There are all sorts of posts out there about how you can “green up” your home or work
space but, if we’re being totally honest, very few of those posts are applicable to the
average working human.
Not everybody can afford to install solar paneling on their rooftops or redo our floors
with reclaimed wood.
Some of us rent!
Some of us already take the bus to and from work every day.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, this article is for you.
This post is for people looking for smaller, more financially feasible ways to improve
their home’s sustainability and reduce their carbon footprints.
Some of them you probably already know and likely already do, but some of these tips
might surprise you!
“This post is for people looking for smaller,
more financially feasible ways to improve
their home’s sustainability and reduce
their carbon footprints.”
We just said affordable and now we’re going to advocate buying new furniture?
Yes and no.
While, yes, there are always some things that are better to buy brand new–like mattresses—
there are plenty of deals out there that you can use to reduce the cost of mattresses made
from natural and/or hypoallergenic materials.
You can repurpose your old mattress into a guest room, sell it to the guys who just moved
in down the hall or even put it up on sites like Craigslist or donate it to the Goodwill or
a local shelter.
For the rest of your home, when it comes time to replace a piece of furniture or if you want
to add something new to your home, shop for gently used items at second-hand shops,
online, at yard sales, etc.
Another good idea is to make your new furniture out of found materials.
There are so many ways to use found materials to create shelving, storage space, tables, etc.
You’ll save money and reduce waste.
If you have a house with a yard, you can easily create a compost pile outside.
If you live in a house without a yard or if you live in an apartment or condo, you can
Worm bins are basically compost piles that you keep in a container in your home.
They are really easy to make and they reduce the amount of waste you toss into the
dumpster behind your building (which always seems to be overflowing anyway, right?).
You can sell it to people who are looking for organic and natural landscaping materials
or you can donate it to a larger composting operation nearby.
If neither of these is an option, call your city and ask for suggestions.
Did you know that CFLs aren’t the most energy efficient and eco-friendly light bulb
you can buy?
That honor belongs to the hallowed LED light.
Here’s the thing: LED bulbs–in spite of their growing popularity–are still pretty expensive.
So don’t just chuck all of your current light bulbs in the bin.
Instead, replace them as they burn out.
This way you save money and reduce waste.
Halogens are another option for energy savings but you should know that halogen bulbs
give off a tremendous amount of heat.
So while they might be good at helping you keep the heating bills down in the winter,
they can make life very uncomfortable in the summer.
Yeah, yeah, you already know not to put bottle caps in the recycling bin.
You know to look for the numbers on containers, too.
You also know that most containers and packaging are made out of recyclable material
But there is another way to recycle.
This type of recycling is often affectionately called “reusing,” and it is a fantastic way to
help your home be more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Here’s an example: instead of tossing out that ratty shirt, cut it up and use the pieces as
dust cloths or as patches for jeans.
Here’s another: instead of recycling old food containers, rinse them out and reuse them
for your current food storage needs.
There are so many ways to reuse the stuff you probably toss out of habit.
Invest in a drying rack! You can find them pretty cheaply at any home goods store or you
can even make your own.
During the summer, put the drying rack near the window to help the clothes dry quickly.
In the winter, put the drying rack closer to the heater.
You’ll use less electricity and save those precious laundry quarters (yes, some laundry
rooms still have quarter machines, we promise)!
by someone else’s rules.
What are some of the ways you’ve gone creatively green?
What are your favorite ways to “green up” your lifestyle?
What are your favorite green living tips for someone who is just getting started?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.