With climate change being a growing concern, there are many ways we, as individuals, can make a difference. The best place to start is around the home. Here are several ways to make your space greener, and while no one can live a completely carbon-footprint-free life, even the smallest efforts can make a difference.
One of the easiest ways to go green in your home is to switch to CFL (compact Fluorescent Lights) bulbs. These bulbs are energy efficient and produce up to 8,000 hours of light! Generally, people resisted buying these because they used to only come in a spiral shape but now they come in a few different shapes to suite all needs. You can pick up a package of four for under $10 at Home Depot. The downside to CFL light bulbs is that they do contain a small amount of mercury and can be hazardous if the bulb is broken so extra care should be taken when handling these bulbs. Many places like Ikea and Home Depot offer CFL recycling to take care of burned out bulbs.
Let’s talk about food waste. I know sometimes I buy a lot of produce with the best intention of eating all of it before it goes bad. This is a bad habit because not only does the rotten produce end up in the trash it’s also money wasted. So rule number one: make your weekly grocery trip more green and only buy what you will use. Many food scraps can emit harmful methane gas, especially coffee grounds, egg shells, and onion peels. A better way to dispose of these is to compost them and turn them into “black gold.” Compost is great fertilizer for that herb and veggie garden you have been meaning to start. Live in an apartment and don’t think you can compost? Target and gardeners.com offer a counter top compost bin for such situations that run about $30.00.
One aspect of life that people often overlook is in their closet. One way to go green with your wardrobe is to recycle old clothing into new. There are many DIY projects out there (if you’re on Pinterest, I’m sure you have come across a few) to give old sweaters, t-shirts and jeans new life. Another avenue to explore is eco-friendly clothing. That is clothing that is made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, hemp, Ingeo, Modal, and organic cotton. Whole Foods also carries reasonably priced fair trade organic cotton clothing that is pretty cute (only another thing to make my Whole Foods addiction worse!) There are many online retailers that specialize in eco-friendly clothing: check out The Grommet or forAnima.
There are also ways to make our relationships with our furry companions greener. Need a compostable bag for dog poo? Look no further than the fully compostable and biodegradable Biobags. Your furry buddy needs a toy? You can find all kinds of eco-friendly goodies at planetdog.com. They have all kinds of stuff from recycled toys to hemp leashes. What about kitty? Choose eco-friendly litter. World’s Best Cat Litter offers a litter that is made of 100% renewable ingredients. Most importantly, since companion animal over population is a problem, choose to adopt or rescue a furry friend instead of going to a breeder.
Let’s talk paper products. When choosing paper towel and toilet paper go for recycled, chlorine-free paper products. Stay away from bamboo though when it comes to paper. While bamboo is highly sustainable alternative material for many things, paper is not one of them. The process that is used for turning bamboo to paper is a highly toxic process that uses harsh chemicals to break down bamboo fiber. Wondering what to do with old t-shirts? Turn them into kitchen rags for spills and messes which not only recycle old clothes but can also save you money and save trees!
Last but not least, cleaning products are usually full of chemicals that are a strain to the environment. Try looking for products that are biodegradable, plant and mineral based, chlorine free, solvent free, and phosphate free. A lot of the time these types of products can be expensive so you can also make almost all products for your cleaning needs out of common pantry ingredients, such as white vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Again, Pinterest is a great way to find fun DIY projects for creating your own cleaning product arsenal. Here are Peaceful Dumpling’s own tips on how to safely clean your whole house using all natural products and pantry items.
More in Home: 7 Steps to Organizing Your Closet for Fall
Photo: Target; Lindsaydeebunny via Flickr; Unskinny Boppy