Throughout the pandemic, we’ve all come to realize that it’s important to find a balance between health and wealth. Making your home more sustainable goes a long way in achieving this, and a little house refresh is always nice, especially when it doesn’t cost much.
Creating a greener home for you and your family means that you’re creating a healthier environment for them to live in, reducing living costs, and contributing to society.
A sustainable home is a happy home, and taking steps to make your home more eco-friendly is not only great for the planet but likely great for your peace of mind as well.
It’s no secret that the state of the world we live in can be distressing, and sustainability is often a medium through which we attempt to take control once again. For more resources related to daily stressors and how they can influence our mental health, click here.
As mentioned, sustainability is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to make tangible change.
For those concerned about the health of the planet and our communities, sustainability (upcycling, recycling, thrifting, choosing reusable or renewable options, etc.) and all it has to offer can be empowering!
Ask yourself which areas of your life you see room for improvement in. Below are some ideas that tackle common sources of waste, but don’t be afraid to think of ideas that are more specific to your unique situation!
Plastic is a cheap and adaptable material, but did you know that more than 50% of all plastic is used just once and then thrown away? Plastic toothbrushes are a major part of the problem. This problem, however, has a very simple solution: bamboo toothbrushes.
Bamboo toothbrushes are eco-friendly and reduce the amount of plastic waste in our oceans. The material is biodegradable and is not only better for the earth, but helps millions of aquatic life avoid eating plastic in the sea.
If you don’t know what shampoo bars are, you might be surprised. Once you get used to them, you’ll really appreciate the health benefits that shampoo bars provide. They’re really cheap, and one bar lasts longer than your usual bottle of shampoo. If you want, you can even try making your own shampoo bars at home!
You’ll save a lot more water at home and your hair will enjoy the natural ingredients in a shampoo bar. They’re also really portable if you have to travel, and you’ll have one less plastic bottle to worry about at home and in your suitcase.
Cleaning your refrigerator coils goes a really long way in reducing your carbon footprint, and it’s one of the easiest things you can do to start living a more sustainable life at home.
Clean coils use less energy because all the dust and dirt accumulated on them makes your fridge churn out more power to work properly. Having dirty coils could also reduce the lifespan of your refrigerator.
LED lights trump traditional CFL and incandescent lights in almost every category. They’re brighter, more cost-effective, last longer, and use less wattage compared to their older counterparts.
This one’s a no-brainer. If you’re looking to improve your standard of sustainable living, LED lights are a great investment.
It’s been shown that cold water actually works better than hot water when used to wash clothes. Most modern washers and detergents are designed to handle cold water. Cold water is great for softer fabrics and can remove most stains and wrinkles quite well.
Your clothes are also less likely to shrink or fade. Most importantly, though, you’ll be saving money. According to GE, an estimated 75 to 90% of all the energy your washer uses is for heating the water.
Now that you’ve washed all your clothes, it’s time to get rid of that tumble dryer. While tumble drying is quick and easy, it’s also expensive and more harmful to the environment.
The alternative? Good old-line drying. According to Good America, air-drying your clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year!
You can air-dry your clothes indoors or outdoors on a line or a rack, and you’ll find that your clothes will look better, smell better, and have fewer wrinkles.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. We’ve heard it a thousand times, but it’s time we all started acting on it!
Buying recycled products really helps the environment by reducing pollution and greenhouse gases. It helps save time and money and encourages other people to do the right thing.
Many companies have started manufacturing more recycled products, which is a great step towards sustainable living. It’s also a valuable lesson for future generations who will soon be the ones looking after our planet.
Disposable plastic bags are very harmful to the environment. The Center for Biological Diversity tells us that Americans alone use over 100 billion single-use plastic alone, and over half of that ends up in the ocean.
The ones that don’t make it to the sea take over 500 years to break down in landfills and even they aren’t completely biodegradable.
Cloth bags and other reusable bags are a much safer, sustainable option. They reduce the pollution that plastic causes and indirectly protect the earth’s marine and wildlife.
They’re also much more durable and are cheap to purchase. You can even make your own reusable bags at home – it’s super easy!
Once you have a few tidy cloth bags for grocery shopping, you can run your errands in an eco-friendly, sustainable manner. It’s best to buy in bulk, so you won’t have to make too many trips to the grocery store and back.
You can plan ahead and make trips once or twice a month to reduce the amount of fuel and smoke on the road.
Better yet, if there’s a store near your house, you can walk or cycle there! You’ll even get a little exercise in.
When at home, keeping your curtains open during the day will allow plenty of sunlight to enter the house and help you save on your electricity bill.
This is probably the easiest thing you can do on this list. It won’t cost you a penny, and you’ll be surprised by how beneficial sunlight can be for your health.
Make sure to switch off any lights or fans and unplug electronic devices and appliances that are not in use. It barely takes a few seconds and is a great way to live sustainably on a daily basis.
If you really want to create an eco-friendly, sustainable home, you can look up DIY tutorials and articles that will help you save a lot of money.
They’re really handy and it’s great to make things out of the resources you already have available at home. It also helps you minimize the number of new products (and, by extension, new waste) you buy into.
Spending less, saving energy, and conserving natural resources are just a few ways to help the earth.
It’s important to do our bit, and sustainable living truly does go a long way in saving our beautiful planet.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.