Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22nd and we’re all about celebrating this planet we call home. While it’s great to be aware of your impact on the environment every day of the year, Earth Day is a good time to take a look at what you’re already doing, and what more you can do to help. There are plenty of big changes you can make (installing solar panels, getting an electric car, or taking mass transportation, etc.) but those can be a bit daunting. Instead let’s take a look at seven easy ways you can help make your home more eco-friendly.
Change Your Lightbulbs
If you haven’t already, get rid of those incandescent bulbs and replace them with LEDs. Not only will you be helping the environment by using less electricity but you’ll also be lowering your electric bill. That’s a win for the planet and your wallet. Some people are hesitant to switch to LEDs because they give off cool, blue-based light as opposed to the warm light given off by incandescents. But now they’re making LEDs that emit warm light, and even have bulbs that can switch between different colors. They’re also starting to make LED bulbs with the appearance of Edison style filaments. So really there’s no excuse anymore for not switching to LED bulbs.
Switch to Reusable Containers
So much trash ends up in landfills from disposable containers. Getting a reusable water bottle and filling it up throughout the day is so much better for the environment than going through multiple disposable ones. Same goes for coffee cups. If you can, buy a travel mug from the coffee place of your choice and have them fill it up every day instead of getting a new cup every time. You can also cut down on waste a bit if you buy pantry essentials in bulk and put them into more manageable glass containers at home. This way you’ll have less packaging to deal with the disposal of, and also likely save money in the long run as well.
Recycle, Compost, and Donate
While it’s easier to just toss everything into the garbage can, it’s better for the environment if you separate out your recyclable and compostables. Check your local town recycling guidelines to find out how separated things need to be and what can and cannot be recycled in your area. If you don’t have a yard you can still compost! There are plenty of small, under-sink compost bins you can use. Then just get in contact with a local gardening club, or ecology center to find out where you can drop of your compost when the container gets full. Larger goods and clothes that are still in good shape that you just don’t want anymore should be donated. This will help not only the environment but also people in need. Once you really get into the groove you’ll likely have very little garbage at all.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
A lot of energy consumption goes towards heating and cooling our homes. If you get a programmable thermostat you can set it to automatically change temperatures based on the time of day. You don’t need the house to be roasty toasty when no one’s home, and with a programmable thermostat you can keep the temperature down most of the day, and have the heat kick on an hour before you get home. Now there’s also smart thermostats that can learn your home environment and routines and adjust temperatures appropriately.
If you have a lot of plants (in the house and/or in the garden), you’re probably using more water than you realize. Plants need water, and most tap water comes from reservoirs or wells that can start to dry up during times of drought. Luckily you can save some water by collecting it in a rain barrel and using that water for your plants and yard. There are a lot of different rain collection systems available, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs.
Look for Reclaimed or Sustainably Sourced Wood
Don’t go getting rid of all of your wood right now. But as you need to replace wood furniture and flooring, make sure to consider eco-friendly options. If rustic or industrial is more your style, reclaimed wood is a great solution. If you want something brand new, make sure the wood has been sustainably sourced. It’s also good to buy local when possible to cut down on the carbon footprint of getting your product to you.
Switch Household Cleaners
Switching to greener cleaners is not only food for the environment, but it’s better for your health. It can help reduce air pollution indoors and outdoors, as well as minimize exposure to allergy triggers and harmful chemical fumes. Look for plant-based cleaners, or make your own cleaners with household products such as vinegar and baking soda.
Hopefully you’re already doing at least some of the tips on this list, and hopefully we provided some you hadn’t thought of before as well. These switches are easy, and most will help you save money in the long run. We all need to do our part to keep our planet in good shape. What’s your favorite eco-friendly home tip? We’d love to hear what you do to reduce your impact on nature.