of energy your household uses.
Stay Green 24 Hours a Day
On April 22nd of this year, Earth Day will celebrate its 40th anniversary. This day was created to help boost society’s awareness of the environment. It was also established to help ensure that eco-friendly legislation would no longer be ignored in Washington, D.C. However, you do not have to be a lobbyist in the nation’s capital in order to make a difference in your home and your community. The good news is that you and your family can do your bit by making these habits part of your daily routine.
Are you a coffee drinker? If so, only brew coffee that is labeled as USDA Certified Organic. This means that the coffee beans were grown using methods that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. If you do not brew your coffee at home, be sure to take your travel mug to your local Java shop. They may charge you a discounted price if you bring in your own mug.
Once you arrive at work, your eco-friendly habits can continue. Although you may be completing most of your office tasks online, there may still be times when you need to use office equipment like printers. You can configure your office equipment so that it performs double duty. For example, copy machines and printers can print on both sides, so do this to reduce the amount of paper your office uses each day. If you are planning to step away from your desktop or laptop for more than a few minutes, you can put the device in ‘sleep mode’ to conserve energy until you are ready to resume working.
If you have to run errands during your lunch break, use your own bags. There are many retailers who are now rewarding customers for every bag they bring in when shopping. For example, CVS is paying its customers $1 each time they do NOT use the store’s plastic bags. They receive this dollar on a special gift card after every four trips of BYOB (Bringing Your Own Bag).
After working hard all day, you come home ready to relax. Sometimes it is easy to fall asleep watching television or listening to the radio. You can conserve more power by unplugging, not turning off, these devices at night before going to bed. You can also plug all of your devices into a power strip (UL-certified) and switch off all devices through this power strip. This action will eliminate that phantom electrical draw that occurs when devices are turned off, but not unplugged.
You can also encourage your children to get involved in making the household eco-friendly. It is never too early to start teaching them the importance of energy conservation. For example, make sure your children turn off both the television and the game console when they have finished playing their video games. The one simple action can save you up to $100 a year on your utility bill.
Do you live in a state that has bottle bills? Over 11 states participate in this program, and you can encourage your kids to collect plastic bottles and aluminum cans and redeem them for cash. Letting them keep the money they collect to purchase a treat may be all the motivation they need to become part time bottle collectors.
Do you and your kids allow the water to run while you are brushing your teeth? Teach your kids to turn the water off, and remind them when they forget. Allowing the water to continuously run during just a two minute tooth brushing session can waste over four gallons of water every day.
Green Your Household
Do you fight a yearly invasion of ants or other pests in your home? The constant use of pesticides not only causes a toxic environment inside of your home for humans and pets, it can also cause damage to the environment if the pesticides are not properly disposed of. Instead of going through the hassle of fogging or spraying toxic fumes in your home every year, hire the services of a Top Rated Exterminator Company Kannapolis NC. These companies can provide routine annual maintenance, such as checking for cracks and openings that may be invisible to you, but that are the perfect entrance to your home for a pest.
Did you know that CFL light bulbs last much longer than standard light bulbs? CFLs also use less energy, and by replacing standards with these, you will save around $30 on your electricity bill over the lifetime of every bulb.
Plants can enhance your décor, and when strategically placed around the home, you can save as much as $200 a year on heating and cooling. Place the plants in all four corners of your home, and, if you can, add a plant around your outdoor HVAC system that will act as shade.
Keep your water heater warm and cozy by wrapping an insulation blanket around it. This will reduce the running cost of the appliance by up to nine percent.
Always wait to run your dishwasher until it is full. You will actually use less water and power when washing a full load of dishes than washing the same amount of dishes the old-fashioned way.
As of 1992, legislation requires that every new showerhead must maintain a flow rate that is no more than 3 gallons a minute. If you live in an older home, the showerheads may be as old as the home. Replace all of them and you’ll save around $50 a month if you have four people in the household.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling
If you live in the United States, you may not be aware of the latest title the country has added to its portfolio. The US is the top country in the world for trash production. It has been calculated that every person in the United States produces close to 1700 pounds of trash every year. In 2008, less than half of this trash was recycled. So, here is a quick refresher for recycling.
You can recycle paper, even if the paper has staples, spirals or clips attached. Any metal pieces are filtered out. However, do not place stained paper in the recycling bin as stains can contaminate the entire load.
Paper can quickly pile up, create clutter in the home, and also pose a safety hazard. There are several ways to reduce paper in your home:
- Contact utility companies, credit card companies and other bill collectors and ask them to stop sending monthly statements through the mail and begin paying them online.
- Have your address removed from all junk mail registries. This will lead to a significant reduction in the amount of mail you receive. You should notice a difference within three months.
- Install a permanent junk mail recycling bin next to your mailbox. Immediately chuck unwanted mail into this bin.
When you are placing plastics in the recycling bin, always remove the bottle caps. The caps are made from an entirely different type of plastic than the bottle is, and one cap can destroy the entire batch. You can return unused and used plastic bags to stores. Check online for a local store or center that accepts plastic bags.
What about glass? The bottles should be rinsed out thoroughly, and the caps should be thrown away. You do not have to worry about removing any labels, and you can also include wire hangers, scrap metal and foil in with the glass.
When there is a piece of furniture that you want to get rid of, do not make the local landfill your first stop. If the furniture is in decent condition, check out sites like Craigslist or even your local thrift store. If it cannot be salvaged, post it on a free site like Freecycle.
Learn How to Not Waste as Much
You can immediately begin to reduce the amount of your household waste and see the positive impact these actions have on the environment and your wallet. Here are two final ideas:
- Switch your cleaning products to ‘concentrated’. These types of products are designed for consumers to use smaller amounts than traditional formulas. Your laundry, dishes and home will be just as clean, and you will save money.
- Stop brown bagging your lunch and instead place your lunch in a reusable lunch box. This will reduce the amount of paper you use, and inserting reusable ice packs will keep your food cold until you are ready to eat it.
As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day, so don’t feel like you have to start doing all of these things immediately. However, just by introducing one or two to you and your family’s daily routine, you will begin to see more money in your bank account at the end of the month while reducing your carbon footprint.