Get started on your journey to reduce your impact on the earth with some great tips on green living. In addition to being earth-friendly, a green lifestyle can save you money. Start by implementing only a few changes at a time until they become a habit, then gradually add more. Before you know it, you'll have made a huge impact on your energy consumption while creating a new lifestyle.
Green Living Tips for Cleaning
Chemicals used for cleaning your home are typically very toxic. Eliminating these toxins from your home will make your indoor environment a healthier place. You may even notice that you also feel better since you're no longer breathing in and being exposed to such harsh chemicals. You can make your own cleaning products with common non-toxic household and foodstuff items.
- Clean toilets with a mixture of one-half cup of borax and one cup of fresh lemon juice. Your toilets will sparkle and your bathroom will have a clean, lemon scent.
- Pour vinegar over pet stains on your carpet. Blot with a clean towel until your carpet is clean. Don't worry, the vinegar smell evaporates quickly.
- Clean mirrors and windows with a half and half ratio mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. If you have been using a commercial glass cleaner, try adding a couple of drops of biodegradable dish detergent to this mixture to remove any waxy buildup. Prior to soy inks, newspaper was often recommended instead of paper towels, but some soy-based inks can create oily streaks, so you may want to find a lint-free cotton cloth for drying the mirror.
- Got a clogged drain? Boil a cup of vinegar and pour down the drain to dissolve the clog.
- Add one-half cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle of your wash to act as a bleach for white clothes.
- One-fourth cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle acts as a fabric softener. For a nice scent, put vinegar in a fabric softener ball and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Green Household Tips
You might be surprised to learn just how much energy is wasted in the average American home. According to the United States Department of Energy, the average American home energy usage breaks down as follows:
- Space heating: 29 percent
- Appliances: 13 percent
- Lighting: 12 percent
- Electronics: 7 percent
- Water heating: 14 percent
- Electric air conditioning: 17 percent
- Other: 8 percent
The following green tips can help you save energy:
- Use programmable thermostat to keep usage low at night or when away from home
- Use fluorescent light bulbs
- Insulate your home. You may qualify for assistance from the Weatherization Assistance Program.
- Properly insulate your water heater
- Change your furnace filter every month during cold weather
- Turn off lights when exiting a room no longer in use
- Only wash full loads of laundry, using warm wash and cold rinse since hot water accounts for 90 percent of energy used doing laundry
- Hang clothes outside to dry when possible
- Keep refrigerator coil clean to reduce overuse
- Clean gasket on refrigerator and keep in good repair
- Set refrigerator temperature to 38 to 42 degrees and freezer between zero and five degrees
- Use Energy Star appliances since United States Department of Energy reports 13 percent of average energy bill goes toward powering appliances
- Turn off oven 15 minutes before cooking time finished
- Put lid on pots to bring to boil faster,
- Thaw food before cooking to reduce energy and time needed to cook
- Air dry dishes in dishwasher instead of using drying cycle
- Don't leave water running when washing dishes or brushing your teeth
- Fix all faucet leaks
- Use low-flow faucets and shower heads
- Consider installing low-flow toilet or put jug of water in the corner of the toilet tank to displace water and reduce amount used
- Use rain barrel for watering yard and garden
Earth Friendly Tips for Work
Hold Virtual Meetings
Scheduling virtual employee, client, and training meetings can play an important role in reducing the expense and environmental impact of driving or flying to face-to-face meetings.
Utilize Computerized Faxing
Instead of using a paper facsimile machine to receive fax documents, switch to computer faxes. You can choose to print out the documents that you need, and delete the others. You'll save both paper and ink when you adopt this style of faxing.
Recycle Office Paper
You can make a positive impact on the environment and on your budget by taking care to recycle office paper. Place a recycling bin in your office so that no paper ends up being thrown in the trash. Take care to make the most of the paper that works its way through your office. You can print draft documents on the back side of waste paper that has printing on one side. It's also a good idea to cut paper that's been used on one side into small note pad size sheets to re-use for inter-office notes. You can also create your own packaging material by shredding paper that might otherwise have been thrown away.
A Few More Tips
Other few miscellaneous green living tips include:
Taking that First Step
While there are probably hundreds or even thousands of more ways to move into a green lifestyle, it all begins with that first step. If you simply implement these tips, you'll be surprised to discover how quickly you're living a low-impact lifestyle.