Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you watch news reports about climate change? I do. What can we do to help, even if our small changes feel insignificant? Here is a list of 10 easy things to do at home to help the environment.
Downsizing your home seems like a huge sacrifice and a difficult task to some. New US homes today are 1,000 square feet larger than in 1973 and living space per person has nearly doubled. Do we really need this extra space? Or..is it really more space to put our stuff?
There are so many benefits to sizing down. Less clutter, less cleaning, less maintenance and most importantly a reduction in our carbon footprint. Our carbon footprint starts in the home. Less electric, less heating and less water is used in a smaller home.
#2 How to Buy Clothes that Help the Environment
How about resale, thrift, consignment, upcycle, recycle and second hand? Have you ever tried any of these methods of reusing clothing?
There are many ways to purchase second hand clothing. Wearing second hand clothing is amazing for the environment. In addition to purchasing second hand clothing, consider making a commitment to NOT purchase fast fashion (think Amazon, H&M, Forever 21, and many other larger low quality retailers).
If you do decide to buy a new piece of clothing, choose quality, sustainability and utility over quantity. Think Patagonia, Everlane, and other manufacturers who have included these elements in the manufacturing of their clothing.
Reselling has become popular among Millennials and Gen Z for its sustainability, affordability and creativity. Gen X and Baby Boomers should follow suit. No pun intended.
Places to Sell and Purchase Second Hand Clothing
According to a news report by the BBC, around 85% of all textiles thrown away in the US are either dumped into landfill or burned.
The BBC report goes onto say, “the average American has been estimated to throw away around 37kg of clothes every year. 60% more clothing than they did 15 years ago. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions, with textile production alone is estimated to release 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year.”
#3 Switch to One Electric Automobile to help the Environment
Okay..this one might not sound like a simple option to help the environment. But…the impact can be huge. Electric cars give us cleaner streets making our towns and cities a better place to be for pedestrians and cyclists. In over a year, just one electric car on the roads can save an average 1.5 million grams of CO2 (according to edfenergy.org). That’s the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona.
Making the switch to an electric vehicle works well for families or couples who reside near public transportation. One person uses the electric vehicle and the other an alternate form of transport. A great alternative to public transportation is to invest in a electric bike. Electric bikes are smart for commuting to work or school in a community with safe bike lanes and within 3-5 miles of home.
Alternate forms of Transportation to Help the Environment
A great option to travel near home. Pick up the groceries, run errands, and many other activities that are close to home. An investment of about $1000 gives you approximately 2-3 years of transportation. An extra investment of a replacement battery happens after that time frame.
Scooters are not just for kids. Check out this Segway electric scooter. Perfect for going to the gym, commuting to work and anytime you don’t want to deal with parking and traffic.
Accessories for Bikes and Scooters
#4 Adjust your Thermostat to Help the Environment
During the winter turn the thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re at home, and reduce that setting lower when you leave for the day. According to the Department of Energy, by regularly turning down the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees before leaving the house for an eight-hour span, you can save between 5% and 15% a year on your heating bill. Heating and cooling your home makes up about half of your energy bill, using more energy and costing more money than any other system in the house. It will help the environment too!
#5 Always Carry a Reusable Water Bottle to Help the Environment
We have watched the scary documentaries about plastic pollution yet 35 BILLION water bottles are thrown out a year. Next time you are at the grocery store, and reach to pick up a mega pack of beverages (or any product) that are packaged in plastic bottles think of these stats below.
#6 Look for “Safer Choice” Cleaning Products or Make your Own
Remember to look for the EPA’s safer choice label on cleaning products.
Home Cleaning Product Recipes
- Empty dish soap bottle.
- Small funnel.
- 1 1/2 cups baking soda.
- 1/2 cup liquid Castile soap.
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar.
- 2 tablespoons water.
- Tea tree essential oil.
#7 Use Reusable Bags for Grocery Shopping to Help the Environment
The reusable shopping bag has become fairly mainstream in the past 10-15 years….thankfully. Considering taking the next step, and use reusable produce bags and buying products in bulk at the grocery store. You can place food products such as nuts, pasta, rice, oatmeal, flour, beans and legumes in glass jars after purchasing them at the store.
#8 Turn off the Lights and Use LED Bulbs to Help the Environment
Turning off the lights when you leave your room can help save energy. It can also help reduce carbon emission and other harmful greenhouse gases. Hence, turning off your lights is a simple way to help protect the environment and save the planet.
LEDs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs because diode light is much more efficient, power-wise, than filament light. LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy than incandescent lighting. At low power levels, the difference is even larger
Turning off your lights will also help reduce the use of non-renewable resources that are harmful to the environment. You can turn off the lights during the day especially if you don’t need them. You can also turn off your appliances to help reduce your carbon footprint and help save the planet.
#9 Unplug Electriconic Devices when on Vacation to Help the Environment
- Electronics with external power supplies or “power bricks”: Laptops, video game consoles, stereos, smartphone chargers, and other similar devices constantly draw power into their power supplies. Unplug all of your chargers, whether it’s for a tablet or a toothbrush.
- Electronics with standby or “sleep” modes: Desktop PCs, televisions, cable boxes, DVD/Blu-ray players, alarm clocks, radios, and anything with a remote control is never truly “off.” If the item has an “instant on” feature or has LED lights glowing when it’s off, it’s always draining small amounts of power. If items like this are all plugged into a surge protector—which they should be—you can just turn off the surge protector itself.
- Modems and routers: These are literally always on and using power. Unplug them and you’ll not only save some energy cost, but you’ll avoid having your Wi-Fi hacked into while you’re gone.
- Small appliances: Toasters, blenders, rice cookers, coffee machines, food processors, microwaves, etc. Anything with a clock is a culprit. Space heaters and fans should be unplugged as well.
- New washers and dryers: If you have a fancy new washer/dryer set with lights, digital timers, and the like, they’ll drain power while they’re “off” just like a computer or TV will.
#10 Use a Drying Rack to Dry your Clothes to Help the Environment
Have you ever been to Italy and noticed the cute clothes drying racks out every window? Sure there are times when you need to throw a few pieces into the dryer. Most of the time a drying rack will suffice.
Air drying your clothes is less damaging to the clothes, they do not shrink, and they often have that fresh air-dried scent. There are many options on the market that blend well inside your home and can be stored when not in use.
These wall-mounted dryer racks were made famous by HGTV and Fixer Upper. They are a wooden rack that folds up agains the wall when finished
You can go old-school with a heavy duty retractable clothes line that will hold many items.
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