A lot of people are open to the idea of doing something to help save the environment but some may feel that it’s too difficult. But you might say, “Go green at home? That could be such a hassle.” I used to feel the same way a few years ago, before I started on this green lifestyle. In fact, I was a bit hesitant to go green because I thought that it was going to make life more difficult.
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Do you think going green is too complicated? If you do, let me assure you, it’s not difficult at all. The fact is that you don’t have to make drastic changes in how you live. You can start with small steps and you can take it slow. I actually thought of ten ways to go green at home that I think are practical and simple. So before quickly saying no to the green lifestyle, you may want to consider some of my suggestions:
1. Dispose old batteries properly: Do you throw out old batteries in the trash bin? We used to but not anymore. We all know that batteries contain harmful chemicals which should have dangerous effects to health and the environment. But all too often, we forget where we put old stuff until it ends up in the trash. So, what can you do? In our house, we set aside a special box for “used batteries” and we take it to the nearest recycling center once or twice a year, along with other recyclables.
2. Make sure that your refrigerator door is tightly sealed: If the door is not sealed tightly, air can leak out, making your fridge work harder to stay cold. As a result, your energy consumption is bound to go up by 25%. Now it may not sound like much money but imagine saving 25% on your annual electricity bill. How would you know if your refrigerator door is tightly sealed? Slip a dollar bill in between your refrigerator door. Try to pull out the dollar bill and if there isn’t any resistance, you’ll need to replace the rubber gasket. Our bill amounts to about $5,000 so that’s about $1,250 of savings just by replacing the gasket.
3. Place your fridge away from sunlight: Another small step that can go a long way is placing your refrigerator in a shaded area. Make sure that your refrigerator is out of sunlight’s reach. This is because the heat from the sun forces the compressor to work double time to maintain the cold temperature inside. If your kitchen is well-ventilated, try placing curtains or blinds to screen out the heat and sunlight.
4. Fix toilet bowl leaks: In our house, we double check our toilet bowl at least once a month to make sure that the water is not leaking from the tank. What I do is pour food coloring in the water tank and if I see a stain of color in the bowl, then I’d know that there’s a leak and it needs to be repaired quickly. You might just need to replace the worn out flapper. You might be surprised to know that droplets of water can fill up a gallon in an hour. Now, that’s not just a drop in the bucket. That’s about 24 gallons of water wasted in one day! That could cost you around $200 a month. Compare that to a $15 gasket which can last for months and you know it’s worth the expense.
5. Buy appliances that help save energy:
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If you are planning to purchase a new appliance, opt for one that enables you to conserve more energy. True, you may need to spend a little more on an energy saver device but you will be able to save a lot more money if your electricity bills will be much lower each month. Most importantly, you can contribute to the conservation of the earth’s natural resources. If you ask me, it is a great investment.
6. Use a tumbler while brushing your teeth: Do you let the faucet run continuously as you brush your teeth? I always tell my kids to use a tumbler when they brush. Our dentist recommends spending at least five minutes to make sure that the mouth is clean but if the faucet is left open as you brush, we would be wasting up to a gallon of water or even more than that in the process. I teach my kids about the importance of this element and that we must do what we can to help conserve water even if it’s as simple as filling a glass or a tumbler with water just enough to use for rinsing the mouth and washing the toothbrush.
7. Wear something warm: During the winter season, we would turn down the thermostat by at least one degree while still keeping warm by wearing warmer clothing instead. Here’s an FYI that you might want to know: adjusting the heater temperature even by just one degree can make a huge difference in saving energy. Within 24 hours, you can save as much as 3% in energy consumption. That’s 90% of savings in a month!
8. Repurpose plastic containers, glass jars and bottles: Don’t throw away that peanut butter jar or that coffee container in the trash bin just yet. These containers can still be re-used as flower vases, pen or pencil holders, soap dispenser, etc. We use plastic ice cream tumblers in the kid’s room for toys and other what-knots to keep clutter out of sight. Empty wine bottles can be interesting accents to a shelf, particularly colored bottles and bottles with unique shapes.
9. Use recyclable shopping bags and refillable containers: You can help in reducing the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by bringing your own recyclable shopping bags to the supermarket, thrift shops and malls. There are so many different designs and colors to choose from so you’ll look more fashionable carrying recyclable totes or bags than unsightly plastic bags. Also, bring your personal refillable tumbler to school or at work too so you can just ask for a refill of water, coffee, or other beverages.
10. Plant in pots:
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We are lucky to have a front yard where we can grow a garden. But who says you can’t have a garden if you don’t have a spacious backyard? A lot of people who live in apartments or in houses with limited outdoor area have successfully created a green space at home by growing plants in pots. Yes, you may grow herbs, flowering plants, or even vegetables without plowing a piece of land. All you need are pots and seedlings to begin with.
Of course, going green doesn’t need to be limited to the steps I mentioned here. The only limit is your imagination. Think outside the box. Focus on the benefits that you can enjoy by going green!
For one, you can literally save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a year. Second, green living promotes a healthier lifestyle. More importantly, you are making a valuable contribution for the preservation of our natural resources. If you will seriously consider all these great reasons to go green at home, you will surely be more inspired to find every possible way to help save the planet.
These are just some of my personal tips on how you can go green at home. We do these steps in our own household and doing them has certainly benefitted us in lots of ways. Which of these ten steps do you think would be easiest for you to start with? You can pick one or two steps at a time, whichever is comfortable for you. If you have other suggestions on green living, you are free to share them on this blog. Let everyone know what you do to follow a green lifestyle.