The planet is burning, and world leaders are meeting to discuss ways to combat climate change. Although things may seem out of your control, practicing a more sustainable lifestyle begins at home.
How can you live in a eco-friendlier fashion? It’s easier than you think, and it saves you money. Here’s how.
1. Create a Recycling Sorting Center
Recycling proves easier when you have a set of adorable containers to collect items in. If you have a small garage, mount them on the wall to save floor space. Alternately, attach bins to the inside of cabinet doors.
If you choose to keep your containers outdoors, select varieties with locking lids. This discourages pests like raccoons who break in looking for food and create unsightly messes.
2. Make Homemade, Natural Cleaners
Why drop a small fortune in the household cleaner’s aisle when you can make homemade versions free from hazardous chemicals? Such additives not only compromise your family’s health, but they also contaminate the water supply.
You can make a natural glass cleaner by blending hot water and vinegar. Make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing one part white distilled vinegar, one part clear dish soap, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and two parts water. Add lemon or orange peel or a few drops of your favorite essential oil for scent.
3. Change Your Lightbulbs
Compared to traditional incandescent lightbulbs, compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs use up to 80 percent less energy and last longer. You’ll save money on your electric bill while reducing your carbon footprint.
Also, look for alternatives to overhead lights that draw a lot of power. You can find battery-operated LED lights for less than $10 at many hardware stores. Use these to illuminate underneath your cabinets.
4. Unplug Unused Devices
Did you know your devices continue drawing power even if you turn them off? To save money and live more sustainably, unplug TVs and small appliances like blenders when they’re not in use. If you have a difficult time remembering to unplug multiple items before bed, invest in smart power strips that power off devices for you when they go into standby mode.
5. Shower Instead of Bathe
Taking a bath is one of life’s great pleasures. However, to live more sustainably, opt to shower instead — at least most of the time. The average bath uses 36 gallons of water as opposed to only about 5 gallons during a shower. Limit shower time to no more than five minutes. This also protects your skin, as long, hot showers strip away vital oils.
6. Order in Bulk
If you live in a rural area or lead such a busy life getting to the store proves difficult, you might order a lot online. Online shopping increases your carbon footprint because trucks expend a lot of gas delivering goods to your door. To minimize transport, save up and place one large order in bulk instead of several smaller ones. You can also combine orders with friends and neighbors to save shipping costs.
7. Compost and Garden
Instead of throwing food scraps like coffee grounds and fruit peels in the garbage, compost them. This saves landfill space and gives you fertilizer for your garden for free.
You can shop less often if you plant vegetables and fruits at home. This means fewer carbon emissions from driving to the grocer. It also saves on packaging waste. Plus, you have a personal supply of organic food if money ever grows tight due to job loss or unexpected expenses.
Sustainability Begins at Home
By making simple lifestyle changes, you can live more sustainably. You’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve done your part to protect the Earth.